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{Garden Sheds} The Backyard

by | Apr 11, 2013 | Gardens & Outdoor Rooms

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{Garden Sheds} The Backyard

Garden Sheds

My backyard has no real landscaping or structure. No, that is not a photo of my backyard, unfortunately. But I wouldn’t be mad if it was, I dream of a gorgeous patio, shed and landscaping! One of the obvious drawbacks of a new house is usually a lack of landscaping to start out with. To make matters more challenging, our yard doesn’t have a great view either, unfortunately, and no trees to camouflage it. So, we are basically just out in the open, other than our six foot fence.

But, on our budget and short time frame to find a house, we realized we couldn’t have everything right away! And I like to come up with creative solutions (creative concealments, hahah) so I’m OK with the challenge and being patient.

We intentionally chose a house with a pretty small lot to make future maintenance and investment mangeable. We’ve lived in houses with large yards and mature landscaping that took several hundred dollars a month or more to maintain the shrubs and grass, and where every weekend and vacation was spent doing excessive amounts of yard work. That was crazy for people like us — I mean, I do like having a cute yard, but not bad enough to spend hours of my life trimming hedges.

{Garden Sheds} The Backyard

Small and manageable is more my style, so designing something I like and can manage for this stage of our life will suit me just fine. Many years back my house in Eastmoreland (Portland) had my favorite backyard, you might remember me showing it to you before (above).

It started out with the borders of a super cute jumbo picket fence, a charming garage which was really just a shed-like structure, and a beautiful tree. But other than that, it just had a boring patch of yucky grass in the middle. We added an adorable arbor, a paver patio to make the space functional and easy to maintain and then a planted a sweet garden area I LOVED with all my heart. It was so therapeutic and fun to work in that garden.

{Garden Sheds} The Backyard

So, back to this house, last year we put in a fence for Jack, which helped define our yard and made it feel much more private. It still isn’t all that great, but I can still see potential to be “better than it was.” Our landscaping is basically just dirt over rocks with a few weeks sticking out. And our budget is tiny. Challenges all around.

{Garden Sheds} The Backyard

We’ve done a few little things in the last couple of years, like set up our little back deck with a few trellises and vines from Lowe’s to begin to conceal the view from the deck.

{Garden Sheds} The Backyard

We also set up an “outdoor room” for a potting table and is next to an area I put a fire pit for summer nights— nothing too fancy but it is functional. Little by little, we plan to set up small areas that are functional in the summer time and easy to maintain all year. With a puppy running around the yard, we didn’t really want to do much more than that since he probably would have destroyed plants or dug up gardens.

{Garden Sheds} The Backyard

Mostly our yard has been for Jack to run around in like a maniac and burn off energy, but I do want to create more structure and garden areas for people, too.

I think little sheds are probably the cutest things ever in a yard (see the cute sheds, above and below!).  They really do help define the space, bring a focal point to the area, and also help with taking up yard space so you have less to work on! See how I think? Always trying to make less work for myself while making things cute. It is my mission in life.

{Garden Sheds} The Backyard


I doubt we’ll ever invest in a fancy shed like these, or plant extensive landscaping or install beautiful patios, but it’s fun to dream. Last year I dreamed a whole bunch of things and they all came true so I don’t doubt the value of big dreams!

And these sheds are actually giving me some ideas that might actually be doable — even on a small budget! Sometimes you just have to start with something, to get the creativity flowing!

{Garden Sheds} The Backyard

One of my blogging friends, Donna from Funky Junk Interiors, has an adorable backyard shed personalized with her own creative flair. I’m thinking with a little creativity I can figure out something cute for my backyard, too.

Any ideas for where to find cute but affordable sheds?

Are you starting to dream of spring projects in your backyard?

Stay tuned for a FUN WEEKEND GIVEAWAY!!!

related posts:

Charming Patio Spaces
Charming potting shelves
Pretty & Practical Backyard Sheds


    • Melissa

      That is amazing! Can’t believe it is the same yard, great job! Thanks for the link and all the tips. PS. Left a comment for you probably twice, had to sign in and couldn’t tell if it worked or not :-) so sorry for the double comment.

  1. Barbara (WA)

    I love your Eastmoreland back yard (and had not seen the photo before that I remember). Someday I want a smaller yard just like that. And thank you for mentioning dreams coming true! I fell apart this evening but my awesome hubby is on board with me in figuring out some solutions – yay!

    • Melissa

      Oh no! What are you falling apart about? Hopefully not your bathroom, I’m sure it is going to be wonderful! I’m glad you have an awesome hubby. I actually got a little flustered today too…I just felt a little overwhelmed by how much I have going on in the next couple of weeks. He was understanding and thought of solutions to help me. What would we do without awesome hubbies when we fall apart? :-)

  2. Kelly - Talk of the House

    I do remember the photo of your yard before, and I still love it! I also love that little storage shed with the stone base you have in your post today. Totally precious!! I’m afraid I have no source for cute inexpensive sheds, but they do really make a yard, don’t they? I am ready for our yard to get cleaned up and mowed…but taxes and a room to finish over the garage have gotten in line ahead of the it is storming again. But I am sure we will get to it very soon.

  3. Sophia

    Thoughts on cheap things: if you’re friends with local gardeners (or if you *make* friends with local gardeners :D ), everyone always seems to have plants that they’re dividing and want to get rid of half of, or plants that don’t fit their design scheme anymore. Plus, once you have friends, you can ask for cuttings or other small pieces to start plants you particularly like. Free plants = WIN! (Community = WIN, too.)

    With perennials, if you can stand the wait, you can also always browse the “on sale” plants at your local nursery or home improvement store. They’re usually badly pot-bound, lopsided, and/or past their blooming season for the year, but with forethought, experimentation, and some luck, they’re a great way to start building up a garden.

    (I suspect these tips are way too elementary for you, but that’s how I garden on a grad student budget.)

  4. Cynthia

    I love your small backyard and your comfy deck it is easy to manage. We have a huge yard and we did fancy gardens and it is too much to handle. We have sold our house recently and are downsizing and will have a smaller yard mainly for the dogs and minimal gardening. I am looking forward to not having so much to take care of anymore.


  5. Robyn

    I would follow Donna’s lead and build one from pallet wood. Checkout items for free on Craig’s list or free cycle,or low cost items from Habitats resale shop. your design will be driven by your finds which will be fun and you can blend it in with your home with paint! Another source for a shed could be your local high school vocational department if they have a carpentry department they often are looking for projects for students to do and you just pay for the materials.

  6. Mary

    I love your little potting bench. Is the shelf concrete? I’ve been trying to find something similar to yours. As talented as you are, I’m sure you’ll come up with some great ideas for your yard!

  7. Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm

    The Amish and Mennonites make lovely sheds, garages, chicken coops, etc. I bought a 12×24 garage, metal roof, 2 windows, 9 pane pedestrian door, roll up vehicle door, can handle 10K pounds, guaranteed for 5 years (stained treated siding) and delivered/installed for less than $5K. Their “playhouses”, sheds, coops, etc. are much less expensive. Oh, my garage has a loft for additional storage. You could search for similar in your area. When I move, I’ve already decided to purchase another similar building and will have it kitted out for a studio to contain my spinning wheels, looms, sewing machines, tables, etc.
    Should I move and build, I’ve been thinking about buying a larger building and fixing it up as a cottage for me while building a home and then will rent out for monthly or vacationers.
    Decisions, decisions.

  8. Carla

    Check out Costco for sheds.

    • Lee Ann

      I just got an email yesterday from Costco for online sales.. they had a super cute wooden shed on sale–not quite as adorable as those custom designed shed above, but WAY better than the plastic versions out there and only about 1,000 bucks. I’m pretty sure you had to construct some of the parts but hey, that’s probably why it’s pretty inexpensive!

  9. Elizabeth

    what is your bad view? is it other houses too close to yours or a street?
    looks so pretty back there-good job!

  10. Tania

    I love your deck and potted plant area you have so far and I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with for the rest of your yard. I’m with you about having a smaller yard, I’m house hunting and that’s one of the things I want is a small yard… I am so lame when it comes to landscaping ideas though so looking forward to what you’ll come up with :o)


  11. Sara Silver

    If your home is any reflection of what your yard will be than I’m sure you’ll be fine! Fine tuning our yard area was always really a challange because it takes a lot of time and energy to keep up…but now that the weather is getting warmer and the flowers are in bloom being out there doesn’t seem all that bad ;) Good luck…can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  12. Lisa

    I would have died having to leave that cute backyard you had.

  13. Brandy

    I am actually awaiting the okay from my HOA to relandscape the front yard. I just wrote a post about it and how I’m saving money doing it (hint: use your local nursery!). I wrote up where I’m getting flowers. that aren’t from the nursery as well. I’m planning to do all white flowers in the front. Here is the post:

    Here are my other sources for growing flowers for less:

  14. Elizabeth

    Your previous yard had some real character and I love how you have the potting area and the fun wicker chair in your new yard. Not everything has to be done overnight and your plan sounds affordable and manageable. Our hard ware stores sell kits for sheds that you can add character too but first we need to replace our garage door and garage side door.

  15. Diane

    This time of year used to be my absolutel most favorite. Dreaming and doing anything garden or yard related makes my heart sing. But, when you have no idea where you will be living in a month or 4 months and no funds…well that fun kinda takes the fun out. It’s all sorta deflating. But…I am not going to live in the doldrums. I will play with what I have and move on to things I can do.
    You’ll laugh…my husband always encouraged me to plant and make as many garden areas as my little heart desired. He said there’s less lawn to mow (he likes mowing….go figure). But…I did come to realize that a busy girl has trouble keeping up big gardens…so I will be wiser in future homes. :)
    I love your garden structure ideas. I’ve dreamt of those too. Though I do like Donna’s…I think the two above hers are my favorite for you. I hope your dreams come true!!

  16. Kerry

    Thanks for reminding me it’s about time to start thinking about the yard (the weather around here today is making me think it’s more like February!). Now you’ve got me plotting and planning. One of my very first blog posts last year was about outdoor rooms — a girl can dream!

  17. Charlotte Orth

    Hi, last summer my husband went looking for a falling down barn. He found one and bought enough wood to make me a garden shed with a little loft in it. We store garden tools and the wheelbarrow in it but he cut a hole in the back for wild critters including the neighborhood cats to sleep inside. The barn wood was very cheap. He put a tin roof on it which did cost some money and rigged a guttering system to feed a rain barrel, our third rain barrel. Our city water is way too expensive to use watering our plants. Good luck finding material.

  18. Melissa from the Blue House

    We just bought a new (old) house with a big boring patch of (overgrown) grass in the backyard. I’d LOVE to have some of this pretty stuff going on eventually….

  19. Mike

    You are right, it does take alot of work to maintain a yard. I chose to have a smaller yard as well, so it’s easier to manage and I don’t need to hire someone or spend my own time weeding and doing many other duties that a big yard demands. What’s nice is buying a house with an already nice yard, which is the route I went. Just watering the plants for now… minding my business. I will spice it all up, later, though. Great post Melissa!.

  20. Pam from

    Your space is charming so far, you are doing a wonderful job! I love the functional spaces you are adding, great ideas, thank you for sharing them.

  21. Shana/MontessoriNeverBoring

    I already love what you’ve done with the deck. Beautiful! Where did you get the green pillow with the white birds? I would love to add one like it to my guest bedroom.

  22. Julie

    I dream of a house with random cute outbuildings; they just ooze charm! Next on our list is a place for the lawn equipment and overflow of bikes and riding things for multiple kids – there isn’t any room in the garage anymore.

  23. Margot

    Melissa, you just keep dreaming and it will happen, especially for someone like you with vision. You are young (certainly younger than me), and you have a lifetime to achieve your backyard. I had a porch and a deck in my first house in DC, and it took another 20 years, and six houses before I got my second porch and deck. This time, I got a husband, a stepdaughter, a view, and three years later, a patio. Just remember, when it’s finished, you will be looking for the next project, so enjoy the projects along the way.

  24. Kayla

    Oh man…I am dreaming of a back yard like this as well. Fortunately we were blessed with some beautiful plants, everything was just extremely overgrown and never taken care of. It has been three years and we are still working on it.

    We have looked into building a shed and it is expensive to do that as well. I think either way you go a chunk change has to get thrown down for one of those. I did see a nice wood one in my Costco coupon book for $1000.

    Good luck!!!


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