No more excuses. If you’ve always wanted a small shed but thought you couldn’t swing it, think again. A trip to Lowe’s, a few handy tools and willing hands, and you can build a simple open potting shed in your backyard this weekend.


Unpainted open potting shed

All your reasons may be valid: the garden is too small, a shed costs too much to build, it would take too long to construct, it would block a view. But this shed design puts all those concerns to rest. And it’s easy to adapt to incorporate more or less of the individual touches you may want to include. Just large enough to hold your essential potting tools and provide a work space, the shed is open through the top to keep your views intact.


Potting Shed with surrounding planted flower beds

It is small, only 6 by 8 feet and 10 feet high, but packs plenty of storage and organization space while adding a bit of wit and whimsy. And it’s affordable. With a simple framework and minimal cladding, costs stay low. And the best part? It can be constructed by two people over a long weekend with a minimum of tools (power tools aren’t required but they do lighten the load).


Framed shed floor

Frame the floor.

Using deck screws, create a frame for the shed floor to establish the outer dimensions of the shed. We used a simple butt joint at each corner.


Creating straight floor joists

Insert floor joists and screw into place every two feet, ensuring that the joists are straight by checking for a 90-degree angle.


Digging the post holes

Prepare your site.

Give your potting shed a look of permanence by siting it near garden features and sizable trees or shrubs. Place the framed floor on the ground and finalize the orientation of the structure. Using an auger or posthole digger, dig 18-inch-deep holes for four corner posts inside the outer measurements of your shed.


Setting the shed posts

Set the first post.

Insert the post into the posthole. Use the frame to ensure you have the post placed correctly.


Staking the shed posts

Pound stakes into the ground at an angle toward the post on two sides, use a level to make sure the post is straight and drive screws into the post to maintain its placement. Pour concrete mix into the hole, adding a small amount of water and mixing as you do so.


Shed posts in place

Finish the outline.

Set the remaining posts the same way. Allow the posts to set overnight as the concrete cures.


Level the shed floor

Level the floor.

Before you remove the post stakes, attach the floor frame to the posts with deck screws. Use a level to make certain the floor is level on all sides, raising it if necessary before screwing it into place.


Framing the shed

Frame the structure.

Create a 3-foot wall at front and back with 2×4 studs screwed to the outside of the posts. Add 2×6 fascia boards around the outsides of the posts at eight feet from the floor.


Clad the shed front and back

Clad the 3-foot walls at front and back with cedar fence pickets. They’re an economical lumber option and they impart a wonderful fragrance. They also resist moisture and age to a soft gray if left unsealed.


Set middle posts

Set middle posts.

Determine how deep you want your worktable to be and set two posts (following the instructions above) on either side of the shed. Add 2×4 studs to the outside of posts on the sides to make 3-foot walls. Clad the sidewalls with pickets.


Frame the worktable

Frame the worktable.

Add framing studs on the backside of the middle posts, in the center of your worktable, and at the inside of the back posts. The top of the worktable can be made simply with a wood 1/x4 boards cut to size, with a large sheet of stain-grade plywood (our choice) or zinc-covered plywood.


Roof pediment made of cedar

Create the roof.

Create three triangular pediments for the roof. The angles will depend on how high you want your roof to be. Attach cedar fence pickets, cut to size, to the backs of the frames. If you prefer a more traditional roof truss system, check out this tutorial on how to build roof trusses here.


Decking the shed floor

Deck the floor.

Screw decking to the floor at each joist with deck screws.


Add the roof on the open potting shed

Add the roof.

Set the pediments atop the fascia boards and screw to posts, separating with a stud.

Screw plywood board to the studs. Cover the board with corrugated metal roofing panels.


Plantings around shed

Give it a foundation.

Plant dwarf shrubs, perennials and flowering annuals around the front and sides of the potting shed, leaving a pathway on either side.


Bordering the beds

Cover the new beds with a thick layer of mulch to inhibit weed growth and keep soil moist while plants get established. We used some leftover treated lumber, painted to match the shed, to make a border around our freshly planted front bed.


African American hand Painting the shed

Paint the potting shed in your chosen palette. We chose Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Provence. This stuff really covers well and is durable even in weather extremes (and we love the brushes, too!).


Finished shed with landscaping

We totaled up our budget and it came in for less than the cost of a medium-range BBQ grill:

Lumber $348
Concrete mix $8
Roofing $120
Hardware $52
Paint $ 105
Total cost: $633

And that left us some cash to play with for the furnishings and decoration of our potting shed. See what we came up with in our next post!

Thanks to our project sponsors: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®, DRAMM Corporation, and Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores.


© Caruth Studio

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