Gorgeous garden shed from an outhouse
Cindy Large committed to our Flea Market Gardening July Challenge this summer, but didn’t know if she’d be able to finish. She did though and here is how she finally got her most useful outhouse shed in the garden. First, find one!
Finding a find
Cindy Large says, “I love the corn bin gazebos, but we don’t have any corn bins here, so I snagged this ‘outhouse’-style homemade shed off of Craigslist, for… are you ready, $50! The man was asking $100, but when we got there with the trailer, I asked “Can you do better?” “Maybe, $75?” He said nope, I’ll do $50! And, he gave me five gallons of paint and blocks to set it on!”
“I’m convinced God watches after crazy people,” Cindy exclaims! “…and I’m sure we looked that way going down the Interstate with an outhouse!”
Half moon dreams
I actually got motivated to finish this project from your “July Project Challenge.” I normally would have worked on it a bit at a time, especially since our tractor broke down shortly after we unloaded the outhouse. Once we figured out we could level it up with a pry bar, the way was clear to complete the project. I just thought, ‘Get it done!’”
First, find an outhouse and haul it home. Then find a spot near the driveway, and start leveling it up with rock from the field.
I knew I wanted an old outhouse for a long time. I first wanted to use it for my garden tools, but the need we had for a UPS drop box was greater and what we had been using (a wooden crate) just didn’t do it. So, UPS box it would be. So…. where to put it?
“At this point I was trying to figure out how to sort of tie it into the fence around the Rhododendron. I have a few split rails from that fence, but they’re too long. I cut them down and attached them to the out house to make a small pen, like you used to see on old homesteads.”
“I hunted for all salvaged materials. An old silt sifter on the wall makes a shelf. An old high top boot and cups from a yard sale for .50 each. I put last year’s wren nest in the boot. I saved an old barn loft door and made a ‘gate’ out of it by nailing the hinges to the outhouse.”
“Filled in the space with an old bucket, nail keg, and cracked crock. An old ladder back chair with chicken wire added for a missing seat, now holds violas. Old barbed wire hung like a wreath on my makeshift gate, and an old kerosene can, just for good measure.”
“This side is a grouping of old rake heads ( I really never knew why I collected them …) But they worked here . Planted Holly Hocks here, but they have a way to go.
“Two old kerosene heater bases hold begonias. A rusty wire basket holds “Faux ” succulents. ( I knew real ones wouldn’t stand a chance here with my UPS guy. ) Under the moon I strung three red corn cobs with raffia.
I had an old slate shingle left from another project , so I painted it with a UPS notice. I actually had to buy the little solar lantern, but it’s great at night, when I have to stop to open the gate for the driveway. Now hopefully the deer will leave me a few flowers ! And my UPS guy won’t have to traverse my steep driveway.”
“The flowers need to fill in a bit but, it’s there! I filled in with old pieces from the family. The high top boot and cups were from a yard sale last week .50 each. The lantern is solar from a little shop near here…fun and I don’t have to light it!”
“I planted Muhly grass at the back corners for height later and Hollyhocks on the left side. Everything else is in buckets, a cracked crock, nail keg, old chair turned planter, a silt sifter on the wall holds the cups and boot. I filled the boot with a latex concrete patch and painted the outside for water protection, then added last year’s wren nest.”
“I’m going to need inspiration with planting around it. It will be in the edge of the woods and just getting morning sun.”
Cindy’s home and garden
“I live on a farm with my husband of 39 years. I have 1 grown son and a granddaughter, dogs and eighteen long horn cows. We deer and turkey hunt and plant about eight acres of food plots to feed all the local deer turkey and others. We try to be good stewards of our mountains. The wildlife population has increased 100% over the last ten years, through management.
We live in the mountains near Abingdon, Virginia, in garden Zone 6. We have 300 acres, but 40 of it are where we built our home. My husband and I built our log home. We used new logs, but the entire inside is recycled bits of other old homes, antiques, and anything else we could retro-fit. The building inspector would just shake his head and say,” Someone’s got a good imagination!”
Starting the garden
I knew I would be doing all the landscaping after the house was done, so before the first bulldozer started I bought a Magnolia that I always wanted. Every day I was moving that tree from one spot to another in it’s nursery pot to avoid the bulldozer. The day it stopped, I planted it. We have a pretty good-sized area around the house that I have landscaped. A lot of it is a challenge as we have almost all red clay or loamy soil from the woods surrounding us. The bulldozer left me precious little to work with. We do have an Equestrian College near us where my husband is the farrier, so we have hauled 3 farm trailers of composted manure from there. A life saver!
Our gardening legacy
I have been gardening since I got married in 1975 and was always fascinated with my Grandmother’s ability to grow anything, especially violets. The terrain here is a small flat area near the house, and the rest is steep bank or hill. My best defense for not having to weed eat all of it was plant daylilies and every kind of ground cover possible. After two seasons on my knees plugging monkey grass, Liriope, in all the space between the lilies, it was finally covered.
My father had taken up day lilies as a hobby and got me started on them and I learned from there. They were perfect for this bad soil, the deer didn’t touch them, and they are bug proof. My lighting is either hot full sun or deep shade, and they can do that too. Perfect!
Love of junk
I always loved antiques and “stuff.” Anything that had a history or mystery… I loved it. I would have to say most of my ability to create things comes from my mother. She was artistic and creative. She painted and sculpted, she even had her own art showing. She also motivated me. She said “If you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it yourself.” She was right.
I’m a retired hairdresser, with a few health challenges, so gardening and junking keep me going. Plus, if I don’t make and invent things, I get stir crazy! I work one day a week at a local antique shop and buying and selling a little keeps my ‘stash’ of odd pieces supplied.
I thought about papering or decopaging the inside of the out house with a re-print of an old Sears & Roebuck catalog, and putting a small tool bench in there.
I just love FMG. I only have one problem with it , it feeds my obsession. I always have at least 10 projects I could do at any one time.” Cindy says.