Parts Of A Perfect Set Of Storage Shed Plans

Whenever I put together a Lego toy model with my kids I am always impressed with the simplicity of the construction plans that come with them. They most noticiable feature of the plans is that there is no text. They simply draw a picture of each step with the part that you have already put together in grey and the new pieces to be added in a bright color. The plans only add about 10 pieces or less per step to keep things clear.

I have often thought it would be great if shed plans could be as simple as the Lego instructions. I know that shed materials from the lumber yard do not come in pre cut lengths that you simply nail together but there still should be a simpler way other than flat pictures with labels everywhere.

Any good set of shed plans will include two things:

  1. Easy To Follow Steps.
  2. Detailed Construction Drawings.

The need for Easy to Follow Steps is self explanitory, but most shed plans do not come with a sequence of steps to put the parts together. When I draw plans for anything I try to lay the sequence of pages out in the same sequence that they will be put together when building. This goes for home plans and shed plans and even a dog house. The easy to follow steps are simply a logical progression of how the shed goes together. A good set of shed plans will have the steps to build outlined on the plans or at the least in a booklet that comes with the plans.

The Detailed Constructions Drawings are the second component to a quality set of plans. Just like on the lego instructions if there is a part that is more complicated or needs a little more explanation then there should be more drawings, usually larger so that the builder can see how the parts are connected more easily. Detailed construction drawings will include the following: 

Foundation Plans: The foundation for most sheds is several treated lumber skids sitting on level ground. But if you are building a shed with a concrete foundation you will need plans that detail the exact location of the piers or slab and how the beam holders are located.

Foundation to Floor Connection: This connection is important to keep your shed held solid to the ground.

Floor Construction: The layout of the floor joists on the foundation, installation of the rim joist and sheeting of the floor should all be drawn in an easy to understand format.

Wall Construction: The shed walls are usually framed just like home walls using top and bottom plates on the top and bottom and wall studs at 16” on center between them. Professional framers know how to lay out a wall but most home owners need to have the plans show exactly where each stud goes. This means that each studs location will have a dimension to it. This greatly simplifies the construction of the shed walls because all of the framing planning is done on the plans and the builder does not need to figure out the wall stud layout.

Windows and Doors: After the walls studs are laid out you will need to know where the windows and doors go before framing the walls. The window and door locations should be clearly marked on the plans with both the horizontal and vertical opening locations marked on the wall framing plans. You will also need to double check with your door and window supplier to make sure that the rough opening size will fit the windows and doors.

Roof Trusses: The construction of the roof and all its parts is argueably the hardest part of building a garden shed. A good set of shed plans will have full size templates of the birdsmouth cuts that go on the walls and the peak of the roof. There should also be a clear plan of how the roof trusses are laid out just like you have for the walls and floor framing. Details of the roof eve are also important because there are so many parts that meet at the roof to wall connection.

Door Building: Building the door for the shed is another part that is complicated and needs lots of details to show the builder exactly how the door(s) go together. When building your shed door remember that you need to build the door to the wall opening size.  Double check the wall opening dimensions and then build the frame of the door accordingly. Hopefully the opening is the same as on the plans but sometimes things happen to change the dimensions and you don’t want to build the door off the plans only to find out that the door does not fit in the opening.

Trimming The Shed: Installing the trim is fairly simple but it helps to have clear pictures of the outside of the shed showing where the trim goes and the sizes of the trim.

So there you have it. If your shed plans are laid out in an easy to follow sequence and have detailed construction drawings you are well on your way to building a great shed. And don’t forget to help your kids with their lego sets. It keeps you sharp and ready to build bigger things like sheds.