Garden Shed Tips

Potting shed, garden tool shed, garden cottage…a shed can be purchased or built to fit any gardener’s dream, including purpose, style and budget. Garden sheds are appreciated in the fall when it’s time to bring in the tools and find some indoor gardening activities. Another big advantage of a garden shed is that as a potting shed it can shelter you from the rain or hot sun, providing you with your own special spot in the great outdoors. Here are some tips for selecting or designing such a shed.

First of all, it’s good to know that there are various levels of building required. You can start from scratch using building plans (easily found online), or you can purchase a kit, such as one with pre-cut wood (minor adjustments may be made with a skill saw) or one that is semi-assembled. Another option is to purchase a turnkey shed that is home delivered.

A garden shed, like a storage shed, may be made of wood, metal, plastic or wood with vinyl siding. However, most garden sheds are made of wood.

Styles range from tiny, open-sided tin-roofed structures to larger wood-framed structures that are more akin to cottages with shingled roofs, windows, and electrical outlets.

If you decide to go with the cottage variety, whether you choose a kit, pre-assembled or DIY, you can customize this to complement your home and garden. Some environmentally conscious gardeners like to use recycled materials such as doors and windows. Doing so can save you money, and you can still have a garden shed fit for Sunset or Better Homes & Gardens!

To aesthetically enhance your garden shed, you may want to paint the trim or choose siding that matches the main house. Or if you always wanted a certain
type of structure such as a log cabin or tidy, white cottage adorned with a climbing rose, here’s your chance! If you’re concerned about the style clashing with that of the main house, position your garden hideaway/work space so that it is tucked behind shrubbery or trees. In the garden, your shed may be a lovely focal point with even its own little yard or it may blend in with the background.

Depending on the style of your shed, you could add dormers, shutters, flowerboxes, finials and/or weathervanes.

On a more practical note, here are some tips for making your garden shed as utilitarian as it is fun or beautiful.

• Windows (and if it’s not too hot in the summer, skylights) make growing seedlings easier and working more pleasant.

• An electrical source (such as electrical wiring or access to GFI outdoor outlets) may be needed for heat and lighting.

• Potting benches for mixing soils and starting seedlings.

• A wood shed needs protection from the elements and termites. Stained and varnished wood will hold up better. Cedar is naturally resistant to water damage, as well as insects. .

• A south facing window or window wall is good for your own lighting needs and for seedlings. Skylights or a plexiglass saltbox roof allows in even more light; however, if your summers are hot, go with a roof that shades, such as shingled, and consider positioning under a shade tree.

• If you want to keep large tools such as a tiller in the shed, be sure the shed is large enough.

• Add shelves for seed starting trays, pots, and plenty of workspace.

Also, consider the advantages of a garden shed that doesn’t have a floor. A thick layer of gravel will absorb water spills, and on hot summer days, you can wet the gravel floor thoroughly with a hose and run an oscillating fan to create evaporative cooling.

Add plenty of racks for hanging garden tools. You may also want to try a sand bin as a temporary, rustproof storage for tools during the day. (Mix course sand with enough vegetable oil to provide moist consistency with a brown sugar like texture).

Last but not least, remember to check with your city hall to see if there are any building permit requirements.

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