Project overview: Benefits, time and materials
Lawn and garden tools present a paradox: You can
never find the right tool when you need it, then
when you aren't looking for it, it's in your way.
This simple-to-build locker solves both problems.
It stores tools so they're easy to find, and it does so in a
convenient location in your yard so they're not cluttering
The locker's 4 x 8-ft. footprint provides ample room to
store space-hogging items like walk-behind lawn mowers and
snowblowers. Long- and short-handled garden tools, lawn
treatments and potting materials also fit nicely inside.
In this article, we'll show you how to build this attractive
storage locker using easy construction techniques. It's a great
project for beginners looking to expand their building skills.
You can build and paint this locker in a weekend, although
you might need another half day to give the pressure-treated
trim a second coat of paint. The straightforward construction
requires only basic power tools—a circular saw with a standard
carbide blade and a drill. An air compressor and nail
gun aren't necessary but will make the framing and trim
work easier (and faster!).
We used fiber cement panels for siding because they resist
rot and hold paint well (the panels come primed). If you substitute
plywood panels, be aware that they'll eventually rot
along the bottoms where they're in ground contact. We chose
corrugated plastic panels for the roof because they let in light
and are easy to install. Materials for our locker cost about
A Clear Roof Lets In the Sunshine
These clear plastic roof panels let in sunlight so you
can easily see inside. They're lightweight, faster to
install than asphalt shingles and don't need sheathing
underneath. You can cut them with a carbide blade in
a circular saw. And best of all, they won't peel or tear
like shingles, and they last for decades. The downside
is they're not in stock at most home centers. You may
have to special-order them.
Step 1: Find a site and gather materials
A flat or nearly flat site (less than a 6-in.
slope over 6 ft.) is ideal for this storage
locker. You can add gravel or stack up several
sleepers on one side if your site has a
steeper slope, but the doors need 3 ft. of
space to open. If the locker faces a steep
slope, you'll have to dig away the ground in
front of the doors so they can fully open.
You can find all the materials except
perhaps the roof panels at most home
centers. We used Sequentia panels from
Crane Composites, which
are available in several colors and clear.
Buy treated trim material a few weeks
early and let it dry. Otherwise, the wet
wood will shrink and won't hold paint.
Make sure to use galvanized nails or exterior
screws because they won't corrode.
Storage Locker Details
You can download a Cutting List and Figures A and B in “Additional Information” below.
Step 2: Assemble the floor
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Photo 1: Level the sleepers
Lay sleepers over
gravel to create a flat
foundation fast. Add or
remove gravel until the
sleepers are level.
2 of 2
Photo 2: Attach the floor
Screw the floor framing
to the sleepers at
each corner. Then double-check
the floor for level.
Start by digging parallel trenches 10 in.
wide by 6 in. deep and centered 3 ft. 6 in.
apart. If the ground is slightly sloped (like
ours was), dig out any high areas between
the trenches so you can (later) place a level
across the sleepers.
Fill the trenches with pea gravel so
they're roughly level. Then cut treated 2x6
sleepers to size and set them over the gravel
so the outside edges are 4 ft. apart. Place
a 4-ft. level over one of the sleepers. Level
it, then adjust the second sleeper until it's
level with the first (Photo 1).
Frame the floor on your driveway or
other flat surface with treated lumber
using 16d nails or 3-in. screws, following
Figure A on p. 49. Lay a full sheet of
1/2-in. 4 x 8-ft. treated plywood over the
floor frame. Adjust the floor frame so the
corners are aligned with the edges of the
plywood, then fasten the plywood using
8d nails or 1-1/2-in. screws. Snap chalk
lines at the floor joist locations to make
them easy to find. Drive fasteners every
6 to 8 in. along the edges and every 12 in.
in the field.
Place the floor over the sleepers, align
the corners, then drive 3-in. screws at an
angle into the sleepers (Photo 2).
Step 3: Frame the walls and roof
1 of 4
Photo 3: Erect the walls
Build the walls and
screw them to the
floor. Attach temporary
bracing to hold the walls
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Photo 4: Install purlins
Install the purlins using fence brackets for the butt joints.
3 of 4
Photo 4A: Close-up of fence bracket
brackets make fastening
the purlins easy.
4 of 4
Photo 5: Install the rafters
Nail the rafters to the
header and align them
with the top of the back
wall to create a flat plane
for the roof.
Build the front and back walls following
Figure A. Use treated lumber for the bottom
plates and the door trimmers. Attach
the assembled walls to the floor with 16d
nails or 3-in. screws. Drive the fasteners
near the outside edge to ensure they go
into the underlying framing, not just into
Have a helper place a level on a stud
near one end of a wall. When the wall is
plumb, fasten temporary bracing between
the wall and the floor (Photo 3).
If you're not an experienced builder,
toenailing the purlins into place can be
tricky since it's hard to drive nails and
keep the purlins at their marks. Avoid this
frustration by using fence brackets. Nail
them to the outside studs on the front and
back walls with 8d nails, keeping the tops
1-1/2 in. above the top of the shelf supports.
This keeps the tops of the purlins
and the shelves (installed next) aligned for
a flat surface.
Cut the purlins to size, set them into the
brackets and drive 4d nails through the
bracket holes (Photo 4). Cut the shelves
to size and fasten them with 8d nails. It's
important to install the shelves now since
they won't fit after the siding is on.
Set the header in place, flush with the
outside of the front wall. Drive 16d nails or
3-in. screws through the underside of the
top plate into the header every 6 to 8 in.
To mark the angled end of the rafters,
hold them in place alongside the header
and the back wall. Mark the rafters and
cut them to size. Use the fence brackets to
hold the rafters in place on the back wall.
Nail the brackets so the top is slightly
above the top of the wall.
Nail the rafters in the brackets. Hold the
opposite end flush with the top and side of
the header, then face-nail it with two 16d
nails or 3-in. screws.
To frame the roof, install the
rafters (Photo 5). Cut two
mid-beams at 93 in. Mark
the rafters at the one-third
and two-third distances
between the walls. Place the
mid beams at the marks and
attach them with 16d nails or
Step 4: Side with fiber cement
1 of 2
Photo 6: Install the siding
Cut the fiber cement panels to size and nail them up.
2 of 2
Photo 6A: Close-up of panel corner
Support the heavy siding
panels with temporary
nails placed 1-1/2 in. from
the bottom of the floor
Use a carbide saw blade for cutting the
fiber cement siding panels in a circular
saw—and be sure to wear a mask. Cutting
cement siding is extremely dusty. And be
prepared—the 4 x 8-ft. panels are heavy.
We kept the siding 1-1/2 in. from the
bottom of the locker to avoid direct contact
with the ground.
Cut panels for the back and front walls
following Figure A. Install the front panels,
starting at a corner. Then install the
back panels so they butt together over the
middle stud on the wall. Don't worry that
the panels don't fully cover the corners.
You'll cover them later with trim.
Nail the panels with 8d nails. Drive the
nails snug with a smooth-face hammer so
you won't mar the siding. Drive nails
straight, not at an angle. Keep nails 3/8 in.
from panel edges and 2 in. from corners.
Hold the side panels in place (don't nail
them yet) and mark them along the top of
the rafters. Cut them to size and nail them
into place (Photo 6).
Step 5: Add the trim
1 of 1
Photo 7: Nail on the trim
Trim the storage
locker, starting with
the fascia. Then add the
Painting along the roof panels is a pain, so
it's best to paint the trim now. If you're
using two colors, paint everything—you
won't have to cut in with paint later.
Install 1x4 fascia along the top of the
locker. Start with the back, then add the
sides, then the front. Hold each piece in
place to mark the angle and cut it to
size, then attach it with 8d nails before
moving on to the next piece. Then cut
and install 1x3 fascia over the 1x4 fascia.
Use treated lumber for the corner
boards since they're in ground contact.
Cut the corner boards to size and nail
them into place with 8d nails. Nail the
boards on the sides first, then install the
boards on the back and front walls,
overlapping the side boards (Photo 7).
Cut and nail treated 2x4 door supports
flush with the door opening,
butted against the fascia. Use 16d nails.
The door supports stick out a little
proud of the fascia, but the extra thickness
is needed to support the doors.
Step 6: Install the clear roof
1 of 1
Photo 8: Add the roof panels
Lay a heavy bead of
caulk over the plug
strip before screwing on
the roof panel.
Before installing the roof, place wooden
panel plugs flush with the outside of the
fascia along the front and the back
walls. Drill pilot holes through the
peaks and nail the plugs into place with
4d nails. The plugs conform to the
shape of the roof panels, sealing the
openings to keep out the birds and the
bees. For roof support along the sides,
install supports (quarter round).
Cut the 9-ft.-long roof panels in half
with a circular saw. Run a generous
bead of silicone caulk along both plugs
for 27 in., then set the panels in place so
there's an equal overhang on the front
and back and about 2 in. on the side.
Drill 1/8-in. pilot holes through every
third peak at the plugs and the mid-beams,
then insert 1-1/2-in. hex-head
Caulk along the edge of the installed
roof panel and the panel plugs (Photo
8). Then install the next roof panel.
Overlap the panels by 3 in. When you
get to the end, cut the last panel to size.
Step 7: Hang the doors and paint
1 of 1
Photo 9: Hang the doors
Hold the doors in
perfect position with
shims. Then screw on the
Build the doors using treated lumber
and following Figure B. Use scrap siding
panels for the door panels since the
middle 1x4 hides the gap. Assemble the
doors with 6d nails driven at a slight
angle so they don't poke through the
opposite side. Make sure the seams in
the top and bottom scrap pieces are
aligned before nailing them into place.
If you haven't painted the locker yet,
now is a good time. Install the doors.
Start by nailing a scrap piece of wood in
front of the opening so the top is 1-1/2
in. from the bottom of the locker. Drill
pilot holes and attach heavy-duty door
hinges to the top and bottom of both
doors. Set both doors in place over the
scrap lumber. Insert shims so the doors
don't pinch at the top and side, then
attach the hinges to the door supports
with screws (Photo 9). Add handles
and a lock as desired.
Note: You can download a Materials List and a Cutting List in “Additional Information” below.