The Ultimate Potting Shed
By Nikki Alvin-Smith
Spring is on the horizon and avid gardeners are already sowing seeds for a successful 2019 growing season for their vegetables and flowers.
It could be that this hive of industry with soil and seed packets everywhere is driving your spouse nuts due to the accompanying mess that is probably spread over your kitchen counters. Or perhaps you are working in the garage amid the kids’ bicycles, garbage recycling bins, lawn mower and ladders. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a proper potting shed where you could perfect your craft and potter away to your heart’s delight?
The ultimate potting shed can be yours in an instant, thanks to the prefab options available and the easy placement on site via a handy ‘mule’ machine that can set the structure in almost any location. These prefab structures can be customized to suit any need and to complement any existing buildings, so if you’ve nurtured a dream to have proper storage space in your garden for your tools, flower pots and place to potter then why not make it a reality. If you have a decrepit shed in your garden that is an eyesore, some shed manufacturers will even remove it so don’t forget to ask.
Be certain to choose a reputable company to source your shed, and don’t succumb to making a choice from a limited resource such as the shed store you see on your drive to work. There are many options out there and working directly with a manufacturer will provide you with a much broader selection. As delivery is easily accomplished over the road the potting shed of your dreams is within easy reach. Additionally when you work directly with the manufacturer you have the option of financing your purchase utilizing the resources they have in place to help you.
Here are a few ideas on how to choose your new potting shed to maximize its use and your enjoyment for many years to come.
A good way to approach the design and set up of your shed is to divide your gardening needs into three areas. A workspace, a storage space and a space to kick off your boots and relax.
Roof and Rain
Ideally your potting shed should offer spacious storage opportunities and the best way to maximize your dollar spend is to think about going taller where the width of the structure is hampered by the size of the site. With the roof design some gardeners choose to match the style and pitch of their home, for example, an A-line roof with a similar shingle to their home and matching pitch.
The most cost effective roof design for additional interior height is the gambrel roof style. This style was developed by the Dutch to provide an extra loft space that was useful for hay and grain storage in their barns. In the potting shed, it will offer more room for shelves and provide a more airy feel.
For additional light ask about roof light panes and skylight options.
While shingle is a perfectly good roofing material and very popular, a metal roof can provide a handy resource for water collection in a covered tank, with the correct gutter set up. In any event your shed should be situated near to your water source if possible for ease of use. If it is practicable you could plumb in a large sink in the shed where you can wash up and source your water needs.
Where to Place Your Potting Shed
The location of your shed should be in a sheltered spot in the garden, where it can catch the southern aspect and enjoy the benefit of the warmth of the sun. If you include windows in the shed design these should be faced to enjoy a view of the garden while you potter at a bench installed in front of it. Natural light is perfect for planting those tiny seeds but you will want to install some sort of electric light option for grow lights and for those dusky evenings when you have a few extra hours to spare enjoying your gardening pursuits. In summer the open windows can catch the summer breeze and provide a much needed respite from the heat.
A neat touch to accentuate your beautiful new shed is the addition of flower boxes under the windows and for added visual appeal, exterior shutters can be included too. You know you’ll enjoy planting those flower boxes.
It is important to note that the addition of an electrical package to your shed purchase will allow the roughed in electrics to be in place and ready for your licensed electrician to connect. Check with your local town for permitting requirements as different restrictions apply by State as to who can complete the roughed in electric install.
The benefit of insulation is that the structure will be warmer in winter and cooler in summer. This is particularly important if you plan to spend a lot of time in the shed and would like to moderate the temperature swings. Provision of a small heater in the winter and fan in the summer can significantly increase the length of the season you can enjoy being out in the garden shed sowing seed trays and repotting plants.
Rough board floors are a practical material for a potting shed, and the wood may be protected by sealants and stained to provide whatever color palette your prefer.
The floor in the workspace area can be protected by provision of a rubber mat with a non-slip finish. This will not only lessen strain on human joints and tendons when working in the space, it will also facilitate quick clean up for spillage of soil or water.
It is not expensive to add a porch to a shed design and the benefit of having a spot to sit and enjoy a quick tea break when a rain shower moves in, or cold beverage after a day’s toil in a hot garden will bring immeasurable pleasure. The porch also provides a good spot to kick off those dirty boots, and enjoy a welcome respite at the end of the day from which you can admire the progress of your garden and share some quality time with family. Your canine companion may also join in and lay contentedly by your feet.
The porch can also provide a good location for cold frames, and offers additional shelter to store sacks of gardening materials which you will want to keep handy for potting needs such as vermiculite, potting soil, sand and perlite.
A porch is also the perfect place to hang baskets that may be filled with tomatoes, other vegetables or flowers.
The ultimate potting shed will have plenty of bench/counter workspace and beneath the bench is a perfect area to store buckets of gardening supplies.
It does seem that pots have an uncanny ability to multiply when we are not looking, and narrow shelves set at different heights to accommodate different sizes are the perfect solution for setting them ready for reuse after a quick bleaching.
To keep tools highly visible and also out of your way add a pegboard to one wall and store them neatly off the floor.
Small filing cabinets and drawer sets can be stacked to provide storage for seed packets and catalogs and to keep everything neat and tidy.
Totes and other containers for use around the garden are also a necessity. Plastic horse grooming tool trays make an inexpensive and excellent portable and washable option to carry your pruning tools, sprays bottles, gloves and other immediate needs with you as you work around the garden.
There are many clever tool storage solutions to be found on the internet, from pegboards to pallets to PVC pipe containment of the varietal rakes, hoes, forks, spades and pruning tools. PVC pipes also make excellent storage for bamboo canes and sticks. Inventive ideas that can maximize the available space and provide easy accessibility are always a useful boon for the keen gardener whose tool collection is often extensive. Creating your own storage solutions does not have to be expensive. You can also resource vintage potting shed benches and other fixtures from yard sales and online sites.
If your property is fairly secure and you are not worried about theft, you can also hide tools behind the shed on the exterior wall on a DIY rack.
Boot racks can be made from wooden pegs set on a board and attached to the wall. Your array of gardening footwear is then handy no matter what the weather or task at hand, and you can avoid tromping around the kitchen and making an unwanted mess.
Inside the shed you might include a small living area with a few chairs, table and a fridge to store cold drinks and snacks. We all need a place to rest the weary back and peruse our gardening notes or leaf through a seed catalog or nursery price list in peace and quiet.
Make the space your own with personal touches such as photos on the wall, a homemade green wreath on the door and fun signage such as, “ You’ll find me in the garden, bring a cuppa.”