Most of us have a shed – they are ideal for outdoor shelter and storage for tools, equipment and other gardening goods! But they are often used as a dumping ground, neglected and weather beaten.
However, a shed is a large and permanent garden feature, and it can detract from a great garden if it looks dilapidated. So it’s worth spending some time making it into a stylish garden feature.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean spending loads of money – a few tweaks and a lick of paint can totally transform your shed.
Clear it out
Sheds really are the gardener’s Tardis. When you take everything out, you wonder how you possibly got it all in there! But be honest – do you use all of it?
Time for a clear out. Throw away anything that’s broken or you never use. Now sort what remains into three piles, depending on how often you use it.
1 Hardly used (Christmas decorations)
2 Occasionally used (chainsaw, hedge trimmers)
3 Regularly used (spade, fork, hose)
When you repack the shed, put the least used stuff at the back so you don’t spend ages hunting for your tools.
Before you pile everything back in the shed, consider installing some storage. Aim to get as much as possible off the floor and onto the walls. Install shelves and hooks for things like tools and fertilisers.
Old cupboards and chests of drawers are ideal for storage, and they can double up as a work bench and potting station too.
Finally, fasten in items that tend to fall over, like garden canes and long tools like rakes. See? It feels like a new shed already, and so far you haven’t spent a penny!
Water is wood’s number one enemy. Wood swells as it absorbs water and shrinks as it dries out, warping and weakening the structure of your shed. Good quality wood treatment will save you money on repairs or a replacement shed further down the line.
Make sure your paint or stain contains a wood preservative or apply a separate pre-treatment.
And don’t forget the prep! Ensure the wood is dry and use a fungicidal wash to remove algae. If wood has previously been painted, strip it back with a sanding machine to expose the pores.
These days, wood stain can be more than brown or green! There is a huge range of shades available from companies like Ronseal and Sadolin.
If you want something a little more colourful, try exterior wood paint. They come in a mind-boggling array of colours so you can be creative. Choose from pastel shades, neutral greys and even rich berry colours. Protek, Cuprinol and Farrow & Ball all do great colour ranges.
Add interest by painting the eaves and window frames in a different shade, or choose two colours and paint alternate panels for a beach hut theme. You can even create a garden colour scheme by painting benches, furniture sets, pergolas and wooden planters in similar shades.
A paintbrush or roller will do the job, but you can also pick up a pump sprayer fairly cheaply to give you an even coverage in no time.
Sheds aren’t just functional! Make it your own with decorative touches. Attach a trellis panel to one side and grow a stunning climber up the wall.
Put pots outside the door filled with lavender or other scented plants, so they release their fragrance when you brush past.
Help your garden wildlife by hanging insect hotels on the walls – they should be protected from the rain by the eaves of the roof. Here’s how to make your own insect hotels using just recycled materials!
You can also add soft furnishings to decorate. Put curtains up in the window and string bunting around the roof to make it feel more like a summer house than a shed. Little decorative additions like this will take your shed from boring wooden box to striking garden feature.
Now you have a stunning garden shed, it’s worth checking its protection. Inspect the structure in spring and autumn and refasten any loose boards. Check the roofing felt too and nail down any loose edges. Minor repairs will help the building last much longer.
And don’t scrimp on the lock. One or two sturdy padlocks will make sure your expensive tools and gadgets don’t go missing.
Spending a few hours sorting out your shed now will put you in the right frame of mind for the gardening season, and save you time and money later on.