Can I Have A Shipping Container In My Backyard?

Have you ever wondered if you can have a shipping container in your backyard? If you have (or currently are), then you’re in the right spot.

Shipping containers are great structural additions, and they can be perfect for a wide variety of projects. The downside is that it’s not legal everywhere to have shipping containers in your backyard.

Some places don’t allow you to bring in these containers, no matter how hard you try. We’re going to talk about some tips you might need if you can add a shipping container to your property, and how to find out if it’s legal in your area.

The Attraction of Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are affordable metal containers that are large enough to hold a variety of things, making this a very appealing addition to any backyard. This isn’t their only use though, shipping containers are great for emergency use.

Modular housing, an emergency hospital or they can be converted into public toilets. A shipping container can easily be converted into an easy to access detached office space, or home, depending on the laws and regulations of your state and county helping you make your space more private.

Outside of emergency use and you can use it as office space it can also convert them into public structures or commercial space. The ideas are only limited by your imagination, there are even shipping container hotels in Hong Kong!

They’re also quite a hit at birthday parties and can bring a warm and cozy feeling to your backyard at any time of the year. The only downside is that there are some places where owning a shipping container isn’t legal, which can put a damper on anyone’s backyard makeover.


The legality of having a shipping container in your backyard is going to depend completely upon your state and county laws, rules, and regulations. You never want to cross the bounds of the law, especially not for a shipping container.

Answering the question ‘can I have a shipping container in my backyard’ depends on what you want to use the container for. Housing? Storage? An office space?

Each of these options is likely to have different rules and regulations attached to them. Take your time and research your area thoroughly, and apply for a permit if you need to.

The last thing you want is to have to take down a storage container just because you didn’t get the right permit, or because you’re not following a certain law. So research your area in advance to make sure that you can have a shipping container, and that you’re following the laws associated with owning one.


Shipping containers in some instances are absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately, they can have hidden hazards you need to be aware of. Firstly shipping containers are airtight.

That means there are no drafts, no leakage, air cannot get in or out unless you have the door open. This can make it difficult and dangerous if you’re planning on living in one and don’t take preventative action to ensure you and yours will be safe.

You also should be wary of putting your shipping containers underground. If you’re not careful they could collapse in on you from the weight of the dirt around them.

Many shipping containers, especially if you aren’t buying them directly from a manufacturer, can have hazardous chemicals in them. Both the wooden flooring and paint each container is painted with can be dangerous to your health.

Getting a shipping container from a dealer or manufacturer is your best way to avoid this though it is a little more costly. You can simply request that they don’t use hazardous chemicals.

If you already bought a shipping container treated with hazardous chemicals don’t fret, there are different ways around this problem that make sure you’re still safe, even if you’re living with hazardous floors and paint.

It’s always wise to look into the project you want to tackle and check to be sure that you aren’t unwittingly putting yourself in danger. There is no project that’s worth the potential damage to your family, friends, and property.

How to Get a Shipping Container

There are many different ways that you can use to get a shipping container. Firstly, you need to know what size you want. Shipping containers are not one size fits all, and they often can be difficult to transport, especially the larger-sized ones.

Check the grade that you want. Each shipping container comes with a different grade, some are one trip only, some are wind and waterproof, and others are beaten up and used often.

It’s important to know the difference and to be able to pick the right grade for your project. Once you know your size you can start looking for dealers in your area that sell to the grade that you want as well.

There are a wide variety of dealers, some who will sell you containers fresh from the manufacturer, and others who will sell used containers. It’s up to you to decide what kinds of containers you want to use and why.

Regardless of where you buy your container, shipping should always be in the back of your mind. Dealers and manufacturers usually ship the containers for you.

If you buy the shipping container as-is from someone who isn’t a dealer, you may have to figure out the transportation side of things yourself. You could use a large toe truck, or pay a company to transport it for you, but a good portion of the time it’s just easier to pay a little extra for the newer shipping containers to be delivered.

Try avoiding as-is sales if you can, these normally come with a large amount of rust and damage. Once you get your container delivered you can then proudly say you have the answer to the question of can I have a shipping container in my backyard?

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the project you have in mind, you can answer the question of ‘can I have a shipping container in my backyard?’. A shipping container can be a great addition to your backyard if it’s legal.

You should always check the legalities and the safety of the project you have in mind otherwise you may be putting yourself and anyone else enjoying your project in danger. If you can legally put a shipping container in your yard and your project is safe you’ll be able to enjoy a wonderful addition to your backyard.

You could build a home, an office space, a clubhouse, a guest house, or anything else your imagination can come up with. There is little holding you back from making this shipping container project one of the best projects you’ve tackled.