An outhouse brings a bit of nostalgia and whimsy to the backyard. Today outhouses are used more as decoration than as functioning buildings. However, if you want to build a working outhouse, it's not difficult. Just remember to place it 50 to 150 feet from the house, and at least 50 feet from any water source.

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An outhouse brings a bit of nostalgia and whimsy to the backyard.

Building the Box Structure

Step 1

Determine the location of the outhouse. Dig a trench 3 feet square and 5 feet deep.

Step 2

Construct the base from 2-by-4s, making a 4-foot square box. Nail plywood over the box to make a floor. Place it over the trench.

Step 3

Add 2-by-4 posts at each corner.

Step 4

Cut one sheet of plywood 4 feet wide by 7 feet high. Cut one sheet 4 feet wide by 6 feet high. Cut two sheets 4 feet wide, but angle the top side to run from 7 feet down to 6 feet. Run a pencil line connecting the 7-foot side to the 6-foot side. Cut the angle with a circular saw.

Step 5

Nail up the pre-cut sheets of plywood, placing the 7-foot piece at the front of the outhouse, the 6-foot piece on the back and the two angled pieces on the sides.

Step 6

Build a 5-foot square box from 2-by-4s. Attach the 5-foot square of tin. Nail this roof onto the plywood walls, allowing for a 6-inch overhang on all sides.

Finishing the Outhouse

Step 1

Cut a hole in the 7-foot side of the box for a door. Using the cut piece, or using a regular door, attach it on hinges to the outhouse structure. If using plywood, construct a Z-bar frame from 2-by-4s for extra sturdiness, and nail to the door.

Step 2

Build a seat box, 2 feet high by the width of the interior. Nail onto the back wall and the floor. Cover the box with plywood, cut to size.

Step 3

Cut an oblong hole about 10 to 12 inches wide and 15 inches long, using a drill to start a hole, then using a hand saw. Attach a toilet seat to cover this opening, using the accompanying hardware.

Step 4

Add screens at the top of the rear wall for ventilation, or run a 4-inch vent pipe through the roof. Cut a hole in the door for extra ventilation.

Step 5

Paint the interior with a mixture of 1 tablespoon calcium hypochlorite and water. This anti-bacterial agent acts like household bleach to disinfect the interior, and also is a deterrent to insects and other pests.