The days when the humble garden shed was simply somewhere to store your tools and fertiliser are long gone. Today, they are often used as home offices, workshops and even outdoor playrooms and entertainment areas; and with some clever use of paint and plants you can help them either blend into the garden or stand out as a feature in their own right.
Use a neutral colour on the outside and then a pop of something bright inside
Garden designer Matt Keightley, a Chelsea Flower Show award-winner, is a shed lover himself. “They’re a brilliant structure to have in a garden,” he says, “and increasingly people are looking to make a statement with their sheds, by painting them up in colours that make them a real focal point.”
If you do this, says Keightley, it’s a good idea to plant around the borders of your shed. “Whether you’re using it as a home office or summer house, or as a storage space, you don’t want it to look as though it’s just been plonked there.
“You need a structural link with the rest of the garden, so put planters and pots around it or dig a border and fill it with flowers and shrubs.”
If you have children or grandchildren who like to get involved then you can have a bit of fun with some really cheerful planting. A traditional sunflower-growing competition, with them growing in a line across the front of your shed, can provide colour and interest.
Should you want your shed to stand out, light and neutral colours work well. “You can then fill planters with lots of colourful flowering plants in front of it for some dramatic contrast,” says Keightley.
Louise Tod agrees. “This is all about viewing the garden as the "fifth room" in your home: somewhere you can relax, entertain and even work. And your shed can be an integral part of all that.
“If yours is looking a bit tired and unloved then you will be amazed by how transformative painting it can be. Moreover, your shed really is somewhere where you can go to town and have some fun with colour,” insists Tod.
People are painting their sheds in colours that make them focal points
“People worry far less about how others judge their taste and design decisions when it comes to their garden shed than they do with the interior of their property. When you do something similar with your shed it’s seen as fun and eclectic – a way of showing off your personality.” However, if you’d still prefer to go for a subtler approach, then Keightley suggests painting it a traditional dark green or brown, which will help it to blend in with its surroundings. “You can then plant tall yew hedging on either side of the door, leaving this the only part of the structure that’s on show,” advises Keightley.
Tod, meanwhile, suggests a stealthy approach. “Perhaps use a fairly neutral colour on the outside of your shed and then a pop of bright orange or turquoise inside. These are simple touches, but they add so much interest and with surprisingly little effort.”