Potting Shed Finale: The Budget Version


We have a difference of opinion, husband and I.  I say when we redeem our credit card points on a snazzy, bright orange Home Depot gift card, the plants subsequently hauled home are “free.”

He disagrees, bringing up the logical, but completely unnecessary, observation that the points are equivalent to dollars.  Such a killjoy!

Nonetheless, after pricing out my initial plans for the potting shed project, I decided to try to accomplish them with as much stuff as I could from the Big Box.  And I’m fairly happy with the result because it is a working potting shed, after all, and I’m not possessed of Martha Stewart’s ambition….or budget.

So goodbye to dreams of this:

Fantasy "After"

Fantasy “After”

And hello to reality. We started out with this bereft little structure floating in the middle of our parking area:


We put some thoughts on paper….


….and revised those plans as we went along. Initially, I had hoped to install a picket fence around the perimeter and/or do some kind of boxwood edging.


Fencing around the whole garden is just too expensive, so we did a little accent fence in the back to define the border. And expensive bricks were replaced with pavers, a giant pile of which happened to be on sale.


Walkway edged with leftover bricks from another project

Boxwood did not make the final version either. Triple the price of the little Japanese hollies I selected, they also would grow much too large for their spot. Easy decision there.


The wooden frame on the wall will support an espalier of the fig tree. By this time next year, it should start taking shape.

Did I mention we had a construction supervisor? His salary demands were achievable…..


He occasionally asked for second opinions on plant selections:


A few details:

We built a nice little pergola with corbels I found about five years ago in an antiques booth owned by my friend, Dorothy. I planted two little hyacinth bean vine beans hoping they would germinate. Germinate? The thing has become a menacing presence since I took the photo below. There’s a reason for the Jack and the Beanstalk story.


The potting shed is out in open territory  susceptible to the ravages of deer and without easy access to water. Plantings have to be drought tolerant and varmint-resistant. This garden is not for sissies:


Knowing that deer avoid the blueish, furry, and highly aromatic plants, I selected lamb’s ear, Russian sage, lavender, creeping thyme, and rosemary along with a pot of succulents and some blue fescue. Love how that blue grass really adds a nice, squat textural element to the little bed.


OK, so the walkways are built, the fence is installed and painted, the plants are dug in and settled, and it looks like this now:


I used two big containers that were languishing in the garage as definers for the two front corners and planted some empty terra cotta pots for either side of the walkway to the door. The cobblestone for the walkway was leftover from a demolition project and worked perfectly here.


We introduced a couple new members to the Concrete Menagerie for this garden. The first, a cute little pig, remains unnamed. A certain evil friend of mine suggested “Prosciutto.” One is not amused.


And every country place needs a big ol’ Foghorn Leghorn, doesn’t it? Cock-a-doodle-doo, y’all!


Not exactly sticking to my budget here, but he was irresistible.

I had an old window frame to which we attached a little window box. I’ve held off having one here for ages because, well, I like to make the deer at least bend down to devour my plants instead of offering them up on a silver platter, so to speak. But then I spied these gorgeous ornamental peppers and thought “Aha!” Unless my deer develop a taste for Mexican, I am all set.


You can see that the hyacinth bean vine is working its way around the shed now. If I ever go missing, look for my lifeless body entangled in this vine first, okay?


And there you have it! Next year I’ll see what worked and what didn’t, plant-wise. And I’m thinking it needs some kind of edging, don’t you? Next year, next year….

Oh, and I almost forgot the very best part!! Thanks to my friend, Pat, who suggested in an earlier post that I should have one of these…..

Are you ready? It’s quite wonderful, you know. Prepare yourself…..

Ta Da!!!!


Thanks for reading and let me know your ideas to name little Piglet,


About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. And the odd thought or two.
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93 Responses to Potting Shed Finale: The Budget Version

  1. Parnassus says:

    Hello Barbara, Somehow, I wasn’t scared when I saw the first barren photo of your potting shed–I could already see that it had some architectural and siting qualities going for it, just waiting to be developed. It is already looking quite charming, and I’ll bet when it becomes even more settled in it will be the envy of the neighborhood.


  2. Jodi says:

    Oh I Love Love Love everything about this little shed, the plants, the photos, your writing, the humor. This is my favorite post ever. Oh I want that whole thing just as is plopped in my yard! PLEASE! I love every plant, statue, stone, fence post, concrete animal (and I LOVE the name Proscuitto!!! LOL!), love the dog hanging out. Oh Barbara, now I want to be your neighbor!! 🙂


    • Don’t mention Proscuitto! That will only positively reinforce my evil friend!! Bwahahaha. If I could utilize my magic powers, I would plop this down for you in a second, Jodi, and you could send me some dilly beans! But I have an idea….if you have a structure that would support it, I’ll send you some hyacinth beans….how would that be? And thanks so much!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. nrhatch says:

    Wow! Your after pics are fabulous . . . except that your potting shed needs its “bangs” trimmed so you don’t get swallowed up when you wander past that trailing vine.

    I like the idea of calling the pig Proscuitto or Proscuitto de Parma.

    Love your weather vane. Now your supervisor is on duty all the time and will be getting overtime pay!


    • Fortunately, that vine is an annual and as soon as I’m sure the beans have matured enough, I’m ripping it off.

      I cannot believe you have turned on me and are on Team Prosciutto!!!

      The weather vane….ah, it makes me smile every day. Thanks, Nancy.


      • nrhatch says:

        I know, right? How could a vegetarian vote to name a pig-on-the-hoof after a processed pork product? Mea Culpa!

        OK, let’s see . . . how about Porkie & Bess? A Pig in the Poke? Robert Porker? The Whole Hog?


      • Atta girl! I see I have you on a roll. Although my husband just read your first comment and he loves P. de Parma as well. Earlier he had mentioned Carnitas. He loves his Mexican, you know.


  4. What a great photo essay! Love the end results and look forward to the continuing adventures of the hyacinth bean vine as it overtakes the rest of your neighbourhood! 😮

    Now, as for the most delightful pottery pig, I think Prosciutto is perfect, too. However, as a second choice, I suggest Schneider. JM for short. JM Schneider is/was the name of a line of process meats here in Canada. [ducking][covering]


  5. Betsy Jones says:

    I love the way your potting shed turned out!!!Roger is so talented..He can do Anything! The ‘boys’ are precious and great supervisors.I love your humor and storytelling, you always make me laugh. As far as a name for your statue, we had a piglet named “Corky” when Austin was little that we rescued.A story for another day………..


  6. dorothy says:

    Well, of course, this project turned to be a beautiful piece of artistic talent..I always knew it would be exceptional..of course next year we won’t recognize it as the same place because you will be tweaking it constantly..what a great way to take away the stress of the day. .you and Roger are SO gifted..my vote for piglet is Rosetta as she is part of the Rosedon family..LOVE ..LOVE it all.


  7. vannillarock says:

    it looks fabulous! if you think crispy, streaky, porky, or best back too cruel, what about daisy (as in ‘pushing up..’)
    ….your shed is nicer than martha’s..


  8. dorothy says:

    I did see those corbels and so loved how creative you were with them. I have other architectural odds and ends if you’re ever interested. Loved your plant choices.


  9. Jeanie T says:

    Oh, Barbara, I love “the shed”! It is full of personality and imagination (the pretty part goes without saying). You guys put your hearts and souls into it and that makes it even more special. You get an A+ and a double promotion!
    I think the pig is a girl and that Bedelia would be a fitting name for her. Bedelia from Amelia.
    Rember the Amelia Bedelia stories? I love them. Keep up the good work you kids.


    • Amelia Bedelia! Oh, I absolutely love that (people need to know I live in Amelia county to understand why this is such a perfect suggestion!) I do remember those stories dearly now that you revive that memory. Thanks, Jeanie, and your suggestion is right up at the top of the list! XXX


  10. joannesisco says:

    I love the flow of pictures as your shed and garden took shape. What a great project!!
    … and that little porker is the cutest! I’m on Team Prosciutto … LOVED it. Although Maggie’s suggestion of Schneider made me laugh out loud. Might need to be a Canadian to get it though 🙂


  11. M-R says:

    Good GRIEF, Barbara ! – I am so impressed I can scarcely SPEAK !!! That is the most lovely and satisfying a makeover as I can remember seeing: congratulations all ’round (especially to the construction supervisor and backup) !
    And why not simply MAIALINO, for heaven’s sake ? 🙂


  12. Mary says:

    The piglet should be named “Rosie” as your lovely homestead is called Rosedon. Where on earth did you find a Westie weathervane? I just love that! Barb, you and Roger have done wonderful things to this property. I will have to more careful when I come speeding into your driveway in a two ton pickup with two Westies aboard!! I wish you could help me with my dirt patch back yard, I am at my wits end!!!


    • There are myriad weather-vaney things available on-line, Mary! Yes, Rosie appeals too, but Maialino has such a ring to it and Bedelia links to Amelia…..

      Ignore that dirt patch back yard until the dogs both get older is my advice. Pretend it is a xeriscape, dahlink.


  13. Nice project, Barbara. Beautiful transformation. Enjoyed seeing the progression.


  14. Jane says:

    Barbara, this version of the shed is a much happier place than you originally intended! You def hit a homer on this! I may have to copy the corbels for my garage pergola and will for sure try your bean vine next summer. Thanks for sharing! As for a name…..either Sizzle or Rosebud!


    • Next summer when you find yourself overrun with the vine, you may not be thanking me! No, I think it will be great on your garage pergola. It has overwhelmed its spot which is my fault, I hate to admit, for planting it in the wrong spot to begin with. OK, Sizzle as in Bacon, Jane!!??! You are aligning yourself with Team Prosciutto but also staying safe with Rosebud, I see. Either way, thanks for your contribution.


  15. Given the pig is sitting outside a ‘Potter’ shed, I’d suggest Dudley.


  16. Oh, forgot to say: WOWEE!!!!


  17. That turned out lovely. Well done.


  18. Your potting shed and landscaping are heaven! I love them! Especially the red roof.
    Another turncoat here, both boots in Team Bacon’s camp. Love Prosciutto, the way it sounds, the way it tastes wrapped around a melon ball. However, since you’re not fond of it, and it is your pig, how about Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web? Charlotte rolls off the tongue quite nicely as well.


    • Et tu, Linda?!? I am inconsolable!

      I am so happy you of the impeccable taste approve of the little potting shed garden. Won’t it look so much better when the espalier grows in and the plants reach maturity? I’ve also planted a climbing red rose to accent the roof – Red Cascade – which will climb on the fence (hopefully) next summer. All depends on what the deer and rabbits decide to sample, I guess.

      Wilbur and Charlotte appeal immensely.


  19. dorannrule says:

    Your potting shed is simply beautiful, the product of a creative mind and a whole lot of work.


    • You’re right about the work, Dor, but we took our sweet time on this project which made it so much more enjoyable. Outside projects don’t have the urgency of those inside and a few of those knocked this one down on the priority list. Hope you have a great week.


  20. Eliza Waters says:

    What a wonderful & charming project – I love all the details. The window above the box filled with colorful peppers is great! I hear boxwood is succumbing to blight, so the hollies will probably in the end be better. I thought Wilbur, too. It’s a classic.


  21. purpleviolas says:

    How lovely! You inspired me I have a similar looking little garden shed sitting in my backyard. I think it will be my next project to upgrade. Enjoy your garden shed


  22. I am so curious to see what the deer and rabbits leave unharmed. They are so invasive at my house that I can’t begin to think of doing anything as ambitious as your darling potting shed. Have you got the inside pulled together as well? I like Rosie or Bedelia, especially because I am clueless on the music reference. Please keep us posted with more pictures.


    • Oh no, Alison, the inside is a disaster the organization of which is my next project. Too many unlabeled bottles of Febreze, etc.! It always surprises me how many of my friends who live in town battle rabbits. I have them but there are enough predators to keep them manageable. The deer, however, are another matter entirely. Herds of them!


  23. Sue Mayo says:

    What a menagerie of creative ideas and hard work coming together, creating a thing of beauty and interest. I love all of the plants however my favorite things are the cement barnyard creatures starting with “Curley”. Now you’ve got a splendid “Cock of the Walk” and a nameless piglet. I am such a Pooh fan, I’m sticking with “Piglet”.


  24. reocochran says:

    Your shed and the garden surrounding it are lovely! I have a favorite ‘pig name,’ from the book, “Charlotte’s Web:” Wilbur! I just love that name, it also reminds me, what was Eddie Arnold’s pig’s name in “Green Acres” t.v. show? Smiles, Robin


    • Hi Robin! You and a few others have a fondness for “Wilbur” although I am convinced Piglet is a “she.” I googled “Green Acres” and the pig’s name was Arnold Ziffel! Oh my goodness, I’ve just entered the “way-back machine!” Thanks so much, Robin, I’m happy you like the little potting shed project.


  25. Hi Barbara,

    It’s all just lovely! Great eye! And you couldn’t have better supervisors than your Westies. They’re adorable. And I’m a huge hyacinth bean fan. Love them as an ornamental but not sure if I’d eat them. Did you ever try? And I understand Thomas Jefferson loved them too. Can’t go wrong there!



    • No, I’ve not tried eating the hyacinth bean vine and don’t intend to, for no particular reason, really. I didn’t know that about TJ liking this plant….as food or ornamental, I wonder? I’m getting ready to plant some Swiss chard into the fall garden….should be able to get one dinner out of them, I hope, before the rabbits get them. Thanks, Caroline.


  26. Barbara … Your garden and shed are glorious. Love it. Thank heaven you had a really attentive construction supervisor who really paid attention to detail.

    What to name the piggy? He does remind me of Wilbur in “Charlotte’s Web.” I quite like him. Excellent job all around. 😉


  27. Sheryl says:

    Wow, it’s amazing how you were able to use plants to make your little potting shed a beautiful (and integral) part of the garden. You have a wonderful sense of design.


    • Oh, thank you, Sheryl. And we all know the botanical disasters never see the light of my blog. LOL! It really was a total blast doing this project and I am so happy with how it turned out. Now to see what survives the winter and the deer.


  28. bkpyett says:

    Barbara, what a charming post and introduction to your changes. I adore the little dog on the wind vane. By the way I have added your name to the Social Media Tag! You’re IT!
    I hope you have time for it. 🙂


    • Hello, and yes, my little Westie weather vane (you call them wind vanes in Australia?) is my favorite bit.

      What’s “Social Media Tag?” No clue, Barbara. Shall I pop over to your blog and maybe unearth a clue? AHA! Just looked, trouble is I have no book in progress. But I’m sure I can come up with something. Too fun!


  29. Diane Ahlberg says:

    Gorgeous! But we all knew it would turn out this wonderful- it’s all in the details! Isn’t it
    Love the vine! And the fence in the back only and the flower box.. Well you get the drift.
    Good job Barb and Roger
    So well done!


  30. It looks great, you and your husband did a fantastic job (and, the construction supervisor, of course, too). I love that hyacinth vine, so luscious and vivacious!


  31. Outlier Babe says:

    This was such an enjoyable visit today, vicariously transforming an outdoor space with you and your husband. And what a beautiful job we ( 😉 ) did!

    I love everything about your new space: The careful planning, the way you did it in an unhurried way (shouldn’t our homes BE about relaxing, and yet so often we turn home projects into new stress-generators), the adorable assistants, the extremely pleasing end result which will only improve with time, and…the ultimate in weather vanes!

    (Just curious: Did you consider statice and reject it because its foliage is not the finest? I don’t know how well it grows there, but deer and bunnies leave it alone, and I’ve always loved how it keeps its blooms and colors while still in the ground even when long dead and dried.)

    Re: The name of your pig–
    I’ve been over here before, but arrive today courtesy of Maggie sparking my curiosity and kindly providing the piggy post link. And she is the one who pointed out that “Babe” is a perfectly practical and practically perfect pig name. Well, perhaps some of those words are more mine than hers. Not that I’m biased. 🙂


    • Hello, Outlier Babe and it is lovely to meet you! Thank you so much for your warm comment which I appreciate immensely. No, I did not consider statice because, to tell the truth, I don’t know this plant. Should I? I’ll have to go investigate, I guess, because anything potentially rabbit and deer-proof is a worth candidate for the garden. I agree that Babe is a magnificent swinish name!! I need to make a decision soon but the heat is off because I actually have two little pigs, so I can choose one for each sex and be done with it!! Thanks again for reading, for your kind comments, and a great name suggestion.


  32. Joanne Butler says:

    Wow, I find all the exemplary comments hard to beat! And to top off the cake, every single swines name I thought of was already suggested. My fault for failing to read your blog in a timely manner! I admit to having potting shed envy at the moment, your landscape and gardens are thrilling to see come to life! I am certain your supervisory commitee had a hand in the construction, but your creative design is what pulled it together! Kodos to the gardening diva!
    As for the magic beans, I truly love their meandering characteristics! I already have a sunny spot for them to thrive! Can’t wait for next spring!
    P.S. What about “Cochonne”? That is french for pig, and we know everything in French sounds better……


    • Good morning, Joanne! Well, yes, everything does sound better in French (and worse in German!) M-R already suggested Maialino which is Italian for piglet and my current favorite. You’ve got a little Italian heritage, right? My garden goal today is to dig out your iris before it gets too cold in your neck of the woods for planting. And I’ll include the beans! XXX


  33. Barbara, I am jealous of your new potting shed — it is absolutely charming! Few people would have considered the space around it as thoughtfully as you have, in fact I wish some of the so-called city planners in my town would take a few lessons from you!


  34. loisajay says:

    Your project turned out just beautiful! What do your construction supervisors (they are precious!) think of the concrete Prosciutto? Friends of mine had to pigs named (are you ready): Thanksgiving and Christmas. Terrible, I know. Luckily, they still have them.


  35. Ellen Hawley says:

    Great to see the transformation. And you planted the small white dog in exactly the right place.


    • It is so important to get the siting of small white dogs exactly right! Thanks so much, Ellen, it was a fun project because there was absolutely no sense of urgency towards its completion. I enjoyed every minute of it.


  36. Droelma says:

    If your little pig was mine, I would call it ” Pata Negra ” ( Black Foot ) , a breed of pigs that is used to make the very best salted and then air cured Spanish ham. I figure the name goes well, because sooner or later the little one will have dirty feet and ” Pata Negra ” is gender neutral.
    I wish I had a potting shed like you……but a potting table was all that I can accomodate on a Mexico City balcony.
    Many potting sheds look like some architect out of a fairy-wonderland developed them, or they were built for visual excellence, but not for more. Your’s gets an “X” in each box. It looks, fantastic is usable and is real. Wish I could send you something for your potting-shed-garden-community and maybe help you make a global village out of i and me into a founding mothert….jejeje.


    • Hi Droelma. It is very strange that I do not find a blog when I click on your name. I wonder what might be wrong…In any event, thank you for this kind comment. I know exactly what you mean about those potting sheds which you just know nobody ever actually does anything in them, right? I love your “Pata Negra” idea!! Very cute! And I do love the good Spanish hams….jamon serrano a favorite.


      • Droelma says:

        Search no further ! You don’t find a blog, because I don’t have one. Except a long since comatose knitting blog. I love to write and enjoy reading what others write, but often feel that I have nothing new, or at least not more interesting than what has been already written about. I also don’t know how I feel about the commitment when it comes to blogging. I don’t find blogs I find I want to comment on often, but when I do I often am disappointed when I see the persons blogs only three times a year. I would not want to become one of those bloggers at all. Maybe I need a course on ” How to increase a bloggers self esteem !


  37. Diane Ahlberg says:

    Am just paying catch- up
    Your potting shed turned out great!!
    Love the vine!


  38. Sue says:

    Hamlet? Sorry couldn’t help myself!

    Liked by 1 person

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