I will admit that it was getting a bit out of hand. My gardening hobby had taken over. Each year, as I became more passionate about growing, I added new supplies until slowly there was no room left. Supports, pots, tools, bags of soil, potting mix and mulch, stakes, boots, buckets, and more were taking up serious real estate in our garage-to the point where my car could no longer fit. When I opened the garage door, I would stare at the garden supply maze, an unorganized mess of tangled tools and twine, afraid to go any further. In general, I’m a very organized person, but this, this was anarchy. It wasn’t so bad in the summer when most of the supports, soil, and stakes were in the garden, but it was chaos in the winter when they all needed to be tucked away. One day, after the tower of tools collapsed with a bang, my husband and I looked at each other, and he said, “it’s time for a she shed.”
I had dreamed of having a potting shed ever since I started gardening on our property back in 2004, but it never seemed to be in the cards. There were always other projects that demanded our attention or our finances. Another issue was that the topography of our property is less than ideal for building a shed-we had no idea where we would even put one. Our small property includes a sizeable hill that has always made it challenging to add permanent structures. The house, garage, and garden are all built on the few flat areas on our property. I knew I wanted the potting shed near the garden, but I was reluctant to give up growing space to make it happen. It looked like the potting shed dream would never become a reality, but then we made a discovery.
When we moved to our property, one of the first projects we tackled was putting up a fence enclosing our backyard, both for our dog and privacy. Again, based on topography (and finances), we built the fence well within our property lines. While walking around the garden, looking for any possible location to build a structure, my husband had the thought to look on the other side of the fence. There was a relatively flat area outside the garden just beyond the fence line. We had found the spot for my new potting shed!
It took just over a year from the day of that discovery until building day. Finding a builder and excavator, getting the required permits, moving the existing fence, and supply chain issues during a pandemic all played a part in delaying the project. But, finally, in September of 2021, I saw my 17-year dream of having a potting shed come to fruition. Within a few days, the builders completed the structure, and it turned out to be better than I had ever imagined. The porch and ornate overhang are my favorite features on the exterior. It’s easy to envision sitting on that porch with a glass of lemonade looking out at my garden in bloom after an exhaustive weeding session. It will be divine.
When it came time to fix the fencing, we decided to take the plunge and also replace the fence surrounding the garden itself. After 15 years, it was looking a little worse for the wear, with sagging wire, leaning posts, and rusted hinges. Honestly, I don’t even know how it was still standing. We had limped along for the past few years, replacing wire sections and laying stones along the perimeter to keep critters out and hold the fence up. Finally, it was time to let go. While contemplating the new design, we decided to expand the growing space and incorporate the new potting shed within the garden rather than outside the fence. I wanted to feel that the shed was part of the garden. We used the existing taller perimeter fence for two sides of the new growing space, eliminating a narrow strip of lawn behind the old garden fence that we hated to mow. We also extended the garden forward to create longer beds. When the new fence was complete, I had nearly doubled my growing space!
I am ecstatic that the building process is complete, but there is still much to be done. We have started working on the shed interior by placing shiplap on the walls, and there are plans to add flooring, a large potting bench, and lots of storage solutions for all of my supplies. In addition, we need to build a retaining wall outside the shed, spread stone, layout new beds and fill them with soil, and paint and attach chicken wire to the fence. It will be hard work, but it will be worth it. When finished, I will no longer have to hike up a hill every time I need a trowel, a hoe, or a bag of potting mix. All of those supplies will be in my new potting shed-and so will I, happily planting and growing. I may even be able to get my car back in the garage when all is said and done. That is the hope anyway.
On the outside, it may look like a shed, built from wood and vinyl, but it’s on the inside where I will make my garden dreams come true. So, he said, she shed, and boy am I glad he did.