My granddad had one, I have one and quite a few of my neighbours have one – a lean-to. What obviously distinguishes a lean-to from a carport is that it doesn’t house a car, although many carports provide cover for anything but cars, so I guess what word one uses to describe it is somewhat subjective. My eccentric old grandpa, who by-the-way lived in a log cabin in the middle of a wood, had a wooden lean-to adjoining an outside dry- toilet. For a London kid living in a house with a bathroom, the outside loo was a place of biting ants and horrors; however, so near and yet so different, the lean-to was a den of mystery and fun. Underneath the rotting, corrugated iron roof lay half a rowing boat (I never found out why there was only half a boat), under which were snakes, lizards, toads and other creepy crawlies that so fascinate a youngster. The first thing I did when deposited at grandpa’s log cabin for the summer holidays was to upend the old boat and find my cold-blooded buddy for the next four weeks.
Lean-tos are generally built alongside something or other, hence the lean and to, but they can be free-standing. On farms, managed forestry land and even on mountains a lean-to with three sides provides shelter for animals, workers and intrepid walkers when inclement weather closes in. My lean-to houses firewood in the winter months and bicycles, plant pots and general paraphernalia the rest of the time. Built of wood with a tiled roof on tongue and grove boards, it has three sides, one of which is the wall of my outside kitchen. A timber lean-to is a simple structure that can be made to blend nicely into any environment. With or without walls, the roof can be coated steel, roofing felt or, like mine, timber base with rustic tiles on top of a waterproof membrane. It very much depends on where the lean-to is to be situated and what surrounds it.
Whatever the requirement, lean-tos are easy and inexpensive to build, whether flat-pack or built on site. But it is essential when purchasing a lean-to from a manufacturer to make certain the wood is good quality and fully treated against insect attack and the elements. Based just inland on the Costa Calida, Woodworks Direct can be trusted to meet all these criteria. But remember, if you’re not keen on bugs and slithery things; don’t keep half a rowing boat in your lean-to.