I need a shed, but I really don't want to put a standard-looking shed. I would like something that's pleasing to the eye and fits my property. In addition, I thought it would be cool to have a second level that's part lean-to, part patio.

So I came up with the simple idea captured in the following sketch: LINK

I have never designed or built a structure so I'm wondering what obvious things I may have missed, why this structure may fall down and why my township may say no to it. Also, how do I go from this sketch to a blueprint that a contractor could work from?

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    I'd be worried about the roof getting ripped off in high winds if that's an issue in your area. The combination of a slanted roof, wide overhangs, only having two posts as support in one half, and having this back into an area with walls seem like a worst-case scenario. (Also, I'd expect leaves and such to accumulate in the area with walls.) If rain is an issue, be sure that the patio area drains properly; you don't want water accumulating next to a wall. Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 21:50

2 Answers 2


As with any structure you need to define the loads on it (wind, snow, furniture, people etc) and from there define the structure or framing capable of supporting those loads.

There may well be local codes or regulations that need to be respected as well.

Since this does look like a neat design, why not check out a local structural engineer or architect to see what it would cost for them to set it up properly. (often, tasks like this are given to the office "junior" to improve their experience - under the "eye" of the engineer / architect to make sure it is correct).

That way, any contractor will have fewer problems, and if something is wrong you have a clear path of responsibility to the contractor & architect / engineer.

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    An architect may also be able to prepare set of suitable blue prints that could enable the contractor.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 10:17
  • @aloy make that an answer... Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 17:43

Agree that you don't need an engineer. From a code perspective, this is just a tiny house. An archi/draftsman would be totally capable.

Only caveat I'd point to is that something that looks suspiciously like a tiny house on the back of your property might be considered to be an "accessory dwelling unit" (ADU) by your AHJ, and so might be driven by zoning regs. Print a render with dimensions and go chat with the permit counter folks in your municipality. You'll get a pretty quick read of what's involved. (And I should point out that they usually aren't the enemy.)

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