Organized Garden Shed

– Posted in: New House, New Gardens, Tools and Equipment

Garden Shed: Before

Garden tool shed-before

Before, there was NO organization. Everything was thrown in willy-nilly.

To refresh your memory, a while back I asked for suggestions on how to organize the garden shed at my new home. I appreciated all your comments, especially the ones suggesting that I could start out inexpensively by buying a box of nails and hammering in hangers for all the tools, and then upgrading as money and inspiration permitted. But after taking a good hard look at everything I wanted to store in that 10ft x 20ft shed,
Contents of garden shed

Garden stuff on the right, kids' stuff on the left, wheelbarrows off-center, and a path down the middle to the house.

I realized that would mean the entire inside perimeter would have to be lined with tools, and those in the back would be virtually inaccessible. Also, it wouldn’t be easy to figure out where to put a tool back, especially if you don’t have a good visual memory. So I decided to invest in these heavy-duty tool racks that were intended to hold several gardening tools at a time. The 20-inch long-handled tool rack can hold seven shovels. The extra-wide tool rack holds two mattocks and a pick. I hung six D-handled tools on the single-spoke tool rack, and fit five miscellaneous tools on the 12-inch standard tool rack (but just barely).
Emptied and swept shed

The tool racks are visible in the emptied and swept shed.

I used 20d 4″ nails to hang up most of the rest of the tools.

I also bought a Two Layer Steel Tool Rack. I originally thought I would use it to hang up my most-used garden tools, like my big garden fork and my border-sized shovel. If I had looked closely, I would have realized that was impossible. Two hooks are required to hang a large tool. Because of the way the second row of hooks is offset from the first row, long tool handles bang into the bottom row of hooks. I decided to use it to hang the child-sized tools on the bottom row, and some of the most-used hand tools on the top row. I haven’t hung this up yet, because it didn’t come with its own screws, so I have to scare some up.

Turning A Structural Defect Into An Asset

Organized shed before wheelbarrows wheeled in

Everything has been put back in, except for the wheelbarrows and garden cart. The cable screwed into the floor has become glove storage.

By now I’m sure you have noticed the structural cabling (for lack of a better term) that stretches from the wall to the floor. (You can see it most clearly in the “before” photo.) My first concern was that it would be a tripping hazard. My second concern was that it made the space below it unusable. I think I alleviated both concerns satisfactorily. By attaching a clothesline to the cabling and hanging gloves from it, I made it much more visible. The various buckets and other containers, used for everything from collecting rocks to dividing perennials, are stored directly under the cabling. They are about the only thing that fits under there while still being easily accessible.

Other Things To Consider

If you don’t have a lot of one kind of tool, you might not find these heavy duty tool racks quite as handy. If you get one, and plan to hang a shovel, a hoe, a rake, and a fork on it, you can be sure that the tool you want to use is the one all the way at the back, and you will have to remove the other three before you can get it. If you do want to use one of these racks, be sure you can screw it into a stud. You can’t turn it ninety degrees and screw it into a stringer, and you can’t just screw it into drywall. (I apologize to the 99% of my readers for whom I am stating the obvious.) Also, you don’t want to install any of these tool racks too close to the entrance. The 20-inch tool rack, in particular, can become a safety hazard of its own, especially when empty of tools. If it is forehead height, it will be out of one’s line of sight, ready to be walked into.

For my situation, I feel like I could have stood one more of the standard tool racks. I have the leaf rakes hanging up with two nails, and three rakes is one rake too many. You can see one has fallen out and is leaning on the shovels. Of course, I could just hammer another pair of nails in somewhere, but my OCD little self likes to have every tool of one type hanging together. For the most part, this desire has been satisfied, and I am rather pleased with how the project turned out. How about you?

Garden Shed: After

Organized tool shed with wheelbarrows in

Even after three wheelbarrows and a garden cart are wheeled in, there is still room to access everything along the walls.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Rose Merritt August 22, 2012, 5:26 am

Wow, now that is some shed clearing and organising! Great to see some pictures of before and after too. This is something on my long list of to-dos too.

Thanks for the post.

commonweeder April 17, 2012, 8:58 am

That shed is just beautiful – and so well organized. My ‘new’ shed is about half the size. There is enough room on the north wall for tools to hang, but the potting shelf and area got filled up immediately. I wish I had a little OCD.

Alistair April 15, 2012, 10:01 am

Oh my, your first picture reminds me of my garage, ah well you have given me a few ideas.

Annie in Austin April 14, 2012, 12:15 am

Your shed looks great Kathy – it seems quite large and with a lot of headroom. I’m impressed not only by the organization but by the number of shovels!

What’s also interesting to me are the differences in what we each keep inside our garden sheds and outside. We both have tools but my wheelbarrow & cart stay outside while a work table is inside. I don’t care if the plastic cart gets wet but need container gardening and hypertufa supplies like potting soil, compost, granite, sand, perlite and peat moss to be inside and dry.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Kathy Purdy April 14, 2012, 8:36 am

At our old house, we did NOT have a shed and had to keep our wheelbarrows, etc outdoors all the time. They did NOT last long exposed to the elements. Perhaps you can see on the right wall of the shed I have placed a kitchen cabinet. I haven’t stuck the drawers in it yet, but that will be my potting area.

Claudia April 13, 2012, 9:50 am

Not Fair!! You are so organized – and I now have another chore on my to do list! Great job – what are you doing next week? Enjoy your weekend. c

gail April 12, 2012, 8:01 am

Kathy, That’s a fantastic job of organizing!

Frances April 12, 2012, 7:45 am

That is a large shed, Kathy, and looks very well organized! The glove solution to the cable problem is brilliant.

Flâneur Gardener April 12, 2012, 12:22 am

Is shed-envy an officially recognised diagnosis, I wonder? I definitely suffer from it…

Melissa April 11, 2012, 9:58 pm

Wow that’s a good size for a shed! When you’re done at Helen’s, you can come to my place.

Naturestroller April 11, 2012, 9:37 pm

Great use of your area. The recycled cabinet would be a must have for me. Seems there are always odds and ends that need an away spot.

Kathy Purdy April 11, 2012, 10:26 pm

Good eye for spotting the cabinet. Yes, that is a repurposed kitchen cabinet. I may write a separate post about that.

Helen at Toronto Gardens April 11, 2012, 9:35 pm

Good for you, Kathy. Now you are most welcome to come up here and get me organized. P.S. Bring shed.

Carol April 11, 2012, 8:07 pm

Looks great. Every job goes better when you can find the tools you need for it.