Tips for Putting Together a Garden Workshop

This guide serves as a starting point for designing the ultimate backyard gardening workshop.
customized potting station aids with cleanup

customized potting station aids with cleanup

Figure D

To design a state-of-the-art garden workshop, start with planning and blueprints. In putting together these tips, our guiding principle was to have a workshop that's big enough and versatile enough to maintain a half-acre backyard. We decided on an 848-square-foot building of standard wood-frame construction with a concrete foundation.

Inside, the layout of the workshop should be ergonomic -- taking into consideration efficiency, safety and ease of use. Dedicated areas for power tools, hand tools and supplies are incorporated. It's should be organized so that all items are stored in a neat, organized fashion that makes them easy to locate and access.

Specially designed "slat-walls" that have slots for tool-hangers, shelves and cabinets are a big plus. It means items can easily be hung on the walls, and that they can be repositioned with no trouble.

A customized potting station is ideally positioned close to both a deep stainless-steel sink and the greenhouse entrance. The sink will aid with potting and cleanup. We incorporated an 8' x 16' concrete slab to accommodate a greenhouse.

If you're going to include a greenhouse as part of your design, it's important to take into consideration how it's oriented to the sun so that the plants receive the right amount and intensity of light. A mistake in placement of your greenhouse is not one that's easily undone. A western exposure is not recommended since it soaks up the intense, afternoon sun and may make your greenhouse unusable during summer months. A northern exposure is never recommended since the shadow of the existing structure will fall over the greenhouse, limiting growing possibilities. We opted for an eastern exposure since we knew we wanted to grow a wide variety of plants.

Forty to fifty percent shading density is satisfactory for most plants in temperate zones. Many gardeners prefer a southern exposure since it typically provides ample light in both summer and winter for sun-loving plants. Southern exposures can result in considerable heat in the summer, so you may want to consider incorporating such features as circulating fans and sun-filtering fabric.

The 8' x 16' size we included allows for a roomy interior, and is typically sufficient for a residential greenhouse design.

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