How to Build a Lean-to for Wood Storage


A lean-to is a simple three-sided structure with a sloping roof. Often the front---the largest side---faces away from the prevailing wind and weather, and the roof reaches completely to the ground. A lean-to's other two sides are triangular in shape; some builders enclose these sides, but the sides may be left open. A lean-to with an 8-foot by 10-foot roof can be constructed in a day's worth of work. One full cord of wood stores under its roof.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • 4"x4" posts
  • Level
  • 2"x6" construction grade lumber
  • 2"x10" construction grade lumber
  • 16-penny nails
  • Hammer
  • 3 sheets of 3/4" plywood
  • Steel roofing or shingles
  • 1"x6" cedar boards
  • Bury the ends of two 4"x4" posts eight feet apart---outside to outside. These posts serve as the vertical uprights of the lean-to. Bury the posts deep enough so the bottoms are equal or below your area's frost depth. Above ground, they should be six feet tall. Plumb the posts so they are perfectly vertical.

  • Build an 8-foot by 10-foot rectangular box using 2"x6" lumber. This becomes the frame for the roof. Fill in the roof frame with 2"x6" joists, 16" on center away from each other.

  • Cover the roof with 3/4" plywood. Install steel roofing or shingles over the plywood.

  • Nail a 2"x10" header board to the front of the two buried 4"x4" posts. Make the header flush with the outside and top edges of each post.

  • Set the roof onto the header. The roof hangs over the front of the header by one foot and slopes to the ground. Make note of the position it touches the ground.

  • Bury two 4"x4" posts at the point where the roof touches the ground. These posts should rise one or two feet out of the ground. Add a header to these posts.

  • Nail the roof to the front and rear header boards. The basic structure is finished.

  • Finish the triangular sides of the lean-to with 1"x6" cedar boards. Leave a 3 inch gap between each board. Run the boards from the front post to the outside edge of the roof.

Tips & Warnings

  • Scale the lean-to up or down based on your needs.
  • Check your local building codes before starting a construction project, because the codes may require you to obtain permits for outbuildings.

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