Garage in the Garden

– Posted in: Garden Design

I really enjoyed reading Nancy Ondra’s Garden Blogger’s Design Workshop for this month on Sheds and Outbuildings. My gardening tools haven’t had a real place to call home for years, since they had to compete for space with larger, bulkier equipment essential to my motorhead husband. An ever-present tangle of tools filled one corner of the garage and a permanent pile in my garden cart made using it a pain. Smaller essentials—pruning shears, labels, garden stakes, twine and the like—found their way into a scattering of five-gallon plastic buckets. When we eliminated the stack of long-handled tools by hanging a row of hooks along one entire wall, I thought I’d attained tool-storage heaven. Then we moved.

This converted garage houses storage space for tools  it's insulated for overwintering tender perennials and houseplants. This morning, the last of the containers are crowded near the door so they can be moved inside to escape fall frost.

This converted garage houses storage space for tools it provides insulated space for overwintering tender perennials and houseplants.

Our new place in Maryland brought with it a small garage/workshop. From the start, it was clearly too small for my husband’s needs and we did need to a few things. The smaller building became mine when we added a garage for his equipment at the upper edge of the property. At first all I thought about was hanging a couple of tool racks and having a place for my garden cart, but once reality set it, I really began to dream.

The final configuration is perfect, although I’m still getting organized. There are tool racks, to be sure, but I’ve got more than I thought we would have room for since we added a wall down the center of the building, separating the garage bay from the workshop side. We also insulated the whole building. We recycled a large (6 x 10 feet?) peg board on one wall for small tools and garden stakes, and also added several re-purposed book cases for smaller stuff like labels and pots. My husband also built me a work/potting bench in the garage side, so no more worrying about piling potting soil on his workbench!

We also added windows—a recycled Thermopane picture window on one side and new windows on the other—and the end result is a greenhouse-like structure with room for overwintering tender perennials and storage for houseplants that don’t make it indoors for whatever reason. In winter I can keep the greenhouse side in the 60s with a plug-in radiator.

The in-ground garden hasn’t yet grown up around the shed, but that’s only a matter of time. From the start I’ve enjoyed dressing up the building with containers and houseplants for summer. On the front, a heavy-duty rack originally designed to hold horse tack provides space for hanging plants and part of my watering can collection. Suffice it to say, my tools are happy to finally be fully at home—if still somewhat disorganized. And while I’m thrilled to finally have a real garden work space, I noticed a potential problem this fall: my husband’s fishing poles and tackle are working their way in among my gardening tools. . . .

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Barbara Ellis

Barbara Ellis

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