The Beautiful, Functional Garden Shed of My Dreams

For potting plants, storing tools, taking Zoom calls—or just escaping.

May 31, 2022
Photo by Ebbe Roe

Like most people during the pandemic, I desperately wanted to carve out a quiet space for myself. After a long day of slinging snacks and sandwiches between my children’s virtual school lessons, I needed, even if briefly, somewhere to go. The rub was that our two-bedroom bungalow was already maxed out with my husband working from a small office off our primary bedroom and two children taking Zoom calls from desks spread between the dining room and kitchen.

Then, a dilapidated metal shed jammed in the corner of our backyard suddenly inspired hope.

The origins of said metal shed are unknown—it was there when we bought our home—but we had happily crammed outdoor toys, sports equipment, and garden tools within its rusted, corrugated metal walls (my husband occasionally applying a Polyurethane insulating foam to keep the structure from collapsing). We had known for a while that it was time to say goodbye to it, but didn’t have the bandwidth to order a shed that required assembling.

My ideal shed was a functional and inviting gardening studio to display tools, pots, and harvest baskets. We also have an extensive herb, cut floral, and edible garden, plus six chickens and two rabbits, so I wanted a space that allowed me to coddle seedlings out of their reach. I envisioned storage and work surfaces for potting plants, sketching garden plans, writing plant markers, drying herbs and flowers, and hanging my work overalls at the end of the day. Luckily, my late-night, Netflix-adjacent research finally led me to a TuffShed showroom 45 minutes from my home in the Bay Area.

I knew TuffSheds were well-built, but I wanted to see the materials and construction in person before I committed. You can also design your own shed through their site, and get a quote on the spot. What I wasn’t expecting was the level of customization that would allow me to choose a specific size tailored to my yard. What’s more, I could customize further by adding a window and skylight (perfect for those seeds). Admittedly though, I was sold when the salesperson showed me the built-in workbench, shelves, and floor-to-ceiling pegboard. Plus, the company delivers, assembles, and paints, which meant that my 6 foot by 10 foot shed was functional the very day it was installed.

By this point, I had pinned and saved more images of mudrooms and garden sheds than I’d like to admit, so I decided to incorporate some of those ideas to warm it up. I painted the shelves, floor and workbench. I purchased a linen gingham fabric for the curtains and made a skirt from this green striped cotton fabric to disguise the storage tucked beneath the workbench. I filled the walls with hooks in two sizes to store harvest baskets, tools, twine, scissors, work gloves, lanterns, flashlights, and garden tools. I even added some garden-inspired artwork, like this vintage-style floral and insect print and its companion fruit and vegetable print from Roomytown. I added an old bench and hauled a chippy armoire from my bedroom for a cottagecore vibe.

While this isn’t a space I initially envisioned transforming into an office (I’ve discovered I’m perfectly comfortable working from my dining room table), I love knowing that I can easily check emails and take Zoom calls from my workbench. The skylight provides an abundance of natural light during the day, and if I pop in at night, I just flick on the lantern that hangs by the door. (There are plans to have an electrician add power in the future.)

Since I love to work in the garden, my cute little shed has admittedly proved therapeutic. The ability to display my garden tools beautifully has made gardening even more enjoyable, especially since I have to cram in weeding, pruning, and harvesting after work and between swim practices, and soccer and baseball games on weekends. Plus, I love knowing that we invested in something that will last for years to come.

Here’s how I went about outfitting my dream garden shed.

Photo by Ebbe Roe

1. Barebones Garden Scissors, $26-28

I love a good pair of garden shears, but these multi-purpose garden scissors made from heat-treated stainless steel are seamless for deadheading roses, snipping herbs, and even smaller branches. Plus, bonus points because they're easy to hang and grab off my pegboard.

2. Bridgman Pottery Modern Ironstone Cachepot, from $38

I love vintage pottery, so when I was scrolling Instagram one day, this pot stopped me in my tracks. I assumed it was vintage (aka, not for sale), but they’re not and I now have them in multiple sizes. Their hand-shaped scalloped design is the perfect complement for planting clovers, germaniums, and daisies.

Photo by Ebbe Roe

3. Lee Valley Hand Rake, $46.50

If you have raised beds, or prefer to minimize space between plants, trees and shrubs, this hand rake makes it easy to scoop up fallen leaves in otherwise hard-to-reach places.

4. Flower Pot Brush, $20

Obviously practical, but also beautiful, this flower brush has thick bristles that chip away at dirt and moss trapped in old pots. The wood handle and thick bristle make it incredibly sturdy and hardworking, too.

5. Flower Bucket, $8.99

My garden isn’t quite there yet, but this summer, I’m longing for some long-stemmed blooms and branches that I can snip away in abundance. This metal flower bucket is the perfect place to store them for future bouquets.

6. Outdoor Stacking Containers, from $32

The space beneath my workbench is super deep, and therefore ideal for storage. I love these stacking containers for their neutral palettes, beautiful fluting, and variety of sizes.

Photo by Ebbe Roe

7. Amish Harvest Basket, $68.95

Since we’re constantly harvesting, I love a basket that looks good in my shed or kitchen counter. It has to be sturdy, too, because I’m always tossing tools inside. Garden or not, this simple handcrafted basket is a must-have.

8. Behrens Galvanized Steel Garbage Can, $32.99

Also tucked beneath my workbench is a small steel garbage can with potting soil. I usually pick up old digging scoops at the flea market, but you can buy them new, too.

9. June Home Supply Twine Stand, $28

I’m not sure when my fixation on twine started, but I simply can’t have enough for herb bouquets and for tying delicate beans to a trellis. This twine stand has a built-in cutter and is completely worthy of adding to cart.

Photo by Ebbe Roe

10. Children’s Hand Broom, $12

Being a potting bench, my workbench always has a regular dusting of potting soil, seed, and the like. I keep this small hand broom on my pegboard for quick, easy clean-ups. (You can also DIY your own bench broom.)

11. Woven Garden Caddy, $24.99

I love a container that does double-duty. This cute woven caddy is the perfect party accessory, but otherwise hangs out on my shelf, filled with wooden plant markers, pens, twine, tools, and more.

12. Beats Pill Portable Speaker, $165

To lure my kids out to pull weeds or help clean up the shed, I turn on the music. These speakers are easy to carry around the house, and take outside, and look good wherever they land. Plus, my kids love to crank them up, loud.

13. Farmhouse Pottery Handmade Ceramic Vintage-Style Crocks, from $24

Despite a wealth of wall storage, I needed some countertop storage, too. I love utilizing old pots and crocks for these purposes, which also add warmth and texture. These classic crocks are new but come in a variety of sizes, and are handmade in Vermont.

14. Canvas Wall Organizer from The Floral Society, $152

Clearly, I love having everything at arm’s reach. If I didn’t have a plethora of pegboard, I’d definitely scooped up one of these wall organizers. They also carry fantastic utility totes, pouches and aprons.

What does your dream garden shed entail? Let us know in the comments!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

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Chantal Lamers

Written by: Chantal Lamers

Chantal Lamers is a home and lifestyle writer.


Erika K. June 6, 2022
How cute is this! Garden sheds should be appealing enough to be a proud element of the landscape. I wrote a couple of books about she sheds and note the myriad ways you can add color and charm to the functional nature of backyard accessory buildings. My little reading shed is only 6 x 6 but it makes our whole backyard look better.
Smaug May 31, 2022
I'm mostly interested in how polyurethane insulating foam would keep a metal shed from collapsing.
tradess2013 May 31, 2022
I love the red table. Where would it be available?
Colleen June 6, 2022
It's on Amazon: Flash Furniture Commercial Grade 28" Square Coral Indoor-Outdoor Steel Folding Patio Table