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The Sky Shed

Paul Kohlmiller


In 2004 I built a Sky Shed in my backyard. Not being possessed of the carpentry skills of Norm from This Old House, it was not a sure thing that I could do it. Just determining where to put it within my small backyard was not a sure thing. Most of the southern sky was going to be blocked by our house. Finally I decided that a particular location would give me a sliver of the southern sky so that I could see Sagittarius in June. The northern sky is blocked by a tree but those objects will spin overhead if I wait long enough.

The plans for the Sky Shed come from the Canadian company of the same name. Initially that was all they did, sell plans. If you’re lucky you can find an affiliate of this company who will help build it for you but I’m not aware of anyone in the Bay Area who will do this. So I made many trips to Home Depot and Lowe’s. I also had to find a garage door company that would sell me spare tracks. This is how the Sky Shed works, the roof rolls on garage door wheels and tracks.

Nearly all of the work on the shed was done on weekends and I didn’t really get serious until May. I was pretty much finished by the end of August. A lot of the work shows creativity and ingenuity. Scratch that. A lot of the work shows improvisation based on the materials that I could find. For example, the Sky Shed plans assume that you can find a lumber company that will sell you 10” wide planks that are literally 10” wide. Very little lumber is sold that way, measure a 2x4 the next chance you get if you really think it is 2 inches by 4 inches. Also, Sky Shed recommends a steel roof but I thought that would make a lot of racket on rainy days and the shed is barely 6 feet from the family room window. I found some roof material made from tar which absolved me of the need to use tar paper on the roof. Rather than use wood planks for the exterior walls I used something called Hardie Panel which is a cement-based siding. I even made a door out of this material which was very unclever. But it does work.

The shed has worked well for more than 4 years. I think the folks at Sky Shed don’t expect these sheds to last more than 10 years. You can find out more about the Sky Shed at A picture of my shed is here .


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