What is a Lean-To Shed?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2018
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A lean-to shed is a simple storage device that is connected to an existing structure rather than being constructed as a separate building. Relatively easy to construct, this type of shed is ideal for storing items like firewood, building materials, or any other items that require nothing more than minimal protection from the elements. While most designs of the lean-to shed are open-ended, there are designs that call for enclosing the shelter, equipping one end with some type of door or hatch.

The name for this type of shed refers to the appearance of the storage space once it is in place. Typically, the exterior wall of an existing building serves as one side of the lean-to shed. The roof of the shed normally slopes down to meet a shorter wall on the opposite side, providing a visual effect of a structure that is leaning against another structure. Depending on the reason for the shed, one or both ends may be closed, or left open to allow easy access to the contents from more than one direction.


There are several different types of lean-to shed. A time-honored design that is often found in rural areas requires nothing more than wood to create the basic frame, and materials to construct the sides and roof. The roof may be constructed with sheets of tin affixed over the frame, followed by a coating of sealant or even the addition of shingles to help the shed blend in with the structure that serves as one side of the storage area. This design functions as basically a miniature version of an open garage, and is ideal for storing materials that need some protection from the elements, but do not require the protection afforded by a store room.

Constructing a lean-to shed is a relatively simple process. Many people find that building this type of shed is an easy weekend project, depending on how much effort is put into improving the visual appeal of the construction. It is now possible to purchase prefabricated lean-to shed kits that have everything needed to assemble the sections and connect them to an existing building, such as the side of a garage or storeroom. The kits often include components that are already painted and sealed, making the setup that much easier. Easy to follow plans for constructing a lean-to shed from scratch can be found online, as well as at many farmers' exchanges and building and supply stores.


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