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What roof should I choose for my garden shed?

Your definitive guide to deciding between a gable, flat, or skillion shed roof

The bottom line

Let’s start by looking at your three options:


  • Gable: Best for workshops
  • Skillion: Best for directing water flow, and most adaptable to the space
  • Flat: Best for small spaces


General considerations

Water flow
The shape of the roof determines your water flow options. When it comes to water flow, the factors you’ll need consider are:

  1. Foundations. Do your best to keep water away from wall foundations.
  2. Gardens. You may want to direct water to a garden, or possibly away from it.
  3. Storm drains. You may want to direct water to pavement that drains into a storm water outlet.

For very large sheds, a gable roof may be your best option thanks to its improved structural stability. For very small spaces, a flat roof may be best for optimizing usable storage space.

Gable-roofed sheds are more expensive due to the increasing complexity, followed by skillion. Flat-roofed sheds have the lowest build and install costs.

When water flow, size, and cost aren’t as important, aesthetics may become the dominating factor. Choosing a roof shape that suits the environment you’re working with, as well as your personal preference, also plays a big role.

Now let’s look at each option in more detail:

Gable-roofed sheds


The classic double-pitched roof, with an angle of 11 degrees, means that when you step inside a gable-roofed shed, it feels roomy and has more ventilation. This makes the gable roof a good choice if you plan on spending time inside your shed. There are a few other features of the gable-roofed shed that make it suitable as a workshop:

  1. It provides good cover over doors placed on the front or back walls.
    Water flows over the side walls of a gable-roofed shed. This means doors placed at the front or back (under the gable) are less exposed to water. The real advantage here is that you have the option of extending the roof past the front or back gable to create an open-walled awning. Doing so will provide additional covered workspace, turning a medium-sized shed into a spacious workshop. It also means you can keep the doors open while it’s raining.
  2. Gable-roofed sheds can be made large. 
    Roof shape contributes to the structural stability of the entire shed, and a gable-roof, with its triangular symmetry, provides the greatest strength of the three roof types. This means gable-roofed sheds can be made larger than other shed types. 

Water flow considerations

When you place this shed, you need to consider that water flows down two sides. This could be an advantage since water flow may be spread out enough to, in many cases, be absorbed by your garden or lawn without causing erosion. If you don’t have enough area to absorb the water naturally, though, you may have to install drainage canals on both sides. In that case, a skillion roof may be the better option as it will allow you to direct all the water to just one side, making it easier to manage drainage.

Skillion-roofed sheds



Skillion is a common roof type for sheds, and there are some reasons:

  1. Cost performance. The simpler design means less panels are needed, so both build and install costs are lower than gable-roofed sheds.
  2. Directs water in a single direction. This means you’ll only need to consider drainage on one side of your shed. 
  3. Front door can be taller. A standard skillion-roofed shed has a 1.95m tall front wall, providing extra height for a taller door.

Looks good in tight spaces. Aesthetically, skillion-roofed sheds tend to look best when placed next to a wall or in a corner, so if you don’t have a big space to play with, skillion may be the best-looking choice for your yard.

Flat-roofed sheds


Flat-roofed sheds are most commonly used when you need a small amount of storage in a constrained space. Their simple design makes them the most economical to build and install. This makes flat-roofed sheds popular choices for storage lockers in a carport, down the narrow side of your house, or tucked away in a corner of your garden. Factors to consider if you’re considering a flat-roofed shed:

Structural stability. The box shape means this shed type is limited in size. Beyond a few meters depth, you’ll want a sloped roof for added strength.

Flooding. Since water flows down all sides of flat-roofed sheds, heavy rainfall might result in flooding over the rib at the base of the shed. This, again, limits the maximum recommended size to a depth of 1.52m.


No matter the roof type you choose, when you order a shed from Col Western you’ll have the option to customize it precisely to your needs. For example, have a look at one customer’s experience of customising a shed for an unused narrow space. Col Western is proud to offer a range of roof options for your garden shed project. Our friendly professionals will make sure you get the perfect solution for your space. Contact us to find out more.

The professionals at Col Western are standing by to answer your questions and guide you through the process of choosing, designing, and installing the perfect garden shed.

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