The need for simple, economic, and quickly constructed dwellings has been a human necessity for tens of thousands of years. When humans slowly began the transition from simple wandering from one site to another in the “hunter gatherer” phase to more permanent settlements, a variety of structural designs were utilized. Remnants of dome, cone, oval, and rectangular shaped dwellings made with any available material are found world- wide.
A structure commonly found in antiquity is what has become now known as the lean to shed. Samples of this simple dwelling still found across the globe
It is not difficult determine how to build a lean to shed. They follow a simple plan. They are rectangular, three sides closed, one side open, single storied, with a flat sloping roof. It may or may not have floor, often sitting on bare ground.
There many advantages to these dwellings. They are simple and can be built without the aid of formal lean to shed plans. Basic carpentry skills and a little imagination can easily produce a very useable backyard shed out of scraps and used lumber. The open sided feature provides light and access without installation of doors and windows. In some settings heat can be provided by a small wood fire.
Lean to sheds constructed with more commercial standards in mind provide a solution for shelters in large variety of environments. Parks and recreation areas often use them as simple cover for picnics or rest stations. Ranching and farming often areas use the open-ended style for them for feeding stations and shelter from severe weather. Gardeners use them for tool storage and plant being areas. A back yard shed for the city dweller can provide storage for the multitude of items that often clutter up a garage. Road-side fruit stands, playhouses, flea markets, bus stops, often use a version.
A common use in farm country is as an attachment to a barn or livestock shelter. In these cases the fourth or “open” side is attached to a larger building and would not be considered a shed but as an expansion of the main building.
The flat roof is attached just under the eve of the gambrel roof (hip roof) and slopes away from the main building. The ends of the lean to shed often have the sliding type barn door at each end, and windows are usually installed along the side. A door on the inside wall may be provided for access to the main building. In Midwestern America one can still see thousands of examples of a lean to of this type. In many cases both sides of the traditional gambrel roofed (hip-roofed) barn has a lean to attached. Farm buildings with a lean to were very popular in climates where winters were very severe.
Now that horses and mules are no longer the power source for farming, milk cows rarely kept on modern the farm, and the traditional array of farm animals such as pigs, sheep, and goats are no longer sheltered inside at night, the traditional big red barn with an attached lean to shed is becoming a charming artifact of rural life.