Step inside this fairy-tale garden shed
A little ingenuity helps turn recycled materials into a charming garden workspace
From the outside, Gail and Mark Dupar’s shed looks like a cozy vacation cabin, or something out of “Hansel and Gretel.” But the cordwood structure is really the nerve center of the couple’s kitchen garden, on Decatur Island in Washington’s San Juans. Here they start seedlings, arrange flowers, raise tomatoes, store tools, and dry freshly harvested shallots on the warm brick floor.
The Dupars built the shed in about two months, using recycled beams from a pier repair project and cedar that they found on a nearby beach and then sliced into rounds. The finishing touch? Yard-sale windows.
A 12-foot-long slab of cedar makes a durable workbench.
Clear glass bottles let light from the greenhouse filter into the main shed. Darker bottles, marbles, and twiggy prunings fill in around them.
An antique leaded glass window hangs from an overhead beam. It sparkles when backlit by the sun.
The shadecloth-covered glass roof helps brighten the 8- by 12-foot greenhouse, where tender plants spend the winter.
The floor consists of brick set in sand atop filter fabric, for easy drainage.
A former kitchen cabinet holds vases, seeds, and books. Hand tools are plunged blade down in a sand-filled crock.
A recycled wood table is where Gail arranges fresh-cut flowers. Excess clippings go into a can beneath it for composting later.
Turn flea market finds into planters for tiny succulents (drill holes in the bottoms). Gail Dupar uses them as “gifts to go.”