Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Garden Shed Envy

I want this.
(Houzz, Bradley M. Jones)

Yes, I want a garden shed something like the one above in the Houzz photo (a dangerous site, because it gives you expensive ideas...). But I have this instead:

The problem: how to transform my filthy, bird poop-covered, dark, dreary shed that doesn't have electricity or running water into a beautiful, useful space for storing pots, garden tools and paraphernalia.

It could be worse, I guess.

I've been trying to fix up my garden shed for several years now, but the first big problem was the birds. There is a gap between the metal roof and the shed walls that they could get into at will, and they roosted in there for years. I hired a handyman to try to fix the problem twice, but he was completely incompetent.

  1. His first brilliant idea was to stuff insulation into each hole between the rafters. The birds just used it to feather their nests.
  2. He next tried to cut small pieces of wire chicken fence and put them in each hole between the rafters. The birds just managed to push them out of the way.
  3. I finally hired a different, less-incompetent handyman to run chicken wire along the entire outside of the eaves (what I thought the other guy would do in #2). This finally solved the problem. No more birds inside the shed.
It's really not so unattractive on the outside, now that I've painted it, shown in this photo from early spring this year. I've bought some lattice that I will paint white and attach on either side of the door, to grow 'Blaze' climbing roses up. (I planted one on each side of the door last year, although they died over the winter. I will probably replace them and plant some other things on this east side too.)

I'm working on planting things on the other sides of the shed as well, as this photo from a few weeks ago shows.
Little by little it improves....

I also had the competent handyman fix the door and add a sill under it, so that water didn't run in every time it rained. And I had him replace the section of floor that had rotted away inside the door from the water, and that had a large, foot-sized hole (don't even ask) in it. Additionally, he fixed the windows, adding a larger one that I found on Ebay on the side that faces the house, and making the other windows not leak.

So now the shed is finally bird free and not rotting. That's something, I guess.

But still filthy.

But it's still covered with bird poop and is dark, filthy and disorganized -- I went in there the other day to look for my new curly-Q plant stakes, and had to spend about 20 minutes searching before I found them. Grrrr.

It's not like I need a super-cute garden shed that I can enjoy drinking cozy cups of tea in, like you see in magazines. Nor will I want this to be the nexus of seeds and flats of plants, since there's no light, water or heat (the electric fixtures in the photos no longer work because the power line to the shed was removed years ago). I just need a clean place to store pots, garden furniture in winter, and some garden tools and equipment (I keep the tools I use most in the garage, which is closer to the house and hence more convenient).

This is actually the improved state.

So I've made some plans for this summer, after all the spring planting is finished.

  1. During a hot, windy week, I will remove everything from the shed. I'll then remove all birds' nests and sweep the shed out thoroughly.
  2. Next, I'll use a garden hose with spray attachment and a long-handled scrub brush to scrub out the entire inside, including the rafters above that are covered in bird poop. I will have to wear some version of a haz-mat suit for this work, including a mask.
  3. Then I'll let the shed dry out for a week or so in the hot wind.
  4. Next I'll spray the inside walls with white paint. I'll paint the floor in brown porch paint, and perhaps the counters will be dark green.
  5. Then I'll put up shelves made of brackets and lumber, and some tool hangers. I've bought a couple metal trash cans for potting soil and compost, and I'll organize my garden supplies and pots in a useful manner.
  6. I might even get carried away and make little gingham curtains for the windows, so I can have a cute shed too...
Anyway, these are my plans, perhaps for later this month. Stay tuned for progress reports!

Thanks for reading. -Beth


  1. Looking at your photo of your house and grounds I see you have so much space to work on! The shed is progressing well and, in time, I'm sure you'll get it how you want inside as a store room and working space. Congratulations on all you've done so far with the painting of it on the outside. Have a good week!

  2. Thanks for visiting, Linda, and for your encouraging comments! I look forward to your next posts as well.