Keep Out! Build Your Own Backyard Clubhouse by Lee Mothes


As soon as they hit a certain age, kids start to crave a little privacy, a place of their own where they can read comics, write in a journal, draw, and dream. A place for playing games, cultivating friendships, and nourishing their own communities. A place to indulge their developing sense of independence, where they can decide who to let in — or Keep Out!

 And what better place than a clubhouse they’ve built on their own (or perhaps with just a little help from mom and dad)? Storey Publishing is proud to announce the release of Keep Out! Build Your Own Backyard Clubhouse, providing kids with all they need to know to build their own close-(but not too close)-to-home getaways.

At a time when many children spend their afternoons and weekends in front of the TV or the computer, author Lee Mothes shows kids and their parents the joy and achievement building a clubhouse can bring. Alongside friendly step-by-step illustrated instructions for building and customizing a small backyard structure, Mothes shares stories of his own clubhouse-building adventures, as well as profiles of clubhouses built throughout the ages.

Anyone who can swing a hammer can build a clubhouse! All that is needed are a few inexpensive hand tools, basic building supplies — many of which can be found and recycled for free — and some simple building skills, which Mothes teaches as the clubhouse project progresses. After detailing the nine essential tools and a few basic techniques for safe building practices, Mothes leads readers through the steps of planning for and building a small backyard structure, including drawing a plan, finding materials, building the foundation, framing the walls and roof, and putting on the finishing touches. He goes on to discuss ideas for customization and making the clubhouse your own.

If you’re an adult and looking to build a small backyard hideaway, Keep Out! is for you, too, and includes plans that are a bit more elaborate, for a grown-up retreat. Whether you’re 10, 12, or 82, undertake the adventure and experience the satisfaction of building a clubhouse of your own.

We received this book and I was quite impressed with the Simple instructions. We haven’t built a hideaway yet but when we do, we will fully rely on using this book! Love that the instructions are fully illustrated too.


Lee Mothes is an artist and high school teacher who has fond memories of his own childhood clubhouse. He studied architectural design and has worked as a full-time carpenter, taught various hands-on carpentry courses, and built many small structures over the years. He lives in Kaukauna,Wisconsin.

Keep Out!

Lee Mothes

Storey Publishing, April 2013

224 pages; 8″ x 9 1/4″

Full-color; illustrations throughout

$18.95 paper; ISBN 978-1-61212-029-4


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