Salisbury, MD. Can this shed be saved? We all have something in our gardens that, every time we look at it, we have that nagging thought that we should do something about it. We're just not happy with what we see. We wonder if we would be better off with or without it. For purposes of this article, we begin by looking at the shed belonging to one of the Gardening Grannies who, for personal reasons, does not wish to be named.
The shed. There it sits in the back yard. Sad looking. Overgrown with ivy. Double doors sagging. Bottom edges and paint job ratty. Doesn't really go with anything. On the other hand, you might need the storage space, despite the fact that everything in there is piled in the middle of the floor. Piles of "mystery dirt" are scattered about and the small carcass of some wild formerly living thing is in the corner. The clean-up in and of itself would be a daunting …. not to mention disgusting …. task. What on earth to do?
The first thing is to take the emotion out of it. Unless you gave birth to your first child in it, it is highly unlikely that you have any true emotional attachment to a shed. Most likely, it is just something you have grown used to or, as in Granny's case, it was there when you bought the property and you sort of need it and you can't imagine what to do with the space if you remove it. Emotion and uncertainty aside, let's get practical about what to do.
Let's start thinking about it from a monetary perspective by asking ourselves three simple questions: 1) How much would it cost to get rid of it and landscape? 2) How much would it cost to fix it up? and 3) How much would it cost to replace it?
In this case, Granny decided that she really did need the storage space, so she began pricing out her options. To keep the shed and fix it up, she would need some wood to shore up the double doors, a gallon of paint to match the house, some shelving (probably free and repurposed from another project) and electricity run to it for convenience. The clean up, painting and shelving she could do herself. The door and electrical work would have to be jobbed out. Next, she priced replacement. Someone to tear it down and haul away the debris, re-stabilize the foundation and have a new shed brought in. Granny priced the haul-away, foundation work, delivery of the new shed and electrical work from a local handyman and the new shed from the nearby big box store. She was shocked at the difference in cost and her innate thriftiness quickly outpaced her urge for a new shed. With that reality check, all that was left for her to do now was wait for more moderate weather to start the job! This simple method of evaluation can help you over the most of your gardening hurdles, whether it be widening a flower bed, garden pathway, a fountain, a deck or a greenhouse. Remember, take the emotion out of it and start pricing. Think about re-sale and curb appeal. Remember to be kind to your neighbors, considering what they, too, will see. OK, Grannies….off your rockers and into planning mode!
Gardening Grannies, a group of avid and Master Gardeners, live, love and garden on the Delmarva Peninsula. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we look forward to hearing from you.