Working for a safe, affordable, vibrant, innovative, and interconnected city.
Learn More
Seattle.gov Home Page
Seattle.gov This Department
Link to Seattle Department of Planning and Development home page

Sheds

See also: Decks, Fences
  • Most sheds don't need a permit.

What Is It?

A shed is a small, single-story building used to store tools or other items.

What Permits Do You Need?

You don't need a permit to build a shed if it meets all of these criteria:

  • The total area (or “footprint”) of the shed’s roof is 120 square feet or less
  • The shed is a single-story building
  • The shed sits on a simple concrete slab, pier blocks, or soil
  • The shed is not attached to a house
  • The shed is not in or near an environmentally critical area (ECA), for example a steep slope or wetland

All other sheds require a permit; most require only a subject-to-field-inspection permit. You need a construction addition / alteration permit if:

  • Your shed is in or near an ECA
  • Your shed is larger than 750 square feet
  • Your shed has beams that span more than 14 feet

Research the Code

Whether or not you need a permit, you must meet all code requirements when building your shed, including the building, land use, stormwater, grading, and environmentally critical areas codes.

Our Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) limits the size and location of your shed. The combined footprint of all structures (including your house, garage, shed, and decks 36 inches or more above the ground) can’t exceed a certain percentage of your lot size. That percentage varies by zoning. For single-family zones, the total coverage is limited to 35 percent of the lot (on lots 5,000 square feet or larger) or 1,000 square feet plus 15 percent of the lot area (on lots smaller than 5,000 square feet).

You usually can’t put the shed within 20 feet of the front property line or within five feet of the side property lines. You can put the shed in your backyard (the rear 25 feet or the rear 20 percent of the lot depth, whichever is less), but there are limits on the shed size and height. Read the Land Use Code for the complete requirements, use our Land Use Question and Answer Service, or visit our Applicant Services Center for land use coaching for more information.

Should You Hire a Professional?

Shed drawings rarely require a professional stamp indicating the shed was designed by an architect or engineer. You may prepare the drawings yourself or hire a professional to help you. If you plan to build a shed in or near an ECA, you need to follow specific rules for that ECA. You may want the help of a professional to prepare documents for your application and construction permit.

What Do You Want To Do?


Still Need Help?


 Ask Us

  • Call us at (206) 684-8850
     
  • Visit the Applicant Services Center
    700 5th Avenue, 20th floor
    M, W, F: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    T, Th: 10:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    (arrive before 2:00 p.m. for walk-in service)

 Online