Storage in a small garden
In a small garden, the ‘shed’ may boil down to a set of shelves, a row of hooks, a cupboard, a container... JENNIFER STACKHOUSE has ideas for tiny spaces
There’s nothing that makes me greener with garden envy than a neat, tidy shed. I am not sure why, but the smaller and neater the shed, the more envious I become. One of the best neat and tidy sheds I’ve seen recently was in a garden at Shearwater in Tasmania, which I visited with members of my local (Kentish) garden club.
I wasn’t the only one with severe shed envy. Everyone felt it when we rounded the back corner of the house and saw the small wooden shed tucked into the corner of the garden, with its door swung open to reveal shelves well stocked with gardening needs. The door was hooked open for easy access, but it could also be closed and locked away when not in use.
Owner Tony Dick made the shelving using a recycled pantry door. He is now retired but previously worked as a joiner, and salvaged the door when remodelling a kitchen. Tony says he knew he would one day find a use for the pantry door, which was made from celery top pine, a native Tasmanian timber.
To transform this into a storage rack for his shed, he simply screwed the old pantry door, with its wooden racks, to the inside of the existing shed door. It is fitted with hinges that allow it to swing right back against the wall, where a latch holds it open. Inside Tony’s shed is also well organised, with a bench, potting mix stored underneath, and extra shelves and hooks for garden tools. A window allows lots of light into the space. A well-organised shed isn’t meant to just impress visitors, it also makes gardening easier and more effective. Time that is wasted searching for secateurs or the trowel is time when you could be out there gardening.
Don’t despair if your small garden, courtyard or balcony doesn’t have space for a traditional shed. Garden storage can be compact enough to fit in a small space but still fit a lot in. Cupboards, benches and walls can all double as storage space.
Exterior cupboards made from durable materials such as marine-grade plywood can serve as a compact shed, with space for long-handled tools. Mount the cupboard on the wall to save even more space.
Benches make great sense where space is limited. Fitted with under-seat storage, a bench can house long-handled tools as well as smaller items, fertilisers and bagged goods. Shut the lid and you also have somewhere to sit.
If space is really limited, it’s possible to have small hand tools accessible by hanging them on a tool rack mounted on an exterior wall. Select a spot that’s sheltered from the elements and out of reach of children.
STORAGE SYSTEMS & TIPS
Where space is tight, buy tools that are easy to store, such as hand mowers or tools with collapsible or detachable handles. There are even some fold-up wheelbarrows available.
Aim to keep the floor of a small shed clear by hanging up as much as possible, using the wall space. Storage specialists offer options for the safe storage of garden tools, including utility tracks to mount inside the shed, with hooks to hang spades, forks, rakes and other tools with long, straight handles, along with ladders. There are even hooks available to wall-mount your trusty wheelbarrow. Use pegboards for small tools such as secateurs and trowels, and shelves or racks for the bulky items.
If off-the-shelf systems aren’t for you, there are many ways to repurpose items and create homemade storage solutions. Turn the page for great ideas to help you organise your gardening supplies.
FROM MAIN A metal cabinet and repurposed kitchen table do the job in a rooftop garden; gardening products are neat and accessible in shelves that were made from an old pantry door.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Hose brackets are essential in small spaces; a wall-mounted pallet holds long-handled tools; under-deck storage with vertical greenery; use wall space for pots, tools and produce; this shed-cum-potting area takes up very little space; a hook for every tool.