Category Archives: Storage Solutions

Hobby Greenhouses and Greenhouse Kits

Grow and Store Greenhouse

How to Choose the Best Size and Location For Your Backyard Greenhouse

Backyard gardening is experiencing a renaissance, and many home owners who would not consider such an endeavor in the past are now embracing gardening. The reasons for the increase in gardening interest are varied and include lack of variety and quality at local nurseries and garden centers, a desire to enhance the home’s “curb appeal,” and a need for fresh and pesticide-free vegetables and fruits that haven’t traveled thousands of miles to reach the neighborhood grocery store. Whatever the reason, though, gardeners are limited to the growing season, and in cooler climates, that growing season can be all too short. Increasing the annual growing season can be done easily and inexpensively with a hobby greenhouse.

The purpose of greenhouses is to allow gardeners to grow a wider variety of plants and flowers, no matter the growing zone, and to extend the growing season to three, and sometimes four, seasons. No matter what size the greenhouse, the interior of a greenhouse heats up because the sunlight shining through greenhouse windows warms everything inside faster than heat can escape. The greenhouse walls and roof keep the warm air inside, even when temperatures outside are chilly. Two of the most important considerations that must be made, though, before selecting any hobby greenhouse are size and location.

Hobby greenhouses are available in many shapes and sizes. If space is limited, a practical option would be a lean-to greenhouse or an attached greenhouse. These greenhouses are physically attached to another building, such as a house, garage, or shed. Attached greenhouses and lean-to greenhouses get less sunlight during the day simply because they are attached to another structure, so they should be placed in a location that receives the most amount of sunlight throughout the day. Lean-to greenhouses and attached greenhouses are ideal for gardeners who wish to use the greenhouse only seasonally, and who may wish only to grow a small selection of plants. Larger hobby greenhouses are free-standing and can hold more plants, flowers, and vegetables. Larger greenhouses can also support a longer growing season. Importantly, upgrading to a larger size greenhouse can be more expensive than starting with a larger greenhouse in the first place, so thinking ahead to future gardening needs is a must.

The best location for a hobby greenhouse is a level, well-drained site that gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day. If the local climate includes heavy rains, a well-drained site will help prevent drainage problems in and around the greenhouse. A drainage system may be necessary, though, if a site with good drainage is not available. Sunlight is, of course, a major consideration when locating a hobby greenhouse. To grow plants in late fall and winter, a greenhouse should receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. However, if the greenhouse will be used mainly for starting seeds and transplants in the summer, then an area with partial shade would be ideal. Partial shade will help minimize heat build-up in the afternoon. In general, greenhouses should be positioned so that the ends face east and west; this will allow for the best heat gain during the winter and minimize shadowing.

In order to ensure a successful gardening experience, the size and location of greenhouses are essential considerations for every home owner who wishes to join the growing numbers of new backyard gardeners. Careful planning before installing a hobby greenhouse will pay off when harvest time brings beautiful flowers and plants, and delicious fruits and vegetables.

How to Prepare a Shed Foundation

Storage Shed Foundation

Preparing Your Site for a Shed Foundation

Recommended methods for constructing basic foundations for sheds, playhouses etc:

  • Patio Stones
  • 4×4 Pressure Treated Beams
  • Concrete Slab

Step-By-Step Foundations

1)  Prepare Your Site For Construction

Before receiving your garden shed or gazebo, clear the construction area. Remove all debris, roots, grass, and rocks.

Make sure the ground slopes away from the site at least 10 feet in all directions. If necessary, build up the soil in the center of the site and slope away for the high point to provide drainage. Fill in any low spots within the perimeter of the site. A slope of 1/8 inch per foot is enough to prevent water accumulation.

We recommend excavating the site 4 inches deep and laying gravel or crushed rock where drainage may be a concern.

2)  Laying Out The Foundation

No matter which type of foundation you’ve chosen, start by outlining the “footprint” on the site. Start by choosing one corner of the garden shed or the center of gazebo and mark it (A) by driving a stake into the ground.

Stretch a line from stake A straight across C and fasten it to a temporary stake outside the intended garden shed area. Measure along this line from A and mark the garden shed dimension in that direction. Drive a stake there and set up batter boards. Use the 3-4-5 triangulation method to extend another line at right angles to the A-C line. Measure to the next corner and stake it. Continue until all corners of the garden shed are connected by right angle lines.

3-4-5 Triangulation Method
Measure along the line 3 feet from the first stake A, and mark the string at this point. From stake A, run a second line perpendicular to the first. Measure out 4 feet to locate point C. If this second line is exactly at a right angle to the first, the diagonal line between A & C will be 5 feet. If not, move point C left or right until the diagonal measures 5 feet and stake that point.

Stretch a radial line from center stake A. Calculate the radius by using 1/2 the diameter of gazebo. Using orange spray paint, or something similar, mark out a circle.

First determine door location by using one Rim Joist of Gazebo, stake points where rim joist intersects circle. Move around circle staking out all intersecting points until all corners are connected.


3) Determine The Type Of Foundation

If the ground is stable and has sufficient drainage, you can set patio stones directly on firm, compacted soil. If not, lay on gravel or crushed rock as previously described.

GARDEN SHEDS:Starting with one floor section, position stones around its perimeter and specific joists (For details, see specific instruction manual). Use a 2×4 straight piece of lumber on edge and a carpenter’s level to position correctly. Add or remove soil/sand under each stone until level. Complete remaining floor sections in the same manner. When all floor panels are level with each other, flip over, screw together, and place back on level foundation.

GAZEBOS: Position patio stones on outline of gazebo previously described. For details of how and where stones go, see specific instruction manual. Use a 2×4 straight piece of lumber on edge and a carpenter’s level to position correctly. Add or remove soil/sand under each stone until level. When stones are level, position completed sub-structure (Rim, Long & Short Joist, and Core Block) on top. Once again, use a level to confirm positioning and make any necessary adjustments.

You can build directly on pressure-treated beams or railroad ties laid on a properly prepared construction site. Run beams perpendicular to floor joists. Use a 2×4 straight piece of lumber on edge and a carpenter’s level to position correctly.

To prevent the beams from shifting, secure them with a 1/2″ inch rebar inserted through holes drilled in the beams and driven 3 to 4 feet into the ground. Leave each side or end of the foundation open to promote drainage and air circulation beneath the floor.

Typically, a slab 3-4 inches thick laid over a sub base of 4 inches of gravel or crushed rock is sufficient but may vary depending on your geographic location.

The choice of mixing your own concrete or having it delivered by truck ready to pour depends on how much time and effort you have to dedicate to the project. A slab for our 8×10 foot Rancher or a 10 foot gazebo both to a depth of 4 inches will require approximately 1 cubic yard of premixed concrete.

Use the following procedure:

1. Excavate the slab area and footing trench.

2. Excavate the slab area to a depth of 6 inches. This would put the finished slab surface 2 inches above ground (4 inches of gravel)

3. Set up your batter board strings to represent the outside face of the slab. At each corner, drop a plumb line from the intersecting strings to the bottom of the trench, then drive a 2×4 stake at this point. Using the plumb bob again, drive a nail into the top of the stake where the plumb bob touches it. Attach strings between the stakes. Using the strings as guides, drive the 2×4 form stakes around the trench perimeter, spaced on 2 foot centers.

4. Attach the form boards to the stakes with double-headed nails. Make sure the stakes are on the outside of the boards and flush with or below them.

5. Use 2×4 stakes to brace the corners of the forms.

6. Backfill the excavation with 4 inches of gravel, then lay down a plastic vapor barrier.

7. Spread or pour concrete with a rake or hoe, compacting it gently into the footing areas. Use a shovel to move concrete into footing trench. Make the pour to about 1 inch above the forms to allow for settling. Use a long 2×4 to level the concrete. Move the board in a side-to-side motion as you pull it towards you.

8. Use finishing tools, such as a bull float and trowel, to smooth the concrete surface. Allow the concrete to cure fully (seven to ten days)

Tips for Selecting the Best Outdoor Furniture Covers

Chaise Lounge Cover

Considering Material, Size, and Special Features

When weather becomes too hot in summer or too cold in winter, enjoying time on your outdoor patio furniture may not be possible. Before retreating to indoor comfort, be sure to protect your investment by covering your furniture with outdoor furniture covers, also known as patio furniture covers. Harsh weather like wind, rain, sleet, snow, hail, ice, and even blazing summer sun will all damage outdoor patio furniture over time. Covering your furniture with outdoor covers will lengthen the life of your wood, metal, or all-weather wicker patio furniture. Not just any outdoor furniture covers will do, though. Selecting the best covers means considering the material with which the covers are made, the size of your own patio furniture pieces, and any special features you may desire. Here are some tips for making the best choice when selecting patio furniture covers.

Choosing Materials

Poor quality patio furniture covers may last only one or two seasons because they are often made with cheaper vinyl or plastic. These inferior materials are easily damaged by extremes in cold or hot temperatures. High quality covers can be constructed from a variety of materials, but there are some crucial characteristics you should look for before making a selection. Outdoor furniture covers should be made of a durable waterproof and UV resistant material that is able to withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions, both hot and cold, without being compromised. Additionally, covers should be lightweight so that they are easy to use and easy to store when not in use. Some covers are backed with a soft cloth material to help prevent anything from scratching delicate furniture surfaces, which is an ideal feature if your patio furniture sits near any trees that may drop small branches or other debris over the course of the winter.

Proper Sizing

Low quality patio furniture covers often fit poorly and offer only a few standard sizes. Many high quality covers come in standard sizes, too, but a much wider variety of shape and size options are usually available. If the dimensions of the furniture covers do not exactly match the dimensions of your specific furniture pieces, the solution is not to purchase the next largest or next smallest size. The best choice would be to purchase custom fit patio furniture covers. While more expensive, custom fit covers are actually the best buy when standard sizes don’t fit. Because custom covers fit your specific furniture pieces exactly, they will provide the proper protection for your furniture through many seasons. Outdoor furniture covers that are too small will not provide adequate protection because parts of the furniture are exposed to the elements. Covers that are too large can act like balloons on a windy day, inflating with air and, more than likely, blowing completely off of the furniture. Additionally, patio furniture covers that are too large have excess material that can sag and allow moisture to collect on rainy and snowy days. Standing water attracts mosquitoes and other pests in summer, and, if not removed, standing water can stain or mildew the cover. Likewise, standing water can freeze in winter, potentially causing damage to the furniture cover material.

Special Features

While not essential, most high quality outdoor furniture covers come with special features to consider. Some special features you may find include elastic hems, Velcro closures, zipper closures, leg ties, and even built-in storage pockets that make storage of patio furniture covers easy and tidy. Piping along the seams is an attractive feature with the practical function of directing water off of covers. Some outdoor furniture covers come equipped with air vents which reduce the amount of condensation that can form underneath the covers. Air vents can also help prevent outdoor furniture covers from catching too much air during especially windy days.

Taking a bit of time in the beginning to find the best material and the appropriate sizing for your outdoor furniture covers will pay off in the long run. By covering your outdoor patio furniture properly, you will extend the life of the furniture for many years. Alternatively, skimping on quality now will most likely result in having to spend more money later to replace poor quality furniture covers that don’t last beyond a season or two.

Cedar Storage Sheds and Garden Sheds

Gardener Storage Shed

Multiple Features Offer Beauty and Versatility

Outdoor storage sheds are an essential accessory for today’s homes. Whether you wish to store yard tools, gardening supplies, or pool chemicals, outdoor storage sheds (also known as garden sheds) provide additional space for your outdoor equipment, making it much easier to access and freeing up your garage for vehicles, bicycles, and the spare refrigerator. Traditionally, though, outdoor storage sheds and garden sheds have been made of metal, vinyl, or plastic, and they are often less than attractive. As a result, sheds tend to be tucked away in some dark and hidden corner of the yard, away from direct view. Wood sheds, on the other hand, specifically cedar wood sheds, bring a natural and beautiful appearance to the backyard. Thanks to the durability and versatility that cedar wood sheds and garden sheds offer, using the shed for more than just storage is an attractive option for creative home owners.

Why cedar? Cedar is an all-weather wood that can withstand decades of harsh weather conditions, including icy winters, wet springs, and hot, sunny summers. It can be stained or painted to complement your existing home decor, and it is naturally resistant to mildew, rot, and insects, making it virtually worry-free. As an added bonus, cedar looks beautiful and smells fantastic. Because of these benefits, cedar is a natural choice for outdoor storage sheds.

Cedar wood sheds and garden sheds come with a variety of features that allow you to choose the structure that best fits your needs. Some of these features include:

  • Windows that actually open: Fresh air can easily circulate throughout garden sheds, keeping the interior space comfortable;
  • Window boxes: Filled with colorful flowers and plants, window boxes enhance the exterior beauty of garden sheds;
  • Dutch doors: Close the bottom half of the door and open on the top for additional air and light;
  • Double doors: Storing large or awkward pieces of equipment is much easier;
  • Decorative door hinges and hardware: Dress up the appearance of garden sheds even further;
  • Porches: Turn the entrance of garden sheds into a welcoming spot to relax or share a conversation;
  • Greenhouse windows: Create gardens inside the garden shed.

With so many features available, cedar wood sheds can easily serve as more than just a place to store the lawnmower. Cedar wood sheds and garden sheds can become a comfortable work space where you can plan your garden or engage in your favorite hobbies; a greenhouse where you can extend your growing season and store your gardening supplies; a playhouse where the kids or grand kids can explore their imaginations; or even a cozy backyard get-away where you can retreat when you need to unwind.

Cedar wood sheds offer so many possibilities that metal, vinyl, or plastic sheds simply cannot. Cedar brings natural beauty and durability to outdoor storage sheds, allowing them to become an attractive focal point in your backyard rather than an eyesore to be hidden from view.

Three Solutions to Common Gardening Frustrations

Rectangle Planter Box


Planter Boxes, Garden Tool Storage, and Potting Benches Solve Multiple Problems

Gardening is an enjoyable past time for millions of people, but for many, it can present challenges and hassles not to mention gardening frustrations. People who have issues with mobility, space limitations, or invasions by local wildlife may find gardening a frustrating experience. With the addition of a few garden helpers, though, many of these challenges can be solved.

Raised Planter Boxes

Raised planter boxes, which are available in square or rectangle shapes, are an easy way to keep plants and veggies contained, but they also offer a number of other advantages. Planter boxes raised on sturdy legs are ideal for gardeners who may have difficulty bending down and working in garden beds on the ground. Raised planter boxes are also appealing to gardeners who are tired of losing out to local rabbits and other critters. They keep tender plants and veggies out of reach. And, for homeowners who lack yard space for planting a garden, planter boxes give them the opportunity to keep a garden on the patio or deck.

Garden Tool Storage

Hoes, rakes, shovels, and other garden tools can get out of hand easily causing gardening frustrations. Keeping them neat and tidy in a convenient place can be a challenge, even when a shed is available. A sturdy, wooden garden tool holder makes an ideal garden tool storage solution. With casters underneath and a dedicated slot for each individual tool, a garden tool holder is easy to move where it’s needed, and makes organizing tools a snap.

Potting Bench

Many gardeners find that their potting supplies get shoved into a corner of the garage or shed, making them difficult to retrieve when it’s time to pot or re-pot plants. Then, finding an appropriate place to do this work can be a challenge. Some gardeners choose to do their potting on a deck or patio, others do it in the garage or in the yard. None of these locations is conducive to efficient work, and the mess created is generally more than expected. A potting bench is the best solution for this problem. The potting bench gives gardeners space to organize potting supplies, and it provides a dedicated space for potting. Potting benches come in many shapes and sizes, but most offer storage shelves, garden tool storage hooks, and ample counter space for working with plants and their pots. A potting bench can be placed in the shed, in a greenhouse, or under the overhang on a deck or patio.

Gardening is an appealing activity for so many reasons: it’s good exercise; it allows gardeners to express their creativity; and it gives people an opportunity to grow their own healthy and delicious foods. Gardening can feel like a chore, though, when completing basic tasks is more difficult than necessary. Thanks to garden helpers like raised planter boxes, garden tool storage holders, and potting benches, many of the difficulties associated with gardening can be alleviated, if not eliminated.