Within easy reach

This garden room uses hardware-store items in fresh ways

Jim McCausland

When Calvin Luce and his wife, Patty, bought a home in Washington's Gig Harbor in 1998, they decided that a gardening room was a necessity. So for a total cost of about $2,000, Calvin converted an unfinished storage space to accommodate their needs. In Calvin's words, planning ahead for the project was "like building the kitchen before trying to fix a meal."

Indeed, the customized space is as well organized as a good kitchen, keeping everything from pruners to pots at the Luces' fingertips. The room's genius comes from simple materials, cleverly used ― most of them are sold for other tasks at hardware stores. Epoxy-coated wire closet racks, for instance, hold watering cans and new transplants in pots, and galvanized containers serve as bins for storing bagged fertilizers and the like. The room also has a panel of perforated hardboard for storing hand tools, standard wood shelves for packaged goods like plant food, wall pegs for drying herbs and flowers, and a generous work surface with a built-in sink.

PLANT SHELVES

Potted plants sit on a rack above a galvanized evaporation tray (made by a sheet-metal fabricator). The tray catches the overflow when the plants are watered. Above the shelf, fluorescent lights illuminate plants during their stay indoors.

HANGING WALLS

Perforated hardboard and open wood shelves keep favorite tools in plain sight. A gardening book on a metal stand is always open for quick reference, and a basket (at lower left) holds garden gloves.

STORAGE BINS

Galvanized containers store soil amendments. The drawers are positioned on 100-pound slides; the pullout shelf holding the 30-gallon can of potting soil uses 200-pound slides.

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