The Potting Shed


Thank you for your interest in my potting shed.  I hope you find the information here helpful — and, as always, happy gardening!

Potting Shed

The Location:

Using the parameters set out by our local municipality, we placed the shed in a corner of the backyard, a corner that had full access to southern exposure — an essential element during the winter months when young seedlings need light.

View 1

Potting Shed View 2

The Floor Plan:

The shed roughly measures 10’ x 10’.  As you open the door, you are standing in the shed area, where there is room for the lawn mower and an assortment of yard tools hanging on the walls.  Above this area is the loft, where we store pool supplies and terra cotta pots over the winter.

The shed side.

The shed side.

To the left is the potting area.  This area is partly under a covered roof (the north side) and glass (the south side).  In this area, you will find my potting bench and shelves filled with plastic pots and trays for seed starting.

The potting side.

The potting side.

This area is also where the front of the shed bumps out, an area that is completely under glass.  A piece of white lattice acts as a low table for holding flats of seedlings.  Beneath this lattice is a bed of rocks, which helps with drainage after watering the new plants.

This is the seed starting area.  Beginning in February, heat mats are placed on the lattice so seeds can receive bottom heat.  Beneath the lattice is a floor of rocks and stones for drainage purposes.

This is the seed starting area. Beginning in February, heat mats are placed on the lattice so seeds can receive bottom heat. Beneath the lattice is a floor of rocks and stones for drainage purposes.

The Foundation:

The foundation has a poured concrete fitting and two courses of 8” x 16” cement blocks.  The floor is simple cement patio blocks, which were recycled from our old patio.  The bumped out area in the front is four courses high of cement blocks, which were then covered with decorative fieldstone.

Potting Shed

The Construction:

It’s all-wood construction, using 2” x 4”, 2” x 6”, and 2” x 8” lumber.  The exterior walls, roof, and loft floor are constructed of plywood sheets.  The roof is covered with decorative shingles and then topped with a cupola.

There are many materials for the actual greenhouse area, such as Plexiglass and Lexan, both of which can help diffuse sunlight.  We chose shatterproof glass, purchased from a local glazier, for aesthetic reasons.  The tracks that hold the glass were purchased through a greenhouse supply catalog (see resources).

The interior was painted white to help reflect sunlight.

Front Elevation

Potting Shed

Potting Shed East Elevation

Potting Shed North Elevation

Potting Shed

Potting Shed West Elevation

Potting Shed

Potting Shed Loft Floor Plan

Potting Shed Loft

The rafters that support the loft floor.

The rafters that support the loft floor.

Additional Photos:

Potting Shed

Potting Shed

The area under the lattice table is also ideal for storage.

The area under the lattice table is also ideal for storage.

Electricity:

This was essential since there are so many items in the shed that require power.  The heat mats (since seeds require bottom heat before they require sunlight), the space heater (necessary for cold winter nights), lighting (for evening visits to check on the little ones), and the radio (for music).  While we wired the shed, we also had some outlets added to the shed’s exterior for electric yard tools.

Water:

We chose not to have running water in the shed, mostly because it required having a pipe travel a distance from the house to the shed — and in an area where the ground freezes, it just didn’t make sense.  Besides, carrying jugs of water is a nice workout.

Humidity:

Humidity has always been the biggest issue for me.  Although there are electric humidifiers available, I decided to make good use of what I had.  I have found that a tray of water on the heat mats, as well as spilled water on the cement block floor, can create enough humidity — maybe not optimal, but enough.

Ventilation:

There are electric vents that can open automatically, but I chose the manual kind.  No reason — it was easier.

Seed Starting 6

Preparing For Planting:

I usually start seeds in February, which is based on the last frost date in my Zone (6).  Before I start any seeds, I have to help the shed retain heat.  To do this, I hang plastic sheets to separate the shed side from the potting side.  In addition, a plastic sheet is hung to create a false ceiling so that heat does not escape through the loft area.

Essential Tools:

Some items, I have learned, are essential for successful seed starting in the shed.

  • A thermometer to help measure both maximum and minimum temperatures, as well as humidity.
  • Heat mats to provide heat for newly planted seeds.
  • A thermostat/timer for the heat mats to help regulate the bottom heat.
  • A timer for the space heater to help regulate heat.

Additional Resources:

FarmTek

Gardeners’ Supply Company

Greenhouse Stuff

Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion by Shane Smith

Greenhouses for Homeowners and Gardeners by John W. Bartok. Jr.

65 thoughts on “The Potting Shed

  1. Pingback: The House That Joe Built | Nitty Gritty Dirt Man

  2. I want one of these!! Fab shed and blog , informative and entertaining . I have been looking everywhere for an aesthetically working shed /greenhouse combination and my search has taken me across the pond to an exceptional blog . ….and shed envy !

  3. Pingback: It’s Spring … Lets Celebrate in the Garden

    • Hi Fred. I purchased the glass from a local glazier. In fact, he suggested glass that would simply shatter into small pieces should a branch hit it. The total cost — and this is going back more than a few years — was approximately $4,000. To keep costs down, we did the labor ourselves. I also opted to not have running water, thinking that I could carry in whatever water I needed. It was more important, for me, to have electricity for lighting and heat. Hope this helps — and best of luck with it.

  4. Wonderful shed! I also pinned your idea. I think the greenhouse side would make a great little atrium for a tiny house!

    • Hi Nan. I am so glad you liked the shed. The greenhouse side is my favorite place to be in the winter — it’s very therapeutic to plant seeds on that side while snow is falling on the other side of the glass. Thanks for commenting! Be well.

  5. So kind of you to share this information. I want to move into one now! Can’t wait to show my husband this awesome structure, I am visualising his hands over his head whilst writing this comment, he he!!

  6. Pingback: Amazing Potting Shed Inspirations - flagsonastickblog.com

  7. Love your potting shed and the photos and the plans, looks like something I will have to show my husband…the area we live in is perfect for a building like this…thanks so much for sharing, I am bookmarking your blog and will be back to read more.

  8. Hi Kevin,
    I happened onto your site after someone pinned one of my inspirational greenhouse pins! I went to her board and found your well designed greenhouse/shed! I’ve been collecting photos and info for about a year and a half and am about ready to begin prepping the site.
    I haven’t completely decided whether to use a kit or follow your lead. I will certainly check out your resources. Your iguana stories are hilarious, yet frustrating. I feel your pain… We have Texas squirrels, bunnies, deer, raccoons and the like? I too find it hard to give up on struggling plants. I have become known as the plant rescuer in my hood. 😳
    We moved to our property fall of 2013 and have had our list of projects and now the greenhouse has made it to the top! I thank your partner for taking your plan from napkin to full fledged plans, all for the want of us pinners out there.
    Visit me in blog land if you like, http:organizethings.blogspot.com
    I don’t post real often, just when I have time or the mood strikes. I think we have a lot in common.
    Hugs, Shirley

    • Hi Shirley. Thanks for stopping by. Best of luck with the potting shed, no matter which style you use. Like I’ve always said, mine worked for me — and my partner designed it so that it matched the house. I’ll be sure to drop by your site to check things out. 🙂 Be well!

  9. Pingback: Cabin envy: garden shed | seafieldview

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  11. Pingback: How I would Deck Out a She-Shed |

    • Hi Adrian. When you say “barcaps,” I assume you mean the tracks that held the glass panes. Each strip measures 2″ across. Hope this helps with your project.

  12. Kevin,
    Love your Garden Shed and I’m hoping to build my own version.
    I’m trying to locate the tracks you used to hold the glass in place. Did you order the 2″ tracks from Farmtek? I had emailed them to see if the standard box tracks that I found on their web site could be used for glass and they stated that they could not so I’m wondering if I have the wrong supplier. I live in Central Texas so it would be great if I could find the tracks more locally to save on shipping cost but I’m not certain what exactly you used.

    • Hi Beth. I’m glad I could help. When I started this blog, my plan was to create something that I would enjoy — a kind-of magazine where I could write and edit and take photos, and where others could be entertained, laugh and — maybe — learn. So many people are intimidated by gardening, but I think it’s one of those things — no matter the scale — that can bring peace and patience to a person’s life. Have fun building!

    • Hello. Thanks for your interest in the shed. Unfortunately, I do not have a list of materials in terms of how much of each item was purchased. It was plywood and studs, nails, screws, glass, tracks, faux stone for the outside base, some wood shingles around the door, vinyl siding on the other three sides to match the house, and roof shingles. I think if you know the size of the shed you’d like, you can make your measurements and come up with an amount of items, or speak to someone at a lumber store who may be able to guide you. Hope this helps a bit. Be well!

  13. Started the shed 2 weeks ago. All wood floor and foundation on blocks. It’s the getting the roof done right that I am thinking about now… Any hints… Thanks from rainy Victoria BC Canada…

    • Hi Dave. Good work on the shed. It sounds like it will be lovely. I’m not sure what hints I can offer, but make sure that it’s water-tight. My shed roof is simply 3/4″ plywood covered in tar paper and then covered in regular home architectural roofing shingles. Hope this helps.

  14. amazing shed. who’d have thought a shed would make me so excited! It’s exactly what I want: a shed that fits a lawnmower, garden implements, doubles as a potting shed AND looks amazing to replace the now rotten but pretty play house. Thank you for the inspiration. all I need now is someone to do it for me

  15. Any idea where you got the Potting shed sign?

    We have the same sign that is long faded and love it but can no longer find it.

  16. Pingback: The Most Charming Potting Sheds, Greenhouses & Garden Escapes – Le Sud Sucré

  17. Hi there! Found your greenhouse/shed on Pinterest and it’s AWESOME. Wondering if you made the door or bought it? (And if you made it, any info about how would be helpful). Thanks for the great info and pics!

    • Hi Alana. So glad you like the greenhouse. I — nor my partner, Joe — can’t take credit for building the door. It’s a Dutch door, and it was a special order from our local lumberyard.

  18. Pingback: Women Are Creating She-Sheds, A Female Alternative To Man Caves (55 Pics) | Home Design

  19. Hi Kevin your shed + Greenhouse is the inspiration of my long held dream of a Potager in France.

    I now have my house and an going to build my ‘serre/emboitement’ Bedding Greenhouse this summer.

    I have a spare log burner boiler and so am going to add it to my design with under floor coils under the seedling areas.

    I do not have to comply to many regs as just as long as it is wood built I can go quite large.

    So I am adding a second side to the left like your one on the right.

    Thank you for all the great ideas which i will put into practice

    Cheers Peter

  20. Hi,
    I’m absolutely love this shed! I’m trying to build one as an art shed for me. All up, how much did it cost for the materials and construction of it?

    Thanks

    • Hi Charlotte. At the time when we built it, which was about more than a decade ago, I believe it cost about $7,000. We did the labor ourselves, so that helped to keep the cost somewhat down. I’m so glad you were inspired!

  21. I love this potting shed!!!! We have a brick building in our garden with a roof the same and I am in the process of turning it into my potting shed. We live in an old Victorian house and the look that you have created is exactly the look I’m hoping for with mine – it’s beautiful 🌻🌻.

    • Hi Jo. So glad you love the shed. Please, use the plans and make the design work for you. For me, I loved the look and the practicality of it — storage and seed starting. 🙂

      • Hi Kevin thank you for replying and saying we can use your plans – that’s great! Yes everything about your design works so well and will give me exactly what I’m looking for, thanks so much 🌻

      • My pleasure, Jo. When I decided to share that post with the plans, Joe and I felt it was more important to share than to worry about patents and copyrights. We just want people to enjoy gardening. 🙂

  22. Pingback: Ultimate She-Shed Inspiration - KreativK

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