Demand for backyard sheds booming with Americans spending more time at home

With people working from home and students distance learning, many homeowners are now looking to backyard sheds as a solution to add more space. 

The owner of Walnut Creek-based Green Sheds Chris Lotz said Covid-19 has dramatically increased business and he’s booked until April. He said most of his customers are looking to create a home office and heading to the backyard.

Livermore homeowner Mike Ralph has a new addition to his backyard, a 10 by 12-foot, two-door barn-style Tuff Shed. It was installed three weeks ago.

With his wife working remotely and two high schoolers distance learning, Ralph said they needed to spread out.

“We found during the pandemic and the shelter-in-place we were really running out of room inside the house,” said Ralph.

“We have been swamped with calls, tons of calls as a matter of fact due to the pandemic,” said Electrical Contractor Sergio Cortez.

Cortez works with Green Sheds, a company the builds custom sheds with recycled materials. The owner of Green Sheds said since the pandemic hit sales have gone up 50 percent and 95 percent of customers want to use the shed as some type of home office and not storage.

“When we put lofts in it, you are able to take a nap up there,” said Cortez. “They have air conditioning. They have heater, got water. We are able to do as much as we want to these structures and some are very elaborate.”

Thomas Plante is a psychology professor at Santa Clara University. He is not surprised by the demand for sheds. Many of his clients' mental health has been affected by working and managing a family from home.

“I have heard from clients and colleagues and so forth the need to separate house and work,” said Plante.

“I talked to a lot of people,” said Ralph. “They were either looking into it or have done it already or have plans to have their own shed put in.”

Ralph sees the shed as an alternative to long construction time and high costs. While Green Sheds start off at $18,000, Ralph ordered and custom-designed his Tuff Shed online for $5,000. 

With five weeks turnaround time, a crew built it in half a day. He envisions it could be an office, yoga studio, a place to escape.

“We had a neighbor come over and take a pretty detailed look,” said Ralph. “He was really impressed with the quality, finish and size of it. When I told him how much it cost he said you must be shedding me.”

Ralph’s shed's size is 120 square feet, so small enough he did not require a permit with the city. It’s best to check local codes and ordinances.