Almost any shed can benefit from a ramp and steps.
Such is the case with my shed.
If you’ve been following along with me as I built my shed from scratch, my storage shed plans included a spot for both steps and a ramp.
So back to my shed plans. My plans included having two entrances – a double door entrance for the riding mower and a single door entrance to access backyard storage and garden supplies.
For the riding mower entrance, my plan was to build a ramp, and then the steps were a necessity for the second entrance, due to how high above the ground the door was.
I built the ramp, steps, and doors from scratch. Keep reading for the details.
I originally wanted to put the ramp on the right side of the shed, but due to the slope of the ground, it wasn’t very practical anymore. So I adapted my plans to put the shed ramp on the left side and put steps on the right side.
How to Build Steps for a Shed
The shed steps for the single door were pretty easy to build. I bought 3 pre-cut step stringers from Home Depot.
Step stringers are the support pieces at the sides of the structure that hold up the steps you walk on.
I did have to measure the maximum height from the shed floor to the ground to buy the right length step stringer though.
It turned out that 3 step stringers were adequate.
As for the actual steps, I trimmed some 2 x 4s lengthwise with my table saw, and assembled them like a boardwalk.
I used 3 pieces of wood per step, with a little spacing in between.
To connect the stringers to the shed, I used a joist hanger. It’s just a U-shaped metal bracket that’s screwed into the floor joists on the shed, and each stringer rests inside.
As for where the stringers met the ground, there needed to be a solid foundation.
To achieve this, I buried some concrete blocks slightly below ground level and rested the stringers on them.
I also attached some 2 x 4 spacers in between the stringers and fastened them to the concrete using special Tapcon screws.
After I covered up the concrete blocks with dirt, you couldn’t tell they were there.
The concrete blocks gave the shed steps a really solid feel when you walked on them.
Here’s a picture of the completed shed steps:
The boardwalk style steps added a nice touch to the plywood shed.
Later on, I covered up the fronts of the steps with a thin piece of plywood, and then applied a good deck stain to protect the wood.
How to Build a Ramp for a Shed
The ramp construction was similar to the steps in that it used stringers and hidden concrete block supports. To learn how to build a ramp for a shed, read the step-by-step instructions below.
Determining the Ramp Angle
For the shed ramp, I first had to determine the angle of the slope.
If I made the shed ramp length too short, the slope would be too steep and cause me problems when driving the mower up. Either the bottom of the mower would hit the top of the ramp, or the mower would not have enough power to climb the slope.
Too long of a shed ramp would not look that great, and it would take up valuable yard space.
After some research, I decided to go with a 4-foot shed ramp. It was going to make a slightly steeper than normal ramp, but I was okay with this.
Five foot ramps seemed to be the most common length for a shed ramp. Yet, I wanted to compromise between functionality and aesthetics (be sure to keep reading this section to see how this turned out).
Once I determined my shed ramp length and angle, I cut 5 stringers out of 2 x 6 wood.
Leveling the Ramp Foundation
The next step was to set and level the concrete blocks for the lower foundation. The leveling took a little bit of time because I had to get each stringer to sit perfectly flat on the blocks while maintaining an even ramp surface.
Attaching Stringers for the Shed Ramp
Once leveled, I worked on attaching the stringers to the shed.
Instead of using joist hangers like I did with the steps, I needed something much stronger to hold the weight of the riding mower.
Based on my research on shed ramp design, I went with a ledger mount. This was just a piece of wood attached to the shed that the stringers rested on for primary support.
To make the ledger, I just bolted a giant 2 x 10 piece of wood to the floor joists.
Near the bottom of the 2 x 10, I bolted on a 2 x 4 for the ramp stringers to rest on.
While the ledger handled the vertical load on the ramp, I didn’t want any lateral movement, so I used two types of fasteners to secure the stringers to the ledger.
The first were some L brackets to keep the stringers in place (just one L bracket per stringer).
The second fasteners used were the 6-inch TimberLok screws I had secured the roof joists with.
Before I used them on the stringers, I wanted to secure the lower portion of the stringers to the concrete blocks first.
The TimberLok screws would really lock the stringers in place, preventing me from adjusting them on concrete blocks.
Building the Ramp Foundation On the Shed
Onto the foundation for the shed ramp now – just like the steps, I used some wooden 2 x 4 spacers between the stringers.
I attached them to the stringers with L brackets and used some more Tapcon screws to secure the spacers to the concrete blocks.
With the shed ramp foundation set, I ran one TimberLok screw per stringer at an angle through the top middle of the stringer, straight through the 2 x 10 into the shed floor joists.
This made a very tight connection between the stringers and the shed.
There was going to be no lateral movement here. The whole ramp for the shed was extremely solid at this point.
Here’s a picture of what the shed ramp looked like so far:
Here’s a close-up of the stringer foundation where I used a Tapcon screw to secure the spacers to the concrete blocks:
And, here’s a close-up of the stringer/ledger connection where I used an L bracket and a 6-inch TimberLok screw:
Completing and Testing the Shed Ramp
To finish the ramp, I screwed on some sheets of ¾” thick pressure treated plywood, as seen in the picture below (I would also later apply a coat of deck paint to protect it from the weather):
At this point, I was very excited. I could finally drive the mower into the shed using the ramp.
So I wasted no time and retrieved the mower from the garage. I positioned it carefully at the bottom of the shed ramp, put it into gear and slowly drove up.
Everything was looking great….until I made it halfway up the ramp.
The mower did not have the power to drive up the shed ramp at my current speed. I should have gone with the 5-foot ramp design with a more gentle slope.
So I tried a different approach to getting up the shed ramp. I reversed down the ramp, put the throttle on max, and let go of the brake.
The mower shot up the shed ramp and successfully made its way into the shed.
This is how I park my mower today.
It took a little bit to get used to, but I have to drive up the shed ramp at near full speed, with care not to drive into the shed wall at the back.
Installing Windows and Building Doors for the Shed
At this point, I was almost finished building the shed.
I just had to attach some more trim to the shed exterior, and install the windows and doors on the shed.
How to Install Windows on a Shed
The shed windows went on easily. I first used window flashing tape to seal the window frame and the siding.
Then I ran caulk along the shed window perimeter (on the flashing) and placed the window in the opening.
The caulk held the window in place long enough for me to drive some nails through the window nailing strips.
Then I covered the flashing and nailing strips with trim.
Here’s a picture of one of the completed windows that I installed on the shed:
How to Build Doors for a Shed
For the shed door, I custom built the doors following the steps in the shed design plans.
I needed 3 doors for the shed – a single door by the steps, and double doors by the ramp.
They were constructed with a rectangular frame of 2 x 4s sandwiched between two sheets of T1-11 siding.
For the trim design, I did some research online and found several patterns to show Eileen.
She has an eye when it comes to design and picked a pattern she liked. It looked fancy but was very easy to cut with my miter saw.
Eileen primed and painted the doors for me to match the shed.
To install the shed doors, I put them in place and spaced them properly in the door frame with some wooden shims.
These were some seriously heavy doors, and as such, needed some heavy duty hinges (3 per door).
I screwed the hinges onto the shed door frame and the shed door (making sure to hit the wooden frame inside the door).
Once all the door hinges were installed, I removed the shims, and voila – the shed doors swung open nicely.
To wrap up, I screwed on a door handle and a bolt lock.
Here’s a picture of the double doors installed with my fancy trim work:
Adding Lattice Under the Shed
Almost done with the shed now! Time for some final touches.
Since the shed foundation rested on concrete blocks, there were large gaps under the shed where animals could enter and reside.
Because I did not have any future plans to open my shed up for tenants, I wanted to seal up the underneath area.
We have groundhog problems, and they live under the sheds of our neighbors.
I came up with the cheap and easy solution of using plastic lattice fence.
These came in 2’ x 8’ strips which I cut to fit using my table saw. The lattice was already white and matched the shed trim.
Installing Lighting on the Shed
I also wanted some lighting for the shed when it was dark. I opted to use a solar panel motion LED light.
So I mounted the lights in between the shed door entrances. Then, I positioned the solar panel on the right side of the shed where the most sunlight was available.
Here is a picture of the completed DIY plywood shed. You can see both doors and windows, with the solar panel on the side:
Time and Cost of Building a Shed from Scratch
Finally, I completed the shed!
It took about 2 months for me to single-handedly build the shed, and it cost about $3000.
I did my research online and estimated that a pre-built shed this size and quality would have been more than $7000. Building it myself netted huge savings.
The shed freed up a lot of space in the garage too. The riding lawn mower, push mower, wheelbarrow, gardening tools, and other large items fit in there with lots of room to spare. It definitely provides a lot of storage space.
We even put all of our summer patio furniture in there during the winter – with space left over.
It was definitely a worthwhile endeavor.
With no construction background, and never having built anything close in capacity to a shed, I impressed my wife, my neighbors, and myself by building a shed.
Future Shed Plans
My work on the shed isn’t over yet though. I still have some interior plans for it.
Down the road, I plan to install shelves and other organizational units. I also want to install another solar motion light inside the shed too.
Additionally, I envision a partial interior wall to provide more wall space for hanging tools (in case the four shed walls weren’t enough), and possibly utilizing the roof rafters for some storage.
The sky’s the limit, and you can bet there will be a blog post to tell you all about it!