A green shed for a green garden

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)June 18, 2010

This may not be of interest perhaps on this forum... Our garden shed in the backyard has been blue-gray with a darker door and white trim. While it was attractive - and would be suitable in a sunny, flowery garden, it is located in my shady 'green garden' in the backyard and the color increasingly looked out of place. I resolved earlier this spring to paint it in shades of green to help it blend into the garden better. DH is just finishing painting the back wall today. I think it looks pretty good. The next stage is likely to be to plant a tree in the larger of the two 'traffic circle' beds in front of the shed, to further 'push' the shed into the background.

Before - from the patio in May:

After - from the patio yesterday afternoon:

This crude scribble on a copy of the property survey for the backyard shows the layout of the back garden and where the shed is in relation to other things:

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natal(Louisiana 8b)

My neighbor just did the same thing. Have to be honest, I prefer the original ... hers and yours. You both have darling sheds. I don't understand the desire to try and hide them.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 3:05PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Natal - We quite liked the 'old' shed and would have left it as it was if the backyard had been sunny and colorful as the front garden is. But it was a distraction in a gardn that is mainly about shades of green - with some white and bits of pink and blue here and there at times. Actually the big ash tree that shades the north half of the garden is likely coming down later this year or next, which would make a sunny garden possible at that end of the yard. However, we want to keep it as a cool, green garden so will be planting more trees. So repainting the shed was more about keeping thing 'in character' for the theme of the garden than not liking the shed colors as such. Is your neighbour's garden a woodland/shade garden too?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 4:00PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Woodyoak, what color is your house? My DH and I are in the process of thinking about our shed (which is currently just a disgrace and I would never post a picture of it!!) and we have been debating about having it stand out with the same colors of our house (blue with white trim) or having it fade away by using greens or browns. I'm torn because I feel like a shed should "match" a house, but then again maybe not. The area our shed is in is not gardened as of yet but I have big plans for a "secret" English garden near it. Help!! I'm torn and maybe you can help steer me!! Thanks!

P.S. I love your shed both ways. I really do like the original, but again I can see what you like about it blending in with its surroundings too. Are you going to keep the trim and door the same color as the body of the shed? It's a very interesting idea and you have me pondering now......

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 5:07PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

thyme2dig - our house is yellow and white, so neither combination 'matched' the exterior color of the house! You can see the house color in this picture, looking along the north alley fence towards the backyard but standing on the neighbours' side:

One of the reasons that I was not concerned with matching the shed color to the house is that the most common viewing points are looking from the house or the back porch towards the shed - so you don't really see the two colors (house and shed) in the same 'frame' at the same time! When you enter the backyard from one of the alleys, you briefly see both together, but once you're in the yard you mainly see one or the other, depending on which direction you look. Actually one of the reasons we chose blue-gray for the shed originally was that it is the color of the living room! So you were looking from a blue-gray room to a blue-gray shed... Now you look from a blue room to a green shed - against a background of green so it still 'works'.

There are 4 colors of green on the shed!
All colors are Benjamin Moore, Aura exterior latex. The door has a semi gloss finish; the rest are low luster. From left to right - BM 666 Bonsai - door and window trim; BM 441 Alligator Alley - door; BM 489 Oak Grove - walls; BM 488 Mountain Lane - top and corner trim.

If I was doing it again, I'd use the door and window trim for the body of the shed, the door color for the window and door trim, the body color for the corner and top trim and find a new, darker green-black for the door! I think the shed could still be a bit darker than it is - to make it more of a shadow for plantings to stand out against. Your eyes are drawn to and stop at light colors. One of the problems with the blue shed was that it drew your eyes too much, and the garden is not about the shed! I wanted the shed to be dark enough for the plants to be the light colors in the scene so your eyes are drawn to the plants and stop there, rather than travelling past the plants to come to rest on the light colored shed. One of the reasons that those dark green Yew hedges in England are so effective is that they are the shadow for the lighter flowers, and don't compete for attention of your eyes.

Perhaps a compromise for your shed would be to use a much darker shade of the blue of your house. Keep the trim dark/low contrast. You don't have to use green or brown to make it 'disappear' - it just needs to be dark enough to let the plants draw your eyes. It could be any color or combinations of colors if keep that in mind. It's also useful to know things like blues 'recede' while warmer colors 'advance' so a blue shed will look further away while a red one will look closer, even if they are the same distance away.

Did any of that help?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 6:07PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

The shed sure does virtually dissapear in the second picture. I too actuaaly prefer the colors on the before shot. But hey, it looked look either way and it's your garden.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 6:24PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Woodyoak, thanks so much for your thoughts. We were just eating dinner discussing your shed and looking at Benjamin Moore colors with thoughts of our shed. I knew your house was yellow from your other pictures, it must have for some reason slipped my mind completely.

We are probably going to have the house painted next year (we love Benjamin Moore paints, they seem to have such staying power). We have a deep blue house and have not painted it for 11 years and it still looks quite good, but is ready. So, we need to think seriously about the shed. I'll take your advice and check the paint chips again thinking more about what you said. Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 6:30PM
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lavender_lass(4b)

Woodyoak- I love the shed painted green! It's what you often see in parks and big gardens, so that there is no distraction from the plants. Unless the shed is a playhouse or focal point to the yard, I prefer that it blend into the surroundings. The flowers and plants are again the focal point of your backyard :)

Thyme- An old shed would probably look much better painted green or brown and blending into the background. Again, it just depends on what you want to emphasize in your yard...the shed or the garden. I hope you post a picture after you paint it!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 6:34PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I love it painted green too! I have not seen a shed painted green very often and never see one with four different shades of green. What fun! I like every shade you picked out and my favorite is the Bonsai color. Now I need a closer photo. Look at the difference in your two photos. One with sunshine and one in the shade. So much more detail on the tree trunk in the foreground, in the shade photo. And the colors of the grass and plants is so different. Very interesting.

Great job!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 6:52PM
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lisa33(6b Bucks County PA)

It certainly accomplishes your goal of making the shed blend into the background. I really like the shades you chose.

For what it's worth (for thyme2dig's sake and anyone else contemplating exterior paint projects), I've participated on old house boards for some time since restoring my old house preceeded restoring my old garden. The typical consensus on best exterior paint (coming from people who paint their huge old clapboard houses at intervals) is Sherwin Williams Duration paint. It carries a lifetime guarantee. It is expensive, but they regularly have 25% off sales (I just bought all the paint for my shed over the Memorial Day weekend sale). Also, if you have them put you in their system, you automatically get 10% off purchases. From my perspective, the real cost in exterior painting is labor. I think you save in the long run getting the best possible paint. If you like Benjamin Moore colors, you can have them color match it. Just thought I'd throw that out.

Lisa

Here is a link that might be useful: Exterior Paint Review

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 7:01PM
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schoolhouse_gw

Most everything around my place outdoors gets painted "Tinkertown Green" and has for years. If they ever stop making it, I don't know what I'll do!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 8:08PM
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schoolhouse_gw

Forgot to say, I like the new green shed. Blends in, makes a quiet statement among the plants and foliage. The colors are a cooler green which I like - more natural.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 8:09PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Is your neighbour's garden a woodland/shade garden too?

Yes. I snapped this through the window.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 8:12PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

PM2 - the greens are highly variable, depending on the light! (Which is another reason why I needed to go darker on the main color - it looks too yellow-green in sun...) Here are a few shots in different lights to show just how variable it is:

In a shaft of sunlight in early morning:

A close-up during painting on a somewhat overcast but bright day - the colors are 'truest' in this picture:

I spent a lot of time over the past month looking at trees and large green shrubs, trying to really SEE the greens and where they are. I concluded that most greens tend to the olive tone, with a lighter shade on top and leading edges. The grees darken progressively towards the center, becoming almost black in the deepest part of the center. (That is one of the reasons I'm not happy with the door color - it needs to be much darker and is shifted too far towards blue...)

schoolhouse -can you post a picture of something Tinkertown green? I Googled but couldn't find it - who makes it?

natal - I'd paint your neighbour's shed a darker color than that :-)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 9:11PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I think it's kinda neat that the colors change so much in different light. I like both effects. That yellow green in the sunlight is very cheerful. I think you are right, a very dark green door might be what you are looking for. I'm surprised you didn't use 'Forest' green....lol.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 9:27PM
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keesha2006(5)

I like the new colors. I think it becomes part of the garden more...like it belongs there...and it is still cute.. :)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 10:06PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I have shed envy. :-)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 4:47AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

It's interesting when you get into a project how involved it becomes.
I spent a lot of time over the past month looking at trees and large green shrubs, trying to really SEE the greens

It's exactly that kind of effort which pays off in achieving superior results. I love hearing how you approached this, the motivation and the end result.

I think it looks great, but I agree that the door would probably have a bit more drama if it was darker, leaning more towards a forest green shade, but not quite that dark.

Overall, I love it!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 6:06AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

'Forest green' is usually a color that is, IMHO, shifted too far towards blue and, rather than blending in, stands out because it looks 'wrong' against the natural greens (which are frequently more olive-y - shifted more to yellow). But I am strongly considering repainting the door a darker color if I can find the right one.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 8:51AM
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tammyinwv(z6/WV)

I have to say, I was in agreement preferring the before shot. So I wasnt going to comment. Then I seen your last pics. It looks fantastic!. I love those greens.
Tammy

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 9:00AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Woody, I was suggesting forest green, tongue in cheek because of the name. [g] I'm not usually fond of forest green and I don't know why. I seem to be very sensitive to color and shades of colors, but I don't have the ability to see that one shade is more red or one is more blue than another, for some reason. I've tried getting a few books out of the library about color but it doesn't help my eye. Yes, if you can find just the right shade, it will be pretty. Maybe something as saturated as forest green, but different.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 9:21AM
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schoolhouse_gw

It's a Tru Value(Hardware)Weatherall paint, called Tinkertown Green or just Tinkertown, I've forgotten from the garage to the computer room(!). Here is the garden gate and a piece of the picket fence in the privet hedge. I even brush this color on old wicker chairs, tables,ect. It wears for years on wood and even better if a primer coat is used.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 12:35PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

We just got back from the weekly food shopping etc. I stopped at the paint store and picked up a darker color for the shed door BM 2141-10 Artichoke. I'm not sure if it will be the 'right' one either. It is darker but a bit 'muddier' than I wanted. But I went through all their fan-decks and couldn't find anything else I liked better. If this one doesn't work, I'll have to try another brand of paint - if DH doesn't divorce me:-) Actually, he doesn't seem to mind the painting - I found this in a e-mail he sent to a friend ["Randy the Painter" is re-doing the garden shed in camouflage green shades, which will look better than the original grey with white trim. Once I get going, I rather enjoy painting: I plug in my MP3 & listen to CBC Radio interviews of the day, so kill 2 birds (sorry!) at the same time & hopefully become a bit wiser about the goings-on of the world.]

PM2 - I took a few art classes a few years ago. You learn a lot of useful stuff about color and when you mix paint to get the colors that you need, you learn a lot about what colors are in the color you see. It can be fun to look at a color and try to figure out what colors you'd need to combine to get the end color. Learning about opaque vs. transparent color was particularly interesting. I realized that I tend to prefer transparent color and it shows in the clothes I buy, the colors I painted the interior of the house, and the flowers I plant in the garden! I do not have much artistic talent when it comes to painting but taking some art courses is a good thing for gardeners to do I think.

schoolhouse - nice color; a bit too blue for my garden but there are blues in your stones and in the shadows of your hedge in the second photo in particularly, so it works better for you than it would for me.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 1:05PM
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schoolhouse_gw

Yes, it does appear blue in the photos doesn't it? I tried to find something to match the old greenish black varnish of old days but never found it. I have a pair of very tall antique double screen doors with this old green color in the garage.
I've painted my own screen doors with Tinkertown, the paint lasted longer than the modern screen doors.

Hope the new color works out. If not, keep searching! ;)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 2:46PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I love green, and I think the green shed is wonderful. There is so much detail and craftsmanship! Very charming.

I also love that black-green that can no longer be found.

Renee

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 11:12PM
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organic_kitten(8)

I love the shed, and your green is very nice, and, most impotantly does meet your goal of having everything blend rathr than having the shed stand out.

You are having a very nice success with your painting project.

I noted that in the sunlight, the shed is much lighter than I originally thought it to be.

Personally, I thibnk green is a wonderful color to use in a garden simply because, to me, it looks as if it belongs there.
kay

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 1:20AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I also love that black-green that can no longer be found.

Renee, BM has a black green called Black Forest Green.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 11:56AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Thanks!
Renee

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 1:24PM
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daisychain01(zone 3)

I love the after and hope you post a pic of the new door colour.

Schoolhouse, my grandma had a fence just like yours painted the identical colour. A few years ago I walked past her old house (now sold) and they were taking down the now rotted fence. I stopped and picked up a picket, just to remember the colour.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 2:21PM
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schoolhouse_gw

A sweet gesture, daisychain.

Natal, that's good to know about the BM Black Forest Green, I looked it up online and a pic of the sample shows it very dark; but one can't tell the true color from that. I think I'll go check it out in person. I want to try hanging a screen door off the kitchen again.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 3:02PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

I love your new shed color. I agree that the with the original color scheme it bame the focal point of the back, which isn't what you want. I really love how it looks now.

Now I want a shed. 8-(

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 3:02PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Renee & Schoolhouse, our shutters are Black Forest Green if that helps at all.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 3:49PM
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schoolhouse_gw

Thanks for the pic. It IS dark, but that's so close to the old vintage paint.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 4:51PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I think this will be the final paint colors - the door was repainted BM 2141-10 Artichoke. I think that is better than the blue-green it replaced because it is darker and also less discordant than the blue-green was. There is blue-green on foliage colors in the area of the shed but it just didn't feel right on the door with the more yellow-greens of the rest of the shed colors.

We also moved the Autumn Magic chokeberry that was languishing under the edge of the white pines out into the bed in front of the shed on the right side. I think that will work out well. Next spring, when it is a better time to move hostas, I think I'll move the hosta that is by itself on the other side of the path to the shed door and replace it with a shrub or small tree - perhaps with the Saskatoonberry that is languishing elsewhere in the backyard!

Shed from the living room window this afternoon:

From the back porch:

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 8:33PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I like that color on the door much, much better! That shed looks excellent and quite a difference from the old paint job. I think this one is much more sophisticated and definitely says, 'garden shed'. I think you are good with color, Woody! Now I know who to ask, next time I have a color question. :-)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 8:45PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

PM2 - I do like playing with color! :-)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 9:53PM
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elctj(4)

Woody - Your shed is wonderful and your backyard feels so peaceful, but I do have a question slightly OT. Your paths look so clean and neat and I'm having trouble deciding what method to use creating my own pathways. Do you have fabric under them and what type of mulch are you using? Are they edged with anything? Is maintaining them a chore? I'd appreciate your input. Thanks!

Erin

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 12:03PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Erin - green and serene is the objective for the backyard. It's a very peaceful spot and is actually our favorite part of the garden. No fabric under the paths - I don't like that stuff and won't use it. The paths are 2/3 pine bark mulch and 1/3 concrete sand (which is 'sharp' sand that packs down well.) They get refreshed every 4-5 years or so. We refreshed them this year. We order 3 cubic yds of pine bark much and 1 1/2 of the sand. Then DH just alternates 2 shovel-fulls of mulch to one of sand when he's filling the wheelbarrow. He dumps it on the paths, I spread it out, and he goes over it with one of those water-filled roller things to compact it.

The paths are not edged with anything - they just sort of merge with the beds in most areas; the grass in the backyard is weak because it's in a lot of shade so it doesn't grow agressively - so grass-path contact is not much of a problem. In spring DH takes the edger and cuts along the edge of the rectangular lawn (not a trench edge but just straight down). I go along behind him with a J-shaped crack-edger tool I find handy and pull out any roots that have started to stray into the path - not many... In the sunny front yard the beds are edged with gray patio bricks with a metal barrier to keep the grass from encroaching. The only maintenace required on the backyard paths, aside from the refreshing every few years, is to rake and roll them in spring as the mulch can become uneven with spring run-off etc. When visiting dogs run the paths and leave skid marks and launch gouges (!), the paths may need to be raked to smooth them out. But it's pretty easy to do. When anything seeds into the paths, it's easy to see and remove.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 1:32PM
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elctj(4)

Well, it sure looks great and very natural. We'll have to give your method a try in a limited area and see how it holds up for us. My DH is Lord of the Lawns and we'll probably have more problems with grass invasions, but I really like the look. Perhaps increasing the sand content will make it more durable in our situation. Thanks for your advice!
Erin

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 1:59PM
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lavender_lass(4b)

Great color on the shed door! I really like all the different shades of green :)

Schoolhouse- Our old farmhouse is white with that dark green trim. I matched it as close as I could, when we painted our home. It is a dark pine green...I don't remember the exact name of the original paint, but Valspar "Peacock House" from Lowe's is a really good match for our touch-ups! (Don't let the peacock in the name fool you, it looks dark green like the old wicker chairs on farm porches.)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 4:04PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I was out taking some pictures this afternoon and got a really bizarre effect when I took a picture of the shed from the opposite direction from the picture I took from the porch yesterday. It was so strange, and not at all what my eyes saw, that I re-scanned the paint stir sticks to include the new door color one, just to be sure that it really was green! Compare the color of the door in this picture of the shed to yesterday's picture:

All the stir sticks, including the original door color on the far left and the new door color the next one over.

Your eyes (or ours at least!) see the color as it is in yesterday's pictures. I don't know what the camera is seeing!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 6:18PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Looks brown.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 7:07PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Woody, I wonder if it is an adjustment on your camera? Or on the software that is processing your photos. I know some colors show up 'off' with my camera and I just don't bother to go to the trouble of adjusting it, but I think it can be done. You could call a camera shop or the manufacturer of the camera and email them the photos and see if they can tell you what it's all about.

It is odd....

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 7:55PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

Woodyoak, you'd be surprised how different colors can look to the camera depending on lighting.

Color and how it appears to our eyes (or a camera's "eye") is a interesting subject in and of itself.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 11:04PM
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Rose2001

Great job plus excellent photo's. I personally would love to have the time to create such a lovely garden shed, but don't at the moment. Maybe in a few years i will. For now i took the easy way out and got my garden shed and a carport from isheds here in australia.
If anyone is time short like me check out isheds.com
Keep up the great work.

Cheers,
Rose2001

Here is a link that might be useful: isheds australia

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 11:42PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Since this thread has reappeared... The odd color the shed door turned in certain lights bugged me so much that I finally had DH repaint it the same color as the door and window trim. I'd like the door to be a bit darker but I can live with it as it is now:

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 10:13AM
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dominoswrath(5 WI)

If you want your plants to be the focal point, my best advice is get rid of the red/orange mulch.

That color should be banned from all gardens, as it doesn't look natural in ANY garden unless you are in the mojave desert.

Why people choose this color for their garden is a mystery to me.

Love the new shed. My eyes go to the mulch in your yard.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 8:27PM
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schoolhouse_gw

In woodyoak's defense, re the red mulch, I think that might be pine needle mulch you see. Note the debris on the roof of the shed.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 11:51AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Yup, Woody's photo from 6/22/10 makes it clear that her mulch is undyed. I think the camera exaggerates the color of the pine needles a bit, but as someone who has quite a few white pines myself, they definitely have an orange cast and in person it looks perfectly natural, not at all like dyed mulch.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 2:43PM
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