Whether there's already a shed in your garden or you hope to add one, a little planning can make it an attractive part of your overall landscaping. Instead of using it just for storage, make it a part of your yard that adds beauty, too.
1. Choosing a Location
Your first decision is where to put the shed. Especially in a small yard, a shed changes your yard's overall topography. If you have a choice of more than one possible location, look at how your shed may shade existing plantings. Consider positioning it to screen out an unattractive view. Place it to create a focal point on a dull, hard-to-plant stretch of ground, or put it where it can possibly become the anchor for a new garden area. The location, height, size and uses of your shed may be governed by the local building codes. Check with your municipality before buying or building a new shed.
2. Creating a Site
To get the best use out of your shed, choose a level, well-drained piece of ground. For tool storage, raising the shed on cinder blocks may be all you need to do to ensure a consistently dry floor. If you plan to store a lawnmower, snow blower or other large equipment, plan space for a wide hard-surface ramp rather than steps. If your shed is intended as a home office, guest or entertainment area, you will probably need a sturdier, more permanent foundation. A large porch or deck can make your shed more useful for entertaining or relaxing.
3. Coordinating Landscaping Elements
While your choice of paint or stain colors is a major factor in making your shed stand out from or blend in with your overall landscaping, other material choices can enhance contrast or coordination. In making a path to your shed, echo the materials used elsewhere in your yard. If your path is brick, for example, use similar brick for paths to the shed. Make a path or small second patio from the flagstones on your terrace, use the same style of railings as on your deck or create other visual cues to integrate your shed into your yard. Repeating the curves or straight lines that are already part of your yard connects your shed with larger stylistic decisions.
4. Landscaping Your Work Area
Increase the functionality of a tool-storage shed by creating an adjacent outdoor work area. Work-spaces can range from a small paved area for gassing up the mower to a wide path with a potting bench, a rain barrel or a season-extending cold frame. A single large shrub, waist-high hedge, row of ornamental grasses or tall raised bed can conceal unglamorous chores without taking large amounts of space. Prefabricated segments of picket fence and lattice can provide quick and easy screening. Train a blooming vine or hang half-moon planter pots to turn your fence-screen into attractive additional planting space.
5. Shed Planting Projects
Look at your shed location as a place to grow a kind of garden you cannot fit into another part of your yard. Hang segments of rain-gutter or a lattice-based frame on a shed wall to experiment with vertical gardening. Plant a green roof you can tend from a step-ladder. Use large containers or box planters to create a herb or vegetable garden. Especially if you have a water source close by, a shed area is a great place to try out new kinds of plants and gardening techniques.
- Sunset Magazine: 19 Favorite Backyard Cottages and Sheds
- Landscaping Network: Backyard Garden Sheds
- Summerwood Products: Shed Tips & Ideas
- Allen's Factory Outlet: Finding the Perfect Landscape Design for Your Shed
- Gardens Illustrated: Design Solutions: Choosing a Shed
- Rutgers University Water Resources Program: Rain Barrels
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