How to upcycle and organise the shed
I’ve been meaning to organise the shed for years.
It was cold, messy and full of clutter, with nowhere to put anything. So seeds and tools started to spread around the house.
I decided to ask a young artist, William Ford, to use his creativity and ingenuity. William has recently graduated from Bath and I’d been impressed by an exhibition he’d put on here in Faversham with some fellow artists. He’s good at making and recycling. So I hoped he’d be able to reuse and upcycle some of the stuff we have lying around, rather than buying new.
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Upcycle and organise the shed – the brief
I explained that I wanted to be able to keep seeds and fertilisers in the shed. At the moment, it gets either very hot or very cold. Extremes of temperature aren’t good for seeds.
It was also important to improve the storage. I had a few shelves and some hooks, but it was all pretty chaotic.
And, finally, I wanted somewhere to shoot garden videos for the Middlesized Garden YouTube channel.
The big window in the potting shed gives a good light. So if we could organise the shed properly, it would be much easier than chasing around the house, constantly having to move the furniture.
And to be absolutely honest, I was rather envious of the allotmenteer YouTubers, who broadcast their videos from charming sheds. These are painted in soft colours, such as duck egg blue (Agents of Field) and hung with bunting and vintage wallpapers (Homegrown.garden and Lavender & Leeks). They brew up tea on camping stoves with old-fashioned kettles that whistle.
It’s all wonderfully atmospheric. But it wouldn’t make sense in a middle-sized garden shed, which usually has a well-equipped kitchen, complete with electric kettle, just a few steps away.
So we felt our potting shed makeover would need a different approach.
Artifical turf on the walls
William says that, at first, he wanted to think up lots of clever ideas. But he decided that when you organise the shed, simplicity has to be the key principle. The shed has to work.
So he had one big decorative idea, which was to use artificial turf on the walls.
The rest of the shed makeover was about creating simple, effective storage for big and small items.
Think about the background for photographs or filming
I wanted to make sure that the artificial turf would be a good background for filming. The colour behind you makes a big difference to skin tone in a video – it can be the difference between looking like a healthy, normal human being or a grim and terrifying ghost.
And if you’re going to be doing photography or Instagram in your shed, then the background and the light will be important.
By coincidence I was going to a WordPress workshop at Dragon Co-working in Chatham (excellent, do go if you are local). Dragon Co-working has artificial turf on its floor, so when no-one was looking, I was able to lie on the floor and sneak a selfie.
I also asked William to paint the shed ceiling white, in order to reflect the light better.
Insulating a standard potting shed
He also insulated a drawer for me, to give seeds a bit of extra insulation.
Because of the size of the potting shed window, and because there is a slight gap below the roof of the potting shed, it will never be fully insulated but it’s definitely less extreme now.
Fixing artificial turf to walls
Artificial turf is quite heavy, so William used three methods to fix it to the walls. Firstly he used double-sided carpet tape all around the edges of each panel of the insulating foil.
Then he used a glue gun, going from left to right and back again, all over the insulation material.
Once the artificial turf was fixed with the glue and carpet tape, he then nailed it to the shed walls to make sure it stays in place.
You can see how he did it in this video below, as well as more footage on how terrible the shed looked at the beginning!
Minimise the budget by recycling what you already have
We wanted to re-use and adapt as much as we could. In the end, the only new materials that William bought were the insulation, the artificial turf, some very short lengths of copper piping and some new S hooks.
He found some concrete breeze blocks in the basement, and acquired some old scaffolding boards. As my main expense was William’s time, I didn’t want him to build shelves. He made shelves by simply putting boards on top of breeze blocks. It’s quick and also flexible – if we need to change the storage we can.
He also found a couple of old wire basket drawers we had bought years ago, probably from IKEA. I haven’t been able to find anything similar online, so perhaps they aren’t made any more. But any chests or drawers that you don’t use would work as well.
Organise the shed with hanging storage
Hanging tools on hooks makes them easy to get at and also to put away. William found an iron grid that had been part of a safety cover for a pond.
You need to hang it slightly away from the wall, so that you can get hooks on. William had very short lengths of copper pipe cut, and covered them with
We’ve just opened our garden for Faversham Open Gardens and Garden Market Day, so we’ve been doing alot of last minute gardening. A friend has been helping me weed, but it’s all been so much easier because everything in the potting shed is easy to see, easy to find, and easy to put away.
See it in video
For a closer-up view of how William organised the shed, see this video. It’s also got how to attach the insulation and the artificial turf.
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