In days of yore, the big old houses often had what they called a 'box room' – the ideal place to dump suitcases, old chairs, tools and the odd damp dog after a good day out. Without that luxury of space, most of us love a good shed – perfect storage and often a great home workshop as well. The only problem is that sheds are not always wonderful looking from the outside. That's fine if the shed is down the end of a long garden but for most of us, the shed is very visible. What to do?
Hide your shed - plant a screen
Of course, you can always employ various techniques and materials to make it look like something else. Screening with tall straight plants will work if there's sufficient room and sunlight for the plants to thrive. Some camellias, pittosporums, or other hedging plants will do the trick if you are patient with them. Bear in mind the plants you choose must be able to handle the heat radiating off the shed wall in summer and may need regular trimming to keep them clear of pathways.
Grow plants over a shed trellis
You can also screen a shed wall with trellising for instant cover, and add plants, such as climbing vines, later to soften the lines. Even better, if the position is right, you could go green and grow some food on your trellis. Passionfruit or the humble choko could be options, or annuals such as beans and peas – these plants need something to hold on to and nothing beats the freshness of just picked fruit and veg.
Instant shed screens
For low or no maintenance, readymade bamboo, brush or hardwood shed screening is a simple option, requiring only positioning and securing. You can fix it fast by drilling small holes through the shed wall into the supports and using self tapping screws – just touch the holes up with some silicone to ensure the structure remains weatherproof. Even better, you may be able to insert an 'S' hook up under the gutter and over the top of a steel shed construction. Then just hang your screen or trellis on the hooks and you're done.
Practical shed walls
But, before you cover, consider this. The wall of a shed is fine piece of real estate – high, straight and strong. Rather than just leaving it there, or hiding it with a trellis or plants, there are a couple of other options to think about.
By adding an all weather shelving unit, securely anchored to the wall, you can create an instant wall garden for your herb pots or other small plants, or even for some weatherproof jars for things you constantly use in the garden – garden ties, small hand tools and the like. In a space-challenged yard, and especially where the shed wall is protected from the weather, this could be a really handy way to gain space.
Up the level of sophistication and consider your shed wall as a potential home for a work of art. It doesn't have to be a twelve foot high water-wall, it might just be a piece in wood or metal, or even simple ceramic tiles artfully arranged.
Whatever option you choose for your shed makeover, if it makes you smile as you walk by, then it's working.