Accessory Buildings, Garages, & Sheds

It is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure their project meets Homeowners Association and Restrictive or Protective Covenants requirements, as these regulations can be stricter than city ordinances.  The term “shed” includes any one-story detached residential accessory building or structure used as garage, tool shed, workshop, playhouse, or other similar use. 

Detached garages and other accessory buildings 1020 square feet and larger are required to have frost footings and inspections as listed for garages.

Please contact the Building Department at 515-309-9461 for more information about accessory building ordinances.


Permit fees are based on the valuation per square foot of shed.  All sheds, regardless of foundation style and/or portability require a building permit, unless one of the following applies:

  • 40 sq.ft. or less and portable
    • must conform to setback requirements.
  • Ground mounted play structure shorter than 10 with a foot print less than 400 sq.ft.
    • must conform to setback requirements.
  • A treehouse – a structure elevated in and supported by a tree.

Permits should be accompanied by a sketch showing the proposed location of the shed; distances from lot lines, primary structure and deck; existing sheds and/or detached garages; shed dimensions; and easements.

Dig Safely! It's the Law!


Contact Us

  1. City of Pleasant Hill Building Department
    5160 Maple Dr., Suite A
    Pleasant Hill, IA 50327

    Ph: 515-309-9461
    Fx: 515-309-9458

    Hours of Operation 

    Monday - Friday
    8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Shed Sketch Example

Shed Drawing Example

Permit Fees of Standard Shed Sizes

Common Shed permit fees

Maximum Sheds per Lot

The maximum number of sheds is dependent on the zoning and use of the lot (Table 1).  This number could be less depending rear yard size and total square footage of all existing sheds, sheds under 40ft2 included.  The maximum total square footage cannot exceed 30% of total rear yard area or the square footage as listed in Table 2.

Max shed per lot

Max Shed area

Construction, Maintenance & Repair

A shed cannot be built on a lot until construction of the primary residence is completed or if the primary residence has been vacant for 6 months or longer.   Sheds are to be built using materials similar to the “look and feel” of the residence and surrounding neighborhood.   Fabric exteriors are only allowed if the shed will be up for 6 months or less.  

The maximum height allowed for most residential lots is 18 feet. This is measured from foundation to the peak of the roof. However, these maximums do vary based on zoning and lot size (Table 3).

Max Shed height   

Sheds can only be constructed in rear yards.  Corner lots have streets bordering more than one side of the lot, giving the lot multiple front yards (frontages).  Front yard regulations apply to each street side of the corner lot. 

Corner Lot Yard Locations

Deck Site Plan 1

Standard Lot Yard Locations

Standard Lot Yards Color

Sheds need to be constructed in a sturdy manner and kept in a good state of repair, including the replacement of defective parts, painting, and other maintenance tasks.  Existing sheds are required to be brought up to current regulations when one or both of the following are needed:

  • 40% or more of the shed is removed or replaced. 
  • Location and/or height of the existing shed is changed.

Setbacks and Easements

All sheds, regardless of size, are to be built outside of any easements, with a minimum distance of 5ft. from any lot lines and 10ft. from the primary structure.  A deck is considered part of the primary structure and the 10ft. setback rule applies to any portion of the deck and stairs.

Corner Lot Shed Setbacks

Shed Setbacks Corner Lot

Standard Lot Shed Setbacks

Shed Setbacks Standard Lot