Lean-to Shed Plans

A lean-to shed is a simple structure with a single slope roof instead of a roof peak at the center of the structure. Lean-to sheds are usually placed next to an existing structure or under a deck. Lean-tos are designed with the rafter leaning against the wall of another structure. Opting for a lean-to shed is appropriate for homes with narrow passageways or side return in the garden.

The side return

Suburban terraced homes usually feature side returns or narrow alleys at the sides of the kitchens. Because average stand-alone sheds will normally be too big to fit in these alleys, homes with side returns can take advantage of a lean to shed. Side returns are great for lean-to sheds because most of them already have concrete as base. So long as the base is reasonably level, a lean-to shed is the most practical way to go.

Custom build vs prefab lean-to shed

Benefits from building your own lean-to shed:

  • Constructing your own shed will give you control of the layout and shape of the shed you want. You can start by buying panels and door frames from stores and assemble them however you want.
  • If you are on a budget and will be making the shed from scratch, you can use the wall you are leaning against as the back wall instead of buying one.

Benefits from buying a prefab lean-to shed:

  • Ready-made sheds come in kits where everything you need is already provided. You can choose from a variety of materials such as wood, metal or plastic.
  • Some stores can also assemble the kit for you.
  • A prefab shed kit will surely include a back wall that is made of the same material as the whole shed. This will add an extra insulation and you won’t have to use the wall your shed is leaning against to serve as the back wall.

What are the advantages of a lean-to shed over a stand-alone shed?

Access to electricity

Most sheds can be wired with electricity via the mains box or have their own electricity through the use of a generator. With lean-to sheds, electricity will not be a problem since it is easier to convert because it shares a wall with your actual residence. By running an extra wire from your house, you can provide power for the shed. This is useful for people who intend to use the shed as a workshop where the use of electrical tools is necessary.

Heavy-duty use of vertical space

Because lean-to sheds usually lean onto brick walls, they can handle more weight, which can be utilized by using hooks. Anchoring heavy duty holders will enable you to hook up heavier tools.

Easy to build or assemble

If you are handy with do-it-yourself projects, building a lean-to shed will be an easy one. Because of its design, and the fact that you will attach it to your home, you will normally require three panels for your walls and a single sloping roof. You also won’t have to worry about making the floor, if your house is on a concrete floor, your shed can stand on it as well.

Great for managing space

Lean-to sheds can be built smaller than the average-sized shed; this means that you can still have a shed even if you have limited space. If you just need the shed for small storage space, you can make use of alleyways around your house that may seem useless to build a shed on. By opting for a lean-to shed, you can make use of the space in your garden previously allotted for a normal-sized shed to serve another purpose.

How to build a simple lean-to shed

Materials needed:

  • pressure-treated 4x4s to be used as skids
  • pressure-treated 2x4s for floor joists
  • 3/4″ tongue and groove plywood to be used for the flooring
  • 2x4s to be used for studs, header, rafters, etc.
  • T1-11 plywood siding
  • 1/2″ CDX plywood for the roof
  • 1×3 door trim
  • 1×4 fascia and rake trim
  • asphalt shingle roofing
  • 15-pound felt
  • metal framing brackets
  • door hinges and latch


Upon completion, this shed will measure 6 feet long and 4 feet wide. If you prefer to increase its dimensions, you may do so in increments of 2 or 4 feet.

Construct the framing for the flooring

Start by cutting two pieces of the 2x4s to 6- feet long boards to be used for the rim joists. Between the rim joists, position six, 45-inch long floor joists on the center and attach them with 16d nails.

For the skids, cut two 4x4s into 6-feet long pieces. Position the frame on the skids, when square, secure the floor joists to the skids.

Place the 3/4–inch tongue and groove plywood flooring on top of the frame.

Construct the walls of the shed

Build each wall separately and, when finished, raise it onto the frame.

First, make the back wall. The back wall should be 8 feet high with 6-foot long top and bottom plates. Place four studs 18-inches on the center. The wall studs should have mitred tops at 18 degrees. Attach the wall to the frame of the floor and secure it temporarily.

Second, the front wall should have a 6-foot long top plate and two pieces of 1-foot long bottom plates. Allot enough space for a 4-feet wide door. Install the four wall studs on the sides as well as the jack studs. Attach the 2×4 header and the 6 1/4–inch long cripple studs. Put up the front wall and attach it to the floor and brace it momentarily.

Third, for the side walls, top and bottom plates should be 41 inches long with 81 1/4 –inch studs. Put the walls up, attach and temporarily brace them. Evaluate the walls, if everything is even, secure them at the corners using screws.

The roof frame

Use four 2×4 rafters cut so that they can rest on the top plates of the front and rear walls. On both side walls, put a gable stud directly over the center studs. It should fit between the top plate and the end rafter. Place the sub-fascia and the fascia on the front ends of the rafters.

T1-11 siding installation

Install the pieces of the T1-11 siding on the front and sides of the shed. Secure the siding with 8d nails leaving 8 inches of space in between. Cover the back wall with 1/2-inch CDX plywood starting from the bottom of the rim joists up to the top ends of the rafters.

Rafter cover

Cover the rafters with 1/2-inch CDX plywood. The ends should be staggered so that none will end up on the rafter and secure with 6d nails. Cover the exposed edges of the roof sheathing with the rake trim and install drip edging. Use the 15-pound roofing felt to apply the shingles.

Construct the doors

Using the T1-11 siding, trim with 1x3s. For the center of the doors, add cross trims. Install door latches and use strap hinges to attach the doors.

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