Is an Englishman's garden shed truly his castle? Well, probably not, but it's a nice stereotype. The outdoor room to which a man can escape his family duties and can truly be himself for a few hours.

But, in reality, in today's modern world, a garden shed comes in many guises, from tool shed to playroom to home office to a place to keep the lawnmower and paints when not needed.

Usually, though, garden sheds these days are used mostly for storing garden junk and tools. And after a few years, they'll end up overflowing with equipment, some of which is used regularly, and some of which gets dumped there, not to be seen again for a dozen years or more.

There are many different kinds of garden shed, so if you are thinking about buying a shed for your garden, this article is a great place to start to get the lowdown.

Plastic garden sheds seem to be the norm these days - wherever you go, whatever hardware store you visit, they seem to be available. They are cheap, prefabricated and easy to construct, and last for ages because they are made of plastic or vinyl. But, on the downside, they look absolutely horrible - an oasis of man made material in the midst of a natural garden, and they last for ever (really, they don't degrade and will still be a blot on the landscape a thousand years from now).

Metal garden sheds have found favour with some people. They are also cheap, and easy to build (like plastic sheds they are also kind of prefabricated). They are usually made of corrugated iron and sometimes aluminium. The downside, especially in England, is that they rust because of all the rain we get. Looking on the bright side, though, their biggest drawback - that they heat up rapidly in the sun - isn't really a problem in England. Anyway, I digress. Metal sheds are found in some gardens, but mostly in England you'll find them in an industrial setting, where they still look a bit ugly, but at least fit their surroundings reasonably well.

In my opinion, the best kind of shed you can buy is a wooden garden shed. They are a bit more costly (although perhaps not as much as you might think), but they look absolutely perfect in the natural setting of a garden. They are a bit more difficult to build than a plastic shed, but they do lend themselves well to DIY projects - they are the kind of project that, once complete, you can really take pride in having built buy hand. You'll need to make sure that you keep them treated, to protect them from the wind and the rain, but over the years, you should find that a wooden garden shed is the perfect garden building to suit every need.