Magazine article Sunset

Garden Cottage: Build a Shed of Recycled Materials for Pots, Seedlings, Plants, and You

Magazine article Sunset

Garden Cottage: Build a Shed of Recycled Materials for Pots, Seedlings, Plants, and You

Article excerpt

GARDEN SHED or greenhouse? The structure pictured at right, a charming focal point in a backyard in Exeter, California, is both. But owner Connie Featherston prefers to call it her garden playhouse. "I had to put a clock in there because I have so much fun, I literally lose track of time," she says.

Good times aside, the shed's genesis was also practical. "The real reason I decided to build it is because I used to grow all my seedlings in my kitchen window, and I got tired of cleaning potting soil out of the sink," Featherston says. The 8- by 10-foot greenhouse/shed hybrid, which sits on cement footings, fits her needs perfectly. She loves raising her seedlings here (heirloom flowers and vegetables are a particular favorite), and overwintering her orchids.

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Positioned so its door faces the back patio, the shed is also designed to let in plenty of daylight while minimizing prolonged exposure to direct sun during the Central Valley's very hot summers. Featherston oriented it slightly off a direct east-west axis and kept its most westerly wall solid. Prefab siding covers the wood frame; asphalt tiles cloak the roof. ("A glass roof was out of the question in this climate," Featherston says.) The windows and door are all recycled; Featherston nabbed them from the main house, where she'd just had them removed to make way for new ones. "The old windows are perfect for the shed," she says. "I told my carpenter friend who did most of the building, 'All windows have to open. I want as much ventilation as possible.' That's good for me and the plants."

What makes it work

Inside the shed, portable shelving and storage containers of moisture-resistant galvanized metal or stainless steel--wide enough to hold pots and flats of seedlings--are placed near windows. …

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