The first material choice you have is for your foundation. Options include on grade, also called floating, foundations or permanent foundations. On grade foundations can be as simple as concrete blocks placed on leveled ground, or as complex as pressure treated wooden skids on which the shed is built (this option allows the shed to be moved). Permanent foundations are made of concrete and require significantly more work to prepare, needing to extend below the frostline.
Generally speaking, on grade foundations are good enough for small storage sheds, with permanent foundations necessary in areas where ground freezes and thaws or in situations where you want to store heavy items.
It used to be that all sheds were constructed from wood. Nowadays though you can buy or build sheds from a variety of materials including wood, metal, plastic and vinyl. If you are looking for a traditional look, and enjoy the smells of the forest, then a wooden shed is your best bet. Wood is relatively inexpensive and if looked after well, is very durable.
Metal sheds are typically available only as prebuilt units or kits. They are more long lasting than wooden sheds, but also need regular maintenance to prevent rusting. If you are building a shed that you will spend a lot of time in be warned, metal sheds get very hot in summer and very cold in winter.
Plastic or vinyl sheds require the least maintenance, and are the most durable type of shed. They are not, however, very environmentally friendly and can be very costly.
You might be surprised to find how many items on your shed materials list you already own. Common tools include a hammer, saw, screw drivers, tape measures and a framing square. A variety of nails, screws, and hinges will be needed, with specific sizes and numbers being provided in your shed plan. As most people choose to build wooden sheds, wood will be the material most used. You will need a variety of sizes, particularly 2″ x 4″, 2″ x 8″, and 4″ x 4″ timbers, all of which should be pressure treated if it is going to be exposed to the external environment. You will also need plywood for the floors, walls, and roof and roofing felt and shingles (asphalt or wood), or metal to finish off the roof.
Once the shed frame is complete you have a decision to make about the exterior walls. You can get a traditional, rustic look by using wood planks, or make a more modern look using vinyl siding. If you have any siding left over from your own house you can match your shed to your home. The final aspect to your shed will be the door and windows. Home improvement stores stock a wide variety, but you may want to consider helping the environment by finding them at a junk store or recycling center.