Create a focal point in your garden with a simple garden shed makeover using old windows, window baskets, and succulents – in less than an hour!
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I super excited to show how to give a basic garden shed a quick makeover using upcycled windows and baskets. We’re talking basic, boring shed given a few minutes attention that turns it into something cute and cottagey.
And by quick makeover, I mean 30 – 40 minutes with both Brian and I working on it (and I was stopping to take pictures) – that’s pretty quick, right? And it’s totally one of those things that we were like, “why didn’t we do this earlier, it looks so great!” Since we see the shed from most of our windows looking in the backyard, it really has made our view more interesting and pretty – we were actually surprised at what a difference it makes!
And the best part? It’s so easy anyone can do this to an outbuilding – even those who aren’t “into” DIY projects!
Garden Shed Before
Ours is a basic garden shed, nothing fancy. Over the years we’ve painted it, but that’s it. It’s a real working garden shed holding all our tools, wheelbarrow, push mower and the stacks of newspaper we collect for our yearly papering-and-mulching.
It’s not terrible to look at, but I’ve always thought with just a few additions it could be cuter since it’s already a focal point in our yard, seen from just about everywhere.
I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me sooner, but all of a sudden I saw these vintage windows in the garage that had been given to us years ago and knew they’d look great on each side of the garden shed doors.
Then I remembered the coir-lined baskets that have been hanging in the the garden shed since we moved to our current house (almost 12 years, a-hem) and realized they were perfectly sized for the narrow windows.
While we had these items already, it’s not hard to find old windows through garage sales, Craigslist, building recycling stores like Habitat Re-Stores, or even friends and family if they know you’re looking for them. Don’t be afraid to put the word out!
As for the coir-lined baskets, I’m pretty sure I found these at JoAnn’s one spring and I KNOW they weren’t as much as these, but this is all I could find to link to for your information: this bigger version (24-inch) at Amazon and this same 14-inch size at Target.
For the baskets, I decided to make them easy care sedum baskets. So easy care, in fact, that I used some fake succulents (shhhh…), along with hard-to-kill hens-and-chicks from our garden.
Indoors I have found most faux succulents to be so realistic that no one can tell they are fake – even when they’re next to the few that I didn’t kill (cough…). Since the shed is far from any other planters I regularly water, I didn’t want to have to be worried about them, and this seemed to be the best solution. Feel free to go all real if you want (but please, please don’t put fake flowers in these baskets – everyone can always tell they’re fake, I promise).
To plant baskets like these, you’ll need:
- regular potting soil (one formulated for succulents if you’re going the real route)
- florist foam
- fake (or real) succulents, including a cascading type (I found faux succulents at Hobby Lobby on sale for 50% off)
- Spanish moss for the top to cover foam (optional – you can cover it with soil if you’d like)
How to Attach the Windows
Our shed has a board-and-batten siding, so in order for the windows to hang flat, we had to attach small wood blocks to the backs. Here’s how we (and by that I mean, Brian) did it:
- Cut small 1×2 blocks – 2 per window
- Pre-drill a hole in the window about 2-inches down from the top AND in the wood block (we have this basic cordless drill that Brian says he’s happy with and has lasted a number of years).
- Insert a 2-1/2-inch long screw into one hole on the window, hold the block of wood to the back where the screw can be seen emerging, aligning it to the pre-drilled hole in the block, as shown top left.
- Use a drill to insert screw through the block with the tip just emerging, as shown top right.
- Repeat with block on other side of window.
- Hold the window where you want it (okay, here’s the “we” part)- you’ll want to get someone to help hold the window in place – and use a drill to insert the screw through all the way through the window, block, and into the siding.
- Use a level to make sure the window is straight and screw the window to the siding on the opposite side.
- Pre-drill a hole in the center bottom of the window and insert a screw to hold it to the siding at the bottom. We didn’t need a block on the bottom, since it was centered on a batten.
How to Make Succulent Baskets
Since I was using both real and faux succulents, I used a foam block in the center to hold the fake succulents and filled in with potting soils around the edges for the hens-and-chicks. You can use all foam and cover it with moss, or all soil if using real succulents.
This seriously took 10 minutes, total – a lot less than planting regular baskets! I just stuck the stems of the fake plants into the foam and planted the hens-and-chicks on the sides.
We used small screws to attach the baskets to the windows and then I added a bit of moss to cover the foam that showed through.
I remember seeing a multi-tiered fountain in Santa Monica last year that had been planted with sedums and there were cascading varieties that looked amazing, so that’s the look I was going for here. I think using this type of hanging sedum-looking plant is what makes these baskets – especially because they’re seen from far away mostly.
We added a couple of garden chairs below the windows to “stage” it for the photo, but loved the look so much we’ve left them there! It’s not dramatic, and it’s not involved – but it really dressed up the exterior of this plain-Jane shed, don’t you think?
It just shows we often don’t need much to add a bit of beauty to our environments. Little changes are sometimes all we need to get more enjoyment from our yards!
What little changes have made a big impact on your yards and gardens?
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