Improve the Looks of a Storage Shed




About: I enjoy taking a pile of junk and making something unusual out of it. I like wheeled vehicles, and currently own two motorcycles, two electric bikes that I've built, and an electric scooter pushed by a soc...

Many storage sheds are built in backyards, but never integrated into the yard itself.  By that I mean most storage sheds tend to look like an afterthought -- sort of like a "big box with a roof" fell from the sky and landed in the yard.

This instructable focuses on how I started with a new storage building and integrated it into the overall landscaping of my backyard.

The materials I used included:

- 2x6 treated lumber for building a 5' x 12' deck
- 2x6 treated lumber for the ramp
- several concrete stepping stones to level the deck
- shutters and window boxes for the storage building
- approximately 20 bags of shredded wood mulch
- steel landscaping edging
- various landscaping plants
- a drip irrigation system
- primer & paint

I didn't list the quantities of lumber & edging that I used, because that will vary depending on how large a person wants the deck, and what they need in terms of landscaping.


Step 1: Prepare and Paint the Shed

In my case I began with a new, unpainted shed.  So, my first task was to caulk all joints -- all except the underside of horizontal joints.  You want to leave the underside of all horizontal joints open to prevent moisture from being trapped.

I also calked each and every nail to prevent moisture from seeping in over time.

Once all calking was dry, I put a coat of primer on the trim, followed by two coats of trim paint.  The siding was pre-primed, so I simply applied two coats of exterior latex on it.

Whether you are starting with a new shed or working with an old one, getting a good, protective layer of paint is critical.  No shed looks good with peeling paint and rotting trim.

Step 2: Build a Ramp

I built the ramp from 2x6 treated lumber.  I didn't make photos of its construction, but basically it consists of three tapered runners, with 2x6 decking.  I made mine the width of the double doors, since I have to back a riding mower into the building.

Step 3: Build the Deck

Adding a small deck to the side of a storage shed really helps to integrate its appearance into the rest of the yard -- helps to keep it from simply looking like it "fell from the sky."

This deck is very simple.  I made a "ladder" frame of 2x6 treated lumber and decked it with the same material.

I built this deck to run the length of the building, and extend 5 feet from the side.  It's not large enough to hold a party on, but it is large enough to visually tie the building into the yard. 

Step 4: Landscape Around the Building

The final step in integrating the building into the yard is landscaping. 

In my case, I made a landscaping bed that extends around three sides of the building (the 4th side has the deck).  The bed is bordered by landscaping timbers at the base of the fence, and heavy metal edging where it joins the rest of the yard.

Before adding the mulch, I used weed preventing fabric on top of the soil, and installed a drip irrigation system.  I topped it all off with 3-4" of mulch.

Next I added various plants.  On the right side I planted some screening shrubs that will eventually get 10-15' tall.  For the next year or so I will prune these shrubs to look like trees, and within a few years these shrubs will screen that side of the building from the late afternoon sun.

I also added two solar lights -- an interior light, and a motion-detecting security light.

In the first photo you may have noticed that I put a sign on my building.  I only did this to make my neighbors wonder what I'm up to!

Step 5: It Looks Like It Belongs!

The goal of this project was to make the storage shed look like it belonged in the yard.

The key to achieving this is to visually break up the lines where the building meets the soil.  How I attempted to accomplish that objective was through the addition of the deck, the ramp, and the landscaping beds.  Each of these tend to visually soften the "attachment" of the shed to the soil.  Instead of looking as if the building just fell from the sky, it looks more like it grew naturally out of the ground.   All of these elements just sort of tie it into the rest of the yard.

Also, although you can't see it in the photos, the paint I selected for the shed matches the trim of the house.  So, the shed is visually tied to both the landscaping and the house.

Integrating a shed into a yard is not a difficult task, and it is a task that lends itself into small steps that can be done over a period of time. 

Step 6: Addendum......

While this has nothing to do with the appearance of the shed, I did add some interior shelving.  You may notice that several of the items stored inside are from instructables I have previously submitted.

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    19 Discussions


    1 year ago

    So I'm coming back three years later because I feel like I am copying (don't be bad) your style here as I've built my shed done the landscaping similar but now want to do the side deck. I plan on putting flower pots and things like that on it.

    You didn't mention and I can't tell from the picture but is the deck frame free resting on the ground? Or do you have blocks under it. I went to Lowes and they sell shed piers but those things are 12" high and your deck definitely doesn't look like it's lifted off the ground that much, Wanted to ask first before I bought Did you also screw the deck INTO the side of the shed at all? I can't decide if that's a smart thing to do or not? In one aspect as you mentioned there isn't going to be a part on my deck since it's going to be very similar in size to yours, but I'd like it secure. At the same time if the shed moves at all or the deck moves since they are both tied together that might be an issue years later. Where as if they are independent I won't have to worry about that but I would have to worry if the shed/deck moves and then there are gaps.

    Thanks again!

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    I used concrete pavers resting on the ground to support the deck, and I didn't tie the deck to the shed. Nothing has moved in all these years. Where I live, however, I don't have to worry about the ground heaving during the winter.


    Not to sound like an idiot, but I really like the picture that shows the shelf on the inside of the shed with the windows.. What was the best way that you attached the shelf to the shed wall? Is it simply 2x4 that are cut at a 45 degree angle at both ends then the shelf if bolted ontop?

    It's a very simple design that but works!

    Also your landscaping is awesome for the shed! I noticed that sheds normally sit "off" the ground a little bit. Mine for instance is sitting on 6x6 posts, so that it is off the ground a little higher. I'd LOVE to do exactly what you did with the mulch. When you added the metal "frame" that houses the mulch (curved piece) what's the best way of adding the mulch to give the appearance that it's not a "mound" IE Your mulch looks about even with the grass but also looks even with the shed on the one side. I feel like if I added mulch it would have to be a higher mound to give the same appearance... Did you cut into the ground at all to remove dirt at all or simply laid the fabric cloth down then put mulch on top of that?

    Thanks much!


    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You are correct about the shelf -- it is supported by a 2x4 cut at a 45 degree angle.

    Regarding the mulch, I first placed a weed barrier fabric on the ground right over the grass, then added the mulch. My shed sits on 4x4 treated posts. It looks like it is even with the ground most probably because of the deck I built on one side, and since the ramp on the front takes up much of the width of the front, it sort of hides the fact that the building is 4 inches off the ground. Thank you for your comment!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is really nice, I want to do this to mine. I was trying to figure out how and where to put a small patio to sit in the evening.. Perfect, Thank you


    6 years ago on Introduction

    As windows are the "eyes" of a building, consider adding more of them to make a structure look more homely. Most sheds are black holes inside when the door is shut, & improved interior illumination helps you locate things (!!) or work/shelter indoors during bad weather. \

    Even a translucent roof panel can greatly improve daytime illumination, & it's not so prone to breakage by intruders either.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great job on your shed, you really gave me some ideas on how to "jazz" mine up a bit. Well done!

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great 'able - looking for ideas for my shed, I think I may do most of these. Great work!

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Step 4

    Excelent work! I love it! Thanks for adding this..I have a new shed in my backyard..and I have been scouring the internet for ideas on how to integrate it into the garden. Thanks again!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    This is an easy project, because it can be divided into as many segments as you wish. In my case, I built the ramp and the deck in one day and installed the edging and dug the beds a few days later. A bit later I installed a drip irrigation system for the plants, so now I don't have to stand in the sun on a hot day with a hose! Good luck with your project.


    8 years ago on Step 6

    At first I thought the "Warehouse 13" thing was a little cheesy, but now that I've seen your lawnmower, I would be worried too. And by worried I mean I would be asking to borrow it all the time. This is probably the best part of the design! And your shed as a whole is amazing!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great work, I might see if I can do something like this with an old tin shed I have stored away behind the garage.