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Garden shed becomes a backyard retreat

See how a garden designer turned an old toolshed into a place to work, play, and be inspired

Backyard bliss

Backyard bliss

A party is under way at garden designer Rebecca Sweet’s house in Los Altos, California. But while the guys hover around a buffet table near the kitchen, most of the women have followed Sweet across the back garden to the woodsy cottage she jokingly calls her “chick shack.”

Inside, the sunny, inviting spot bears little resemblance to the run-down toolshed it was when Sweet and her husband, Tom Urban, bought the property from her parents in 2000. “It was nearly a man cave,” Sweet says. “I decided to take a stand against all that nonsense—ha!” Besides, she adds, she needed an office for her landscape-design business, Harmony in the Garden.

Happily, Urban agreed, and together the couple converted the structure into the backyard retreat it is now. They pushed up the ceiling to create a peaked roof; installed skylights and recycled windows; hung window boxes on outside walls with planting beds beneath; and created an outdoor potting table and tool storage area behind the shed near the back fence.



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