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Building a Drive-Thru Backyard Shed

Construction How-To, Garages, Outdoor Living, Outdoors, Storage May 14, 2007 Sonia


Pole-style construction provides an economical method of building a drive-thru shed, even if the shed is built on a sloping lot.

Tired of moving the riding mower every time I wanted to get to the tiller and vice-versa, I originally designed this garden shed with doors on each end. This would allow easy access to garden tools. Or, if you wished to pull a garden tractor with implement or trailer behind it, you can drive in one door. When you wanted to use the tractor again, simply open the opposite door and drive out. However, another problem had to be solved. The only location for the shed was on a slope. I could have constructed a wooden-floored shed, or used a concrete pad. In both cases, this would have added to the cost, and my desire was for an economical, easy-to-drive-into shed. The solution: a “mini” pole-barn. Pole construction is one of the most economical methods of building construction, and it’s also relatively easy.

End View

Basic construction consists of setting poles in holes in the ground and anchoring the poles in place with concrete. Pole barns are often made of round poles, but square posts can also be used, as in the shed shown. The poles or posts must be pressure treated or otherwise suitable for in-ground use. After the posts are set, girts, or horizontal nailing boards, are nailed to the posts and siding is anchored to the girts. Typically, a truss roof is then used to construct an open-type building. The small pole shed shown is also an excellent “practice” project for anyone wishing to construct a large pole building. The basic construction techniques shown can also be used to construct a larger garden building.

Barge Rafter & Truss Detail

Before you begin construction, contact your local building authorities regarding any rules and regulations for pole buildings, as well as the recommended depth for the holes containing the poles. Also check for any standard rules, regulations and permits needed for constructing any building. The shed shown is permanent, not movable, so it may be subject to additional permits and regulations.



First step is to lay out the building. Use short stakes to locate the poles. Measure diagonally between the corner stakes to establish a square building.

Dig the holes to the depth needed for your particular soil and region.

Girts and Skirts

The first step is to lay out the building. Determine the direction of the building, aligning it with existing buildings as desired. Drive small stakes at each of the four corner locations as per the wall lengths, with the outside corners of the stakes the outside measurements of the poles. Note; this is not the final building size, as the 2 x 4 horizontals must also be figured in the final measurement. Measure diagonally from the outside edge of a stake corner to the opposite and then repeat for the other diagonal. These measurements should be the same to ensure a square building. If the measurements are not the same, shift the stakes until they are equal.



Side View



Center Truss Details

Dig the holes to the recommended depth. This may vary, but 2 feet would be considered adequate for this size building in most locations. Position the poles in place in the holes. On sloping lots, make sure the lower slope poles are not set so deep their tops are not high enough. Plumb the posts and brace them in place. Measure diagonally, inside to inside of the corner posts, and relocate them to reestablish a square building. Tack-nail a temporary girt to the posts about a foot off the ground. This not only helps to maintain the correct distance between the posts, but also aligns the post sides. Locate the door posts and additional side posts, and make sure they are the correct distance from the other posts as well as plumb. Brace them in place. Once all posts are properly located and braced, mix concrete and pour around the posts. Smooth the top of the concrete flush or slightly above ground level. Allow the concrete to cure for several days, and then remove the braces and temporary girts.