The Top Site For DIY Home Improvement Projects
Most of what you will find in BuildThingsDirect are DIY home improvement projects that you can do yourself. Most are made from wood because it is easy to work with, can be made into pretty well anything, and is cheap to buy. It is also a renewable product, which is good in this ‘green’ age. Some projects, of course, use other materials as well as wood, but you will find each project easy to do and very rewarding.
None require any great skills but all require a willingness to plan properly and take action.
Experience in building many such DIY projects myself enables me to review and recommend those products that will help you achieve what you want in the most efficient way and for the best value for money.
BuildThingsDirect constantly recommends that you use good plans – drawings, blueprints, step-by-step instructions, full materials lists, videos – to help achieve a satisfying result to a professional standard. I firmly believe that this is essential, and make no apologies for sponsoring links to products that I feel are the best available for you.
Remember that one good set of plans will provide all your future DIY needs – unless, that is, you plan on more than 12,000 projects!
My list of topics and information on DIY home improvement and woodworking projects is constantly changing, but this is a summary of the current items here at BuildThingsDirect.
MyShedPlans – over 12,000 woodworking project plans including a huge range of sheds and other outdoor buildings, plus detailed plans for doors, windows, dormers, skylights, fireplaces, many indoor items of furniture, and a multitude of techniques such as planning, bills of materials, woodworking and joinery, plumbing, wiring, roofing and flooring – a really comprehensive kit for any enthusiast planning any wood working projects online.
This is my preferred plans kit for anyone with DIY in mind, and you can read an independent review of MyShedPlans here.
TedsWoodworking – this is a recent DIY plans kit that is proving to be very popular. With 16,000 plans available online for all sorts of woodworking projects it is the largest woodworking plans kit currently available. More to the point for any woodworking enthusiast looking for a particular set of plans this kit provides high quality blueprints together with free software to allow viewing, editing and printing. There are step-by-step instructions for each project; materials lists; plenty of schematic drawings to help with all those little or obscure details; and hundreds of short color videos showing how to do a wide range of woodworking tasks.
Also included is a good architectural drawing software package that lets you design and draw up your own building – useful if you are planning to make a shed or other building from scratch.
You can read a review of TedsWoodworking here.
Woodworking4Home – over 14,000 wood working plans for a huge number of do it yourself home improvement projects including sheds, log cabins, gazebos, garden furniture, barns, birdhouses, boats, carports, doghouses, patio0 decks, greenhouses, rabbit hutches, pergolas and many more, together with assembly instructions, videos and general woodworking techniques. Also an excellent all-round plans kit for every kind of DIY home improvements project.
Read an independent review of Woodworking4Home here.
Building A Chicken Coop – keeping chickens is now a growing and very popular hobby for many people, so I have included what I believe to be the best guide on the subject – it has simple step-by-step instructions, plans, photos and videos for building a large range of chicken coops from scratch, plus lots of information about such things as chicken-keeping regulations, diets, diseases, incubation and rearing, choosing the right breed, and everything else needed to keep hens happily and healthily.
This is currently the most popular product about poultry raising on the market, for good reason. See a review of Building A Chicken Coop here.
Best Chicken Coop Guides – our reviews of the top chicken coop building guides together with our recommended Best Buy.
Best Chicken Coop Plans – our reviews of the top chicken coop building plans together with our recommended Best Buy.
These are the topics covered at present. Click on the links to go to the full page on the subject.
build your own shed – the ins and outs of building a garden shed.
making outdoor storage buildings – plan to make a utility shed to a profesional standard.
garden sheds and building projects – a look at the types of backyard sheds available.
garden shed plans – what you need to build a shed properly.
build a log cabin – how to build the log cabin dream.
log cabin plans to build your own cabin – a look at the range of plans available.
build a wooden summer house – the ever-popular summerhouse and how to build it.
build a gazebo – the best way to bring beauty to your garden.
plans for summer houses – building a summer house from scratch using the best summer house plans.
how to build a doghouse – a simple project for making an outdoor kennel.
10 best dog house plans – where to get the best plans for building a backyard kennel.
how to build a chicken coop – what is involved in making a good chicken coop.
build a chicken tractor – how to make one of these useful mobile chicken coops.
build a chicken pen – how to make a safe run for your free-range hens.
raising backyard chickens – 10 vital steps before you start to build that chicken coop.
chicken breeds – no apologies for including this topic in a DIY website. Before you build a chicken coop you will want to know about the various chicken breeds and which ones would suit your particular circumstances. Here is all you need to know.
Alternative Energy Projects
I have always liked the idea of ‘free’ energy from the Sun, and there are now a whole lot of worthwhile projects that are simple to make but that have a really strong effect on saving energy in and around the home. Here are some that you might like to consider:
build a solar hot tub – surely a long soak in a hot tub, glass in hand and watching the sun set, is the perfect way to end a hard day at work? Or just lazing around with your loved ones at the weekend?
Making a hot tub is now one of the most popular DIY projects because it can be done for very little money. Even better is getting the water heated for free by the Sun. Here’s how to go about it.
solar water heater – if you want to save a bundle on your domestic hot water costs take a look at adding a solar water heater to your hot water system. It works brilliantly, even in cloudy weather. I once had a solar hot water system that was completely passive (no moving parts) and actually produced very warm water when it was snowing outside!
Building one is easy and cheap. I do not understand why more people don’t do this – I suppose they just don’t know about it.
solar pool heater – extend your swimming season by heating your pool. Even better, heat it for free with a solar pool heater. Cheap and simple to make, then no more worries about those frightening pool heating costs.
Many people are now discovering for themselves what a great backyard project this is.
solar shower – your kids have probably thought of this for themselves, by rinsing off with the garden hose after their swim. A long water hose lying in the Sun will do the job quite well (for one person!) but making a proper solar shower is simple and will provide all the hot water needed by the whole family.
No pool should be without one!
solar panels – solar panels are all the rage at present, stimulated by generous state and federal subsidies, but they cost a lot of money up front and can take many years to cover their initial costs.
But there is a better way – make your own solar panels! It can be a bit tedious but it is simple to do, and the energy savings are well worth the effort. Very little skill is needed but you do need professional guidance to ensure that they are made properly and hooked up to your domestic electricity circuit safely. Most areas even have mandated that your utility company must buy back from you any surplus electricity that you might generate.
wind turbine – a small residential wind turbine is a great way of harnessing wind power to provide a supply of either DC or AC electricity for your home. It depends on the local average wind speeds for its efficiency, and I tell you how to find out if this will be enough to make the project worthwhile. But making one of these wind turbines is easy and cheap, and they should be part of any alternative energy plan.
solar generator – power outages are happening more and more these days, and the situation is going to get worse as energy supplies become more scarce. A standby generator is a good idea but the gas or diesel powered ones make a lot of noise and can be a bit smelly as well. A solar-powered generator is a good alternative.
One of these nifty little devices is also great for providing portable power for parties and BBQs in the garden or on the beach. Or when you go camping.
Building Project Information
I have assembled information and guidance about a large number of popular DIY woodwork topics related to these backyard projects. These include:
woodworking techniques – how to develop and get the best out of your woodworking skills.
foundations – the basics of mixing concrete and making a shed base or foundation.
workplace safety – important advice for keeping your workplace free of accidents for you and anyone around you while you work.
There is also some information about the principal author, Kieran Gracie, and our policies which you might find interesting. You can find it all here:
Hopefully you will find plenty to interest you within these pages. I have tried to include things that will inspire, things that can be made in a weekend, things that are useful, things that will save you money and provide lots of enjoyment.
I have shown you how to avoid the ‘free’ woodworking plan offers that will end up costing you much more in the long run in terms of wasted time, wasted efforts, wasted materials and wasted enthusiasm.
When I recommend a particular product you can be sure that it will do what it says on the label, that it will have been tried and tested, and that it will be good value for money.
You need to enjoy your woodworking projects, wooden storage shed or other projects, and I will help you to have fun making them.
Put that creative streak to good use and start building that woodwork project you have been thinking about for so long!