Cover image for Sheds : the do-it-yourself guide for backyard builders
Sheds : the do-it-yourself guide for backyard builders
Stiles, David R.
Personal Author:
Second edition revised and expanded.
Publication Information:
Toronto : Firefly Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
x, 182 pages : illustrations (some color), plans ; 28 cm
General Note:
"A Firefly book"--T.p. verso.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TH4955 S75 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Shed the illusion that the building in you're your in which tools and backyard equipment are stored must be, by definition, a boring and ugly necessity. The revised and expanded edition of Sheds contains absolutely everything you need to know to design, build and enjoy the ultimate backyard shed.

Award-winning designer David Stiles helps you think through the issues involved in shed design, such as use, cost, placement and "degree of difficulty." Following a chapter on construction basics, he guides you through each step of building a simple 8 x 10-foot shed -- from foundation to cupola and everything in between. This core chapter includes a material list, step-by-step illustrated instructions and a daily labor schedule, as well as new information on timber framing and moving your shed to a different location.

The book then presents several basic sheds, along with a number of more complex special-use sheds, including a pool shed, an Irish garden shed, even a Japanese boat shed. The all-new storage shed on posts allows you to situate your building of a slope.

Packed with detailed illustrations, plans, commonsense advice and an inspiring selection of color photographs, Sheds is like having a consultant at your side as you work. Whether you are an average amateur builder or an ambitious expert, this book has something for you.

Author Notes

David Stiles is a designer'/builder and together, with his wife Jeanie, has authored fifteen books, including Sheds: The Do-It-Yourself Guide, Revised Edition (Firefly 1998), The Treehouse Book (which won the ALA Notable Children's Book Award), and Playhouses You Can Build (Firefly 1999). A graduate of the Pratt Institute and the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy, David is the winner of two awards from the New York Planning Commission for his designs for The Playground for All Children.

David and Jeanie's articles have appeared in several magazines and newspapers including House Beautiful , Better Homes and Gardens , Country Living , Home Mechanix , Rebecca's Gardens , and The New York Times . They have appeared on numerous television programs, including Lifetime Television Our Home and the Discovery Channel's Home Matters shows. They divide their time between New York City and East Hampton, N.Y. where they live in a barn which they renovated themselves.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The use of the term sheds in this book's title is a misnomer, given that a dictionary defines sheds as small, rough shacks for storage. Except for a lean-to type wet/dry garbage shed and a firewood shed, the construction plans, directions, and many illustrations in this guide are for attractive and even fancy units ranging from 80 to over 350 square feet. The purposes range from storage, work, and gardening to poolside, boat storage, and pavilion entertaining. After introductory information on designing and building techniques, fairly detailed directions are given for building a basic 8 10 shed. From there on directions are less complete, on the assumption that the builder is experienced or will contract the more difficult work. Suggested only for collections with subject demand.-- W.T. Johnston, formerly with Coastal Plain Regional Lib., Tifton, Ga. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Introduction I have had a passion for building small structures since I was a kid. My first project, a clubhouse, ended in total failure because I did not know how to plan joints. Since then, I have built numerous treehouses, huts and forts. Now I have graduated to building sheds. Sheds, after all, are simply small houses, and many of the same principles apply to building both. If you plan on building your own house, you should definitely start by building a shed. This will not only test your building skills, but it will also give you a place to put your tools so they won't rust or get stolen. Even if you don't have such lofty homebuilding goals, a shed tailored to your needs and built by you and perhaps family and friends is a long-lasting, satisfying structure. Let me dispel some common myths right away. Don't be misled by your neighbor saying, "You can build a shed in a weekend." All sheds take longer to build than you may think. To build anything right means you have to build it carefully; that takes time. How much time depends on your skills and the complexity of the shed you choose to build. A safe rule of thumb is to figure out the time required for each step and double it. Another myth is that if you build the shed yourself, it won't cost anything. Not true. Even a doghouse will cost something in materials. Lumber is not cheap. You may be thinking of scavenging used lumber -- be aware that using old lumber of different sizes and strengths can lead to problems later on and may add unnecessary building time. The shed you build yourself can be built better than any you may buy. You can build it to last a lifetime, you can build it to meet your exact requirements, you can build something you will be proud of. You can build a shed that will make you feel good every time you open the door and smell that unforgettable scent of real wood and see the shed that you put together with your own hands. A recent study explored the success of home centers across the United States. The tool and hardware departments were getting a lot of business from "weekend carpenters." Most were business people who spent a large part of their lives in offices. The study found that what most of these people lacked in their lives was being able to have total control over a project and to feel the satisfaction that resulted from beginning the project and carrying it to completion themselves. Building a shed provides you with just that. Building a shed is a big project and an activity that you should take pleasure in doing. In order to avoid mistakes and the frustration of trying to meet a deadline, allow plenty of time for completion. Make it an open-ended project that you can enjoy. Any homeowner, especially those without a garage or basement, will be amazed what a difference a shed makes to their property. Not enough room for storage is one of homeowners' top complaints, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Once you have completed a shed, you may find that your awareness of sheds has been elevated. As you drive through the countryside, your eye will unavoidably be drawn to people's yards, and you may quite naturally begin appraising the success or failure of other sheds. You may even feel inclined toward replacing that silver-framed photo of your trusting family dog with a color photo of your shed! Sheds is different from the few other existing shed books or shed chapters in more general books, because it helps you get started thinking through what you want in your shed and then helps you design a shed to fit your needs. I begin with a compendium of construction techniques -- it helps to get familiar with these at the design stage and to refer to them again during actual building. The book continues with simple step-by-step, illustrated instructions for building a basic 8 x 10 shed from the bottom up. A section on a few more basic sheds is followed by a sampling of more complex special-use sheds whose designs come from hand-crafted outbuildings all over the world. I have included plans for all the sheds described in the book. I have purposely chosen designs with very different construction techniques and architectural features so that you can actually combine elements from various designs to create your custom-made shed. Perhaps you want to include the pole framing of the Japanese Boat Shed in your work shed along with the window of the Basic 8 x 10 Shed. The possibilities are endless. Finally, for the confident craftsperson and the dreamer there is a section of inspirational drawings and color photographs -- ideas to incorporate and ideas to build on. Sheds is written for creative, hands-on homeowners with do-it-yourself experience in weekend projects and basic home repair. You should have at least a few building and repair projects under your tool belt, be ready to tackle medium-sized, challenging projects and be willing to stretch your carpentry skills for worthwhile accomplishments. Excerpted from Sheds: The Do-It-Yourself Guide for Backyard Builders by David Stiles All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Designing Your Shed
Building Permit
Getting Ideas Onto Paper
Drafting and Evaluating the Design
Chapter 2 General Shed Construction Primer
Timber Framing
Setting the Offset Stakes
Foundations and Footings
Doors and Door Height
Cutting Rafters
Eaves, Soffits and Rakes
Slope and Types of Roofing
Insulation and Electricity
Shelves, Bins, Hangers, Pegs, Etc.
Moving Sheds
Chapter 3 The Basic 8 x 10 Shed
Materials Needed
Tools Needed
Daily Schedule
Step-by-Step Instructions
Floor Framing
Wall Framing
Roof Framing and Sheathing
Track and Trim
Chapter 4 More Basic Sheds
11 x 10 Saltbox Shed
8 x 10 Shed with Wraparound Windows
Simple Garden-Tool Shed
Step-by-Step Instructions
Recycling Shed
Step-by-Step Instructions
Firewood Shed
Step-by-Step Instructions
Chapter 5 Irish Garden Shed
Step-by-Step Instructions
Cutting the Logs
Timber Framing
Framless Windows
Rafter Truss
Chapter 6 Japanese Boat Shed
Step-by-Step Instructions
Pole Framing
Hip Roof
Shoji Sliding Doors
Double Doors
Side Door
Chapter 7 9 x 10 Storage Shed on Posts
Post and Beams
Knee Braces
Wall and Roof Framing
Sheathing and Trim
Chapter 8 More Special-Use Sheds
10 x 11 Potting Shed
Work Shed
Victorian Shed
Pool Shed
Play Shed
Pavilion Shed
Chapter 9 Inspirations
Glossary of Shed Terms
Further Reading