How to Build a Small Outhouse for Looks

A small, nonfunctional outhouse is an easy way to add a sense of humor to any garden project.

While making you laugh, outhouses also make good toolsheds.While making you laugh, outhouses also make good toolsheds.
A roughly hewn, ramshackle building with a crescent moon in the door is unmistakable for an outhouse, is ubiquitous in any western style and always brings a smile to the face of passers-by.

Measure and cut the 2 by 4s in the width you want the outhouse. Cut six at the same length, around 3 feet. These will form the sides and back of the structure. Also cut four pieces at 6 inches and two pieces at 2 feet. These will form the supports for the front wall and the door.

Cut any beveled or notched ends off of the fence boards and attach to the 2 by 4s at 2 feet from either end. Don't worry about making the nailing perfect and the boards splitting too much. That will just add to the rustic look of the outhouse. Also, using rough fence boards will give it that ramshackle feel. Drive nails through the fence boards into the 2 by 4s at about 1 inch from the top and bottom of the 2 by 4. Use two nails for each joining point. Nail the 2 by 4s together on the corners by driving a nail through one 2 by 4 at an angle into the other with the fence boards to one another forming the three sides.

Nail the 6-inch sections to the fence board and attach to the side walls the same way you attached the three walls together. Nail fence boards to the 2-foot sections at the same points as the 6-inch sections. Attach hinges to the side you want the door to swing toward. Mark and cut out the crescent moon shape on the front of the door for that whimsical humor. Attach the other side of the hinges to the 6-inch board sections.

Nail additional fence boards across the top to form the roof. If you cut the back of the structure lower than the front, and the sides on an incline, you can give the structure a lean-to look, but that is totally dependent on the look you are going for.

Cut and attach additional fence boards and 2 by 4s to make a floor if you are planning on using the outhouse as a tool shed. You may also want to consider putting a layer of tar paper or some other moisture barrier on both floor and ceiling to keep out water. If you are just wanting the outhouse for garden whimsy, lift it and put it in the desired position as is.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • 2 by 4s (at least 6)
  • Fence boards, 6- to 8-foot length and 8 inches wide
  • Nails, 2 inches
  • Hinges


  • Be sure to put a lock on the outhouse if you are going to use it for storage.


  • Remember to wear proper protective gear including eye and ear protection when working with wood and tools to avoid potentially serious injury.

About the Author

Adrian Traylor began writing professionally in 2008. His work has been seen in various conference publications and academic journals including "Eyes on the ICC." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, a Master of Arts in international negotiation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a L.L.M. in international law from the University of Edinburgh.