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Backyard Shed Requirements in the County of Alameda

Audrey Lynn

If you live in Alameda County, California, certain rules apply for building or placing sheds on your property. Alameda County ordinance chapter 17.52 outlines the requirements residents must adhere to when building or erecting a shed. A building permit is not required by the county for a one-story, detached shed used for storage, playhouses and similar uses.


Sheds under 120 square feet need no permits in Alameda County, California.

In Alameda County, sheds must be placed in the back yard. If you plan to attach a shed to your home, the shed must conform to the city's codes that cover your residence. A detached shed or accessory building may not be built or placed within 6 feet of the home or any other building, even another shed. No part of the shed is allowed to encroach upon city right-of-ways, future width lines or special building lines.

Allowable Yard Space

If your home is zoned R, or residential, the shed cannot take up more than 30 percent of your yard. When figuring the percentage of yard your shed will use, consider swimming pools as unoccupied yard space. For example, if your yard is 100 feet by 75 feet and is vacant except for shrubbery and a swimming pool, figure the total space of your yard as 100 feet by 75 feet, as if the pool and shrubbery do not exist. Do not figure the home into the available yard space.

Size Limitations

If the shed has eaves, the eaves cannot project more than 2 feet farther than the shed walls. A porch may not extend more than 3 feet from the shed walls. Sheds must be no more than one story and no higher than 15 feet tall. The shed's total square footage may not exceed 120 feet if you are building or placing the shed without a permit. Larger sheds require permits, additional rules and inspections.

Accessory Structure Types

The county does not specify what type of shed you can put in your yard, but does specify what you cannot put there. Cargo containers, truck trailers and other commercial storage units such as vans are not allowed. If you are remodeling, you can use most types of storage containers, provided they are on your property temporarily.