If you’re an avid outdoors kind of person, chances are your gear—backpacks, gun safe, fishing rods, sleeping bags, may very likely have taken over the basement and garage (that’s where my generator, mountain bikes, and coolers now reside). So, what do you do with gardening equipment, tools, and hoses? Store them in an outdoor shed, of course. Seriously, storage is always a challenge even if you’re not a gear junkie like me. And the additional storage a shed offers—for keeping firewood dry and stowing things like lawnmowers in winter and snowblowers in summer—can be a Godsend. (Just be sure you check with your city and homeowner’s association before you make your purchase as they may have restrictions on the size of shed you can have in your backyard.) Don’t know where to start your search for the perfect outdoor shed? Here are three key things that will make your buying decision easier.

This model has a generous 132 square feet of space inside. Keter

Knowing how you want to use your shed and what you plan on storing inside will help determine what size you need to buy. If you simply want to stash some garden tools and a lawnmower, a smaller shed measuring 3×7 will probably suffice. A rider mower and tools will probably require a shed measuring 10×10. If you want to store an ATV in your shed (along with other items), you’ll need a shed that’s at least 12 x 10. Do you plan on adding a workbench inside for projects? If so, make sure you choose a shed that provides ample headroom and space to move around in—plus enough room for the items you’d like to store inside.

This model is perfectly sized for storing lawnmowers and other lawn equipment. Rubbermaid

Storage sheds come in a variety of forms—all of which have pluses and minuses.

Plastic: Smaller plastic sheds are fine for storing trash cans and tools. Plastic is totally weatherproof and you don’t need to worry about bugs or rodents boring holes in your new shed.

Wood: Offers good durability, but it requires more maintenance to keep it painted and protected. However, wood sheds with open framing inside make adding shelves easy. Wood sheds also tend to be more stylish and may feel like a more natural extension of your house. Vinyl-resin: Sheds constructed of these materials are tough (vinyl doesn’t chip), so they’re far more weather resistant. And they don’t attract termites the way wooden sheds may.

Metal: It may not be the prettiest building material, but they’re lightweight, easy to assemble, and they don’t require painting or maintenance. Metal sheds also resist bugs and rodents can’t chew a hole through the side to gain access.

The polypropylene resin panels are engineered to last a long time. Suncast

Having a floor in your shed makes clean-ups easy and it protects tools and equipment from moisture coming up from the ground that can rust things. Depending on what shed you choose, it may include a floor or it may not. Most wooden sheds include a plywood floor of some kind, but most metal and plastic sheds do not with manufacturers selling floors separately as an add-on. Just be sure you consider flooring in your budget. Whether you buy a shed with a floor or want to build the floor yourself, make sure your shed sits on an elevated foundation—gravel, concrete blocks or pressure-treated wood—that provides adequate drainage to prevent metal from corroding or wood from rotting.