Backyard Shipping Container Projects You Have to See to Believe

To the untrained eye, backyard shipping containers serve as nothing more than extra storage space. But for creative minds, these versatile boxes provide boundless building opportunities. Whatever imaginative ideas you have, shipping containers can serve as a blank canvas for your next creative backyard project.

Before you jump into your backyard shipping container project, you need to understand some vital information first. If you want to learn more about container projects and discover some imaginative shipping container backyard ideas, read on.

Whether you want to build a shipping container pool or need some extra storage space, Rent-A-Container has the containers you need. To buy or lease a shipping container for your next project, give us a call at 800-880-7061.




Can You Put a Shipping Container in Your Backyard?

Before you start setting your heart on your new backyard project or make any plans, you need to answer some important questions. Mainly, can you put a shipping container in your backyard?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut answer here. Whether you can or can’t put a shipping container in your backyard will depend on where you live. Additionally, zoning laws are going to vary depending on your intended use.

In most cases, you can have a shipping container in your backyard. Always check your local laws to make sure, though.

Another factor that could haunt you in the future is your neighbors. While you might love the idea of having a shipping container project in your yard, your neighbors might not be too keen on the idea. Bad blood aside, you’ll want to make sure you aren’t violating any neighborhood agreements or HOA rules.


Check Your Zoning

Zoning helps break up large parcels of land into different zones to determine what structures you can build there. Your home, for example, is in residential zoning. Your favorite coffee shop? Well, that’s commercial.

Cities use zoning laws to help plan growth and keep similar types of buildings grouped. If you have ever noticed how shops and stores tend to congregate in certain areas, you’ve noticed the effects of zoning.

If you happen to live in the United States or one of the many other countries that mandate zoning, you’re going to have to deal with zoning laws. Typically, cities will break down zones into categories like commercial or residential. However, other, more targeted categories exist in some areas.

For example, Tallahassee, Florida, uses an R-1, R-2, R-3 and R-5 residential zoning system

In this system, knowing which zone you are in relates to what kinds of buildings you can have on your property. If you reside in an R-1 zone, you are only allowed a single-unit residence. Zoning laws like this help regulate neighborhood spaces but can be a hurdle if you plan on using shipping containers in your yard.

Additionally, your intended use is a factor. If you plan on using that shipping container as a habitable space, the city will consider the container as an addition to your home. Without checking local guidelines beforehand, you could end up in violation of your zoning laws.

Once you have a handle on zoning, other local laws and ordinances will need to be understood before you build.


Learn Local Laws and Ordinances

The next thing you’ll want to tackle is local building codes and getting the proper permitting. In the United States, most local building codes base themselves on the International Code Council’s International Residential Code (IRC). Keep in mind that your city might have its own building codes.

Building codes set standards for plumbing, electrical work and fire safety. To get the correct permits to build your backyard shipping container project, you’ll need to satisfy these requirements.

As you have probably gathered by now, these regulations can vary quite a bit and depend heavily on your location. Finding out what these rules are before you start planning your project is an essential step. If you have any doubts, contacting a local general contractor or architect might be beneficial.

Some municipalities are working at a lightning pace to push ordinances limiting shipping container projects. In Thief River Falls, Minnesota, the city council plans to issue an ordinance banning shipping container use in residential zoning. As container projects become more common, other cities might react in a similar way.

This is why a firm understanding of local laws is paramount to the success of your project. The last thing you want to do is ignore these rules. If you do, it could mean costly fines down the road or, worse yet, the downfall of your newly built backyard shipping container project.


How to Get a Shipping Container Into Your Backyard

Now that we have answered the question of whether you can have a shipping container in your backyard, let’s get to the “how.” 

The first step is deciding what type of container you need for your project. There are many different types of shipping containers to choose from — so many choices, in fact, that making a decision may feel daunting. 

To give you an idea of which will be the perfect fit for your shipping container backyard ideas, let’s look at a quick overview of some options:

  • Sizes — Choose from 10-foot shipping containers to extra spacious 40-foot containers.
  • Type by condition — Shipping containers come in all types of conditions. From as-is to one-trip, cargo-worthy to wind and watertight.
  • Height — A standard shipping container is 8 ft 6 in tall. If you need a bit more vertical space, high-cube containers add an extra foot for you to use.
  • Door style — Shipping containers come with different doors, too. If the standard doesn’t work with your project, double-door and side-door containers might.

Once you have a good idea of which container meets your project demands, the next step is ordering your shipping container.


Ordering a Shipping Container

Now comes the easy part. Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, all you need to do now is contact the team at Rent-A-Container.

Our experienced team is ready to walk you through your buying and leasing options.

Before you are ready to pull the trigger, you may have some questions. The first thing you might be curious about is the price. You may have already scoured the internet looking for the perfect container and found that there is quite a disparity when it comes to cost. Finding a fair price can be as frustrating as buying a used car.

Doing your homework and keeping to your budget is always a good strategy. Other considerations should be taken into account when it comes to finding a fair price. For most permanent projects, you’ll probably want to buy a shipping container outright, but if you plan to use one for temporary storage, there are great shipping and storage containers available for rent.

More questions about buying a container? Check out our Guide to Buying Shipping Containers.

Once you have ordered your shipping container, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the perfect spot picked out and ready for delivery.


Container Site Preparation

Part of getting a shipping container into your backyard is proper site preparation. Site preparation is about more than just the delivery day. It can be an essential part of extending the lifespan of your shipping container.

Most shipping containers are too heavy to rest on soft ground. While you might get away with putting a smaller container on standard soil, there will be some side effects. Often, shipping containers placed on softer ground will start to sag to one side. This can make the inside of the container uneven, which can be a frustrating issue to handle. Additionally, when that soil gets wet, it could start to degrade the exterior of the container.

When planning out the location for your shipping container backyard project, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Check the area — You’ll want to make the area you choose free from debris and possible obstacles. This means watching out for overhead power cables, tree branches and phone lines.
  • Make sure the location is compact — Depending on your soil type, you might need to pour a concrete foundation for the shipping container.
  • Survey for sloping — When the rain comes, that water has to go somewhere. Properly graded sites help divert that moisture away from your container’s foundation.
  • Consider accessibility for utilities — If you plan on using your shipping container as a habitable space, you’ll need to have access to utility tie-ins.
  • Plan space for growth — Once your first shipping container project is a success, you might want to build more. Keep your future plans in mind to ensure there is plenty of space for your next creative idea.

Once you’ve got a plan of action and your site is prepared, it’s time for delivery.


Shipping Container Delivery

The day has arrived! You’ve got your site prepped and you are ready to go. So, what is the delivery process going to look like? Obviously, you won’t be getting your shipping container delivered like a FedEx package. But what will you need to know when your shipping container arrives?

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure the delivery truck has ample room to make the drop-off. These aren’t small vehicles. They’ll need plenty of room to maneuver into your backyard.

Here are some tips for proper clearance:

  • Have at least 100 feet of straight clearance for 40’ containers. Measure this distance from the back of where the container will rest when everything is in place.
  • Measure out a space that is at least 12 feet wide for the truck and container to fit.
  • You will need 14 feet of vertical clearance to make sure both the truck and the container can drive in without hitting overhead obstacles.
  • You may need up to 20 feet of vertical clearance at the site itself to make sure the container can be tilted off of the truck.

Now that the truck and container are on-site, you may be wondering how that heavy container is coming off that truck bed. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Tilt-bed trucks — For smaller containers, tilt-bed trucks offer a convenient way to offload your container. The bed tilts up as the container gently slides off.
  • Roll-off trailer — The only difference between a roll-off trailer and a tilt-bed truck is that a truck pulls the roll-off trailer.
  • Flatbed truck — Rent-A-Container only uses flatbed trucks for large 45-foot containers. They require that you have a crane or other type of heavy machinery to unload.


Backyard Shipping Container Ideas

Now that we know how to get a shipping container into your backyard, it’s time to get those creative juices flowing. You may already have an idea of what your shipping container project might look like. If you don’t, we’ve got some truly unique takes on shipping container backyard projects for you to pine for.


Shipping Container She Sheds and Man Caves

We all want a spot to call our own. Shipping containers can make for the perfect addition to backyard spaces when you need a little “you” time.

Shipping container sheds are nothing new, but maximizing the space into a she shed or man cave can add some personal flair. What you do with the space is up to you. A reading nook, sewing room, gym space or a home office are all on the table.

As long as you can make your shipping container comfortable, you can use the space for whatever you want. Let your imagination go wild.


shipping container barsA Backyard Shipping Container Bar

Want to be the talk of the neighborhood? Building out your shipping container to house a backyard bar is easy to do and will certainly turn some heads.

Rent-A-Container offers plenty of options when it comes to container customization, too. A side-door style container can open up the space and be better for entertaining groups. If you are searching for a more intimate bar experience, you can move a few comfy chairs into your container and entertain a few friends or family.

Making sure you have utility hookups means you’ve got the juice to power coolers and even ice makers. That way, you never have to take a trip inside to freshen up your beverage.


A Shipping Container Backyard Office

A popular way to use a shipping container is to outfit the space for office use. If you have an at-home business or work from home, having a separate space to work can be a godsend. Having a space for work cut off from family, children and pets is part of setting up a successful home workspace.

The shipping container office trend is on the rise, and there are some distinct advantages to using one. Rent-A-Container even offers turnkey solutions for container offices. Containers fitted for office use feature windows and customizable workspaces.


shipping container poolBackyard Shipping Container Pool

If you want to transform a shipping container into something truly unique, why not install a shipping container pool? This exotic shipping container backyard idea can be a great way to beat the summer heat.

First, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got proper permitting from the city to install a pool like this. Not all municipalities will be so keen on the idea. Once you get the go-ahead, though, there are a lot of options to choose from.

Longer containers can be great if you want a pool for swimming laps. You can also easily add a heater to make your container pool into a hot tub. You can even set dividers in your container to separate areas for the kids to splash around.


Shipping Container Backyard Studio

Much like utilizing your shipping container for a man cave or she shed, you can easily transform your container into a backyard studio. If you have a creative passion, you know how important it can be to have a separate space to work.

The beauty of a shipping container is that it’s a blank canvas. Whatever you want to use the space for, you can. The easiest transformations are yoga studios and workout spaces, as they don’t need a lot of interior design.

Customizing for other applications is easy, too, but make sure you’ve got the utility hookups to make things comfortable. Ventilation will be important, especially if you plan to work out in your new studio space.


Storage Containers in Your Backyard

This might not be the creative idea you came here for, but shipping containers are perfect for storage. If you think about it, storage is the main purpose of the container in the first place.

Shipping containers offer ample space and protection from the elements. Additionally, using a container for storage usually means you won’t be making too many alterations. If this is the case, you can save money by renting instead of buying.


Bring Your Backyard Shipping Container Ideas to Life with Rent-A-Container

Whatever creative shipping container backyard project needs, Rent-A-Container can help. We offer plenty of options to lease or buy containers of all sizes and conditions.

Whether it’s a container office or something more exotic, our team is standing by to find the right container for your next project. Reach out today to speak with a shipping container expert.

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