Sheds are extremely useful for outdoor shelter and storage for tools, equipment and other gardening goods. However, they often end up being used as a dumping ground and can be neglected and weather beaten.
But if you leave it to look dilapidated, it can detract from a great garden, so it’s worth spending some time making it into a garden feature. They are a large and permanent element in the garden, so it’ll be worthwhile.
Although, that doesn’t mean you need to spend loads of money, instead a few tweaks and a lick of paint can totally transform your shed.
Clear it out
Firstly, start out by sorting your tools and it’ll make your shed seem bigger, almost like a Tardis. Group all of your tools, equipment and other stored goods and sort out what you regularly use. Dispose appropriately of anything that’s broken, or that you don’t use.
With the wares that are left, sort them out into three piles depending on how often it gets used.
For example, Christmas decorations are hardly used, your chainsaw and hedge trimmers may be occasionally used, and your spade, fork and hose are regularly used.
Then, when repacking the shed, organise it so the items that are least used and positioned towards the back, so anything that is regularly used is easy to access. It’ll save you digging around and keep the shed from becoming untidy quickly.
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 using shelves and hooks.
In addition, old cupboards and chests of drawers are ideal for storage. These 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 and brooms.
Wood swells as it absorbs water and shrinks as it dries out, warping and weakening the structure of your shed. A good quality wood treatment will save you money on repairs or a replacement shed further down the line.
To save yourself any future hassle, ensure the paint or stain contains a wood preservative or apply a separate pre-treatment.
Also, don’t forget the preparation! 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 and mixing two colours can give a great impact.
If you want something a little more colourful, try exterior wood paint. You can choose from pastel shades, neutral greys, or rich berry colours.
Furthermore, you can add interest by painting the eaves and window frames with a different shade. Alternatively, if you have a coastal garden and want a nautical theme, paint alternate panels with different colours to create a beach hut frame.
You can use it as an extra feature to match your garden colour scheme by painting benches, furniture sets, pergolas, and wooden planters in similar shades.
Sheds aren’t just functional. Make it your own with decorative touches, such as attaching a trellis panel to one side to grow a stunning climber up the wall.
Embellish the shed with 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.
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.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
It seems like such common sense to reorganize based on how often you use things, but I simply never thought about doing that before. I actually have a large storage room in my home that I’m going to reorganize in this way as well. Hopefully doing this will help me be able to find things more easily in the future!