Swiss Army Garden Shelf

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About: Architect/designer based between Chicago and SE Minnesota. Resource based problem solver... in other words, I always take a minute to peek in construction dumpsters :) ---the way some have to workout everyd...

Intro: Swiss Army Garden Shelf

The simplest way I know to make cooking, gardening, home improvement easier is to place tools at hand where they are needed.

In the kitchen... we use our 'Swiss Army Shelves' to make spices and tools readily available.
In the garden... we have a shelf for the most commonly used tools right by our side door.

The Shelf Design

  • Protection... shelf provides shelter for a range of tools below
  • Convenience... tools are available and visible if you look for them
  • Flexible... easy to modify shelf and accessories to hold anything we need

Existing Fence... we are fortunate to have a 4' fence. This provides the right height for a small work-surface and also storage that's not at eye level. Easy to work with your fence or use a couple 2x4s to mount a shelf from existing posts.

Step 1: Materials (building + Accessories)

Materials for Installation

Accessories for Shelf

  • Exterior Solar Lights- I don't secure the lights... that way I can move them when spider webs start to form in the area. I can also use move them around the yard if I need to light a table
  • Bar Magnet - my favorite and what motivated this posting. Every time I stick a tool or knife to a bar magnet I find it very satisfying! 18" bar magnets are my standard
  • Door Hardware - a drawer pull is very useful to hang a spay bottle
  • Screw in Hooks - here's a pretty complete set on amazon

Step 2: Secure the Shelf

My approach is to drill and screw the shelf in place. It's the right height or me to get weight on the drill. Here are the steps I follow.

  1. Locate... I set the first screw into the top of a treated post
  2. Drill the Hole... I use the glass drill bit and spray some water to help transfer heat and lubricate
  3. Sink Screw... from there I drop in a 3" wood screw (photos in next step)

Step 3: Install Screw

Pretty straightforward to sink a screw in two holes to mount the shelf. For my installation weight is squarely on the post and the bracing. Materials are also all waterproof + treated.

Untreated? consider adding a plastic shim or mounting your shelf on a slight angle (2%) to allow water to run off. For plastic shims I recommend stacking a couple layers of milk jug plastic and screwing through the material. You may also want a gasket at the screw. For a rubber gasket consider cutting up an old bike tire.

Taller Fence? consider adding a 2x4 to existing posts to create supports for your shelf.

Step 4: Mounting Tools + Flexibility

Main Value. Please see that a main value is having an easy place to secure + shelter your tools.

The shelf is something I put together after I had most of my beds set for the season. Most of the tools you see in the photos are used for managing the garden.

In the series of photos I show some of my favorite garden tools:

  • Surgical Scissors - a set of surgical scissors is my go to in the garden. ---I received these as a gift from a friend... I like the clean design
  • Olfa Cutting Tool - the Olfa knife from architecture school really is one of the best tools I own. If you ever see anyone using a standard exacto knife ask them to stop ---you will change their world by giving them this phenomenal tool!
  • Staple Gun + Staples - amzn.to/2NjRyIO
  • Galvanized Watering Can - amzn.to/2NjYlm6
  • Galvanized Wire - amzn.to/2zIdQ57
  • Miracle Grow (mixed in milk jugs) - amzn.to/2zHGyDi

*Note on Organic Gardening... as a novice gardener I really enjoy my approach to an intensive garden. over the coming months I hope to share my approach. Organic gardening is a higher order. I am using fertilizer as a way to boost my overly dense, intensive crops.

Step 5: Thanks

Thank you! Hope you found this instructable useful!

Here are a few other recent instructables set in the garden:

Here is the original shelf instructable:

My Approach. It's simple. The goal is to use creativity to add value to our life. Appreciate this wonderful venue to share ideas. thank you for reading :) follow jprussack for more

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