Handy House

Author Photo
By Staff | Dec 14, 2017

Handy House

Mounted to a post near your garden entrance, this house-style box will come in handy for holding items you may now lug around in your pockets.

By the Editors of Storey Publishing
December 2017

This handy house will keep your gardening accessories and tools organized. Photo by John Gruen.

The Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects by the Editors of Storey Publishing (Storey Publishing, 2010) is a collection of DIY projects for your garden. From how to make a compost bin to building a lawn chair, you’ll find instructions on how to make your garden more productive and enjoyable. These instructions for this handy house will have you emptying your gardening apron in no time.

You’ll soon find many uses for your handy house, from string for lining up rows to a trowel to supplies you usually have to go back to the house for (a saltshaker for discouraging the cabbage moths, a duster of rotenone, rubber knee pads worn for the fine weeding, a section of old sheeting to be torn up for tomato ties). It’s also great for storing a notepad and a pencil to jot down when you planted what and where.


• 2 inch × 4 inch cedar (8 foot length)
• 1 inch × 8inch cedar (6 foot length)
• 1 inch × 10 inch cedar (6 foot length)

• Pair of 1 1/2 inch × 1 1/4 inch hinges and screws to go with them
• 1 1/2 inch hook-and-eye door latch
• 2 1/4 inch trim-head screws (15 or so)
• 1 5/8 inch trim-head screws (15 or so)
• Small brass hook
• Notepad
• Two poultry staples

• Tape measure
• Pencil
• Combination square
• Wood saw
• Power drill
• 1/8 inch twist drill bit and driver bit to match
• screws
• Shovel
• Awl
• Phillips screwdriver
• Utility knife
• 3/4 inch chisel
• Extension-bit holder
• Staple gun

Cutting the lumber

Use this diagram to help you cut the wood. Illustration by Michael Gellatly.

1. From the 2 inch × 4 inch, cut one 7-foot length for the post.

2. From the 1 inch × 8 inch, cut one 13 1/2 inch length for the back wall a, one 12-inch length for the bottom b, and one 12-inch length for the door h. Also cut two 8 3/4 inch lengths for the sides c, and bevel one end of each length at a 45-degree angle, as shown in the cutting diagram.

3. From the 1 inch × 10 inch, cut one 12-inch length d and one 11 1/4 inch length e for the roof pieces and one 4 1/2 inch × 2 1/4 inch length for the chimney cap. Also cut a back gable f and a front gable g as shown in the cutting diagram.

Constructing the handy house

Figure 1 shows you how to construct the main walls and roof. Illustration by Michael Gellatly.

1. Start by screwing the sides c to the bottom b, with the beveled ends at the top. Then attach the back wall a and the back gable f. For the roof, attach the long piece d to the end of the shorter piece e (creating an inverted V shape). Position the roof atop the walls, flush with the back of the house. Screw down through the roof into the tops of the side walls c and the back gable f. (See fig. 1.)

Figure 2 shows you how to attach the last wall, hinges, and hook. Illustration by Michael Gellatly.

2. Use the hinges to attach the door h in fig. 2 as shown leaving a 3⁄32 inch gap around it. Screw a scrap block of wood inside the house for a doorstop, then install the hook and eye. Fit the front gable g in place, and make sure the door swings freely beneath it (if it doesn’t, you’ll have to trim the gable). Then screw down through the roof into the top of the gable to secure it.

3. Screw the chimney cap to the top of the post, and attach the post to the back of the house. Dig a hole in the ground, and set the post to the desired height. Backfill the hole with gravel to provide good drainage.

Figure 3 shows how to add the final touches to your handy house. Illustration by Michael Gellatly.

4. Screw the brass hook into the inside of the door, and hang the notepad on it. For a pencil holder, tack the two poultry staples to the wood beside the pad, spacing them a few inches apart, one above the other. Tack the upper staple just deep enough to hold it in place (so you can slide the pencil down through it) and set the lower staple deeper, leaving just enough space for the pencil tip to fit through. (See fig. 3.)

Builder’s Tip

When installing the hinges, hold them in place and use an awl to poke starter holes where the screws will go.

More From The Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects:

Cylindrical Tomato Cage

Excerpted from , © by Storey Publishing, LLC, Photography by © John Gruen, illustrations by © Michael Gellatly, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

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