­If you've got rudimentary ca­rpentry skills and sufficient motivation -- like a garage so cluttered with gardening equipment and indispensable odds and ends that you dread the thought of trying to squeeze an automobile into it -- you may find yourself heading to the lumber yard and preparing to construct a little out-building behind your house. Yes, a storage shed -- one that serves a multitude of purposes for your every need.

It's a sensible idea for many homeowners. As a way of gaining storage space, it's much easier than tacking a new room onto the house. A sturdy, reasonably attractive shed may even raise the property value of the home it adorns and help you make enough room in your garage for what it was intended -- your car. A skilled builder can complete the project in one day, working solo. And if designed properly, a backyard shed can even serve as a potting shed, home office annex or secret clubhouse. Besides, conveniently storing one's lawn and garden supplies so near to where they're used may make outdoor work seem much more appealing.

­Buying and assembling a prefabricated storage shed is an option, but the prefab structures out of a kit tend to be drab in appearance and limited in durability [source: Truini]. Building your own shed offers more options. A great variety of plans are available to choose from, some of which are free; more experienced builders can also design custom sheds. That way, as the architectural adage goes, form can follow function. If the main reason for building a shed is to house an extra-wide lawn tractor, for example, it may be appropriate to build a shed with a vertical-lift garage door and perhaps a ramp [source: Carter]. The possibilities are endless.

This article will not attempt to describe every step and all the materials needed to build every kind of shed, but just give a quick overview of the process and some of the factors to consider in preparing to build, as there are almost limitless options. Ready to move on? Let's first take a look at the tools and materials you will need.