Building Specifications for Lean-to Sheds

Written by erik devaney
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Unlike a lean-to shelter, which relies on a host building, wall or tree for structural support, a lean-to shed is a self-contained, independent structure. However, instead of having a roof that peaks along the structure's centre -- like a traditional shed -- a lean-to shed has a roof that peaks along one of its broad, side walls. For this reason, lean-to sheds look natural when placed against houses, decks or other larger structures, as their roofs give them the appearance of being a part of those structures.


The design of a lean-to shed will depend on a variety of factors, including budget, available space and intended use. If you plan on using the shed as a woodworking shop or as a storage facility for lawn equipment, you will need to have a sealed, four-walled structure with a sturdy door -- ideally one you can latch and lock. Windows, insulation and having access to electricity are also design specifications to consider, especially if you plan on spending extended time in the lean-to shed.

On the opposite end of the design spectrum, if you are planning to use the shed for storing firewood or sheltering animals, a door and complete walls may not be necessary. A bare-bones lean-to shed could consist of support beams and an angled, lean-to roof.


Lean-to sheds can take on a variety of dimensions. However, sticking to the lean-to design requires the depth of the shed, or how far back it goes, is always shorter than the width and the height of the shed. If you plan on positioning a lean-to shed adjacent to your house, you may want to keep it small, such as 3 feet deep by 5 feet wide by 6 feet high. Alternatively, if the shed is going to be a stand-alone feature, you may want it to have larger dimensions, such as 5 feet deep by 10 feet wide by 7 feet high.

Pre-Fab vs. DIY

The design and dimensions of your lean-to shed will be limited if you decide to purchase a prefab shed-building kit, which is a kit that includes directions, prefabricated walls and all of the other necessary components for building a complete shed. With the kit, you follow the directions provided and assemble the lean-to shed like a giant toy-construction set.

In contrast, a true do-it-yourself lean-to shed requires you to measure and cut all of the raw materials, assembling all of the components from scratch. While a DIY lean-to shed offers far more design flexibility, prefab kits require less work and are better choices for people with limited construction or building experience.

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