MOTHER's Homemade Garden Toolshed

Build MOTHER's homemade garden toolshed. A central location and a few special features are the keys to this structure's usefulness, including construction, building tips, photos, cross-sectional diagram and finishing touches.

| September/October 1985

MOTHER's homemade garden toolshed solves an age-old problem. Good tools are a gardener's best friend—unless, that is, the tools never seem to be close at hand when you need them! (See the homemade toolshed photos and diagram in the image gallery.)

Such was the situation not long ago at MOTHER's one-acre self-reliant homestead. It's true we're pleased with our progress so far in applying the principles of permaculture—in which all elements work together in mutual support. But we realized one day, when retrieving a tool (for the umpteenth time!) from one of our beds behind the house so we could use it in the herb bed in front, that there was a missing cog in our otherwise nicely turning wheel. We needed a single, central place in which to maintain and store our garden tools.

The small, closet-like shed you see here solved that problem. Though its construction is conventional, it has some interesting, unusual features: The horizontal barrel bin is used both for cleaning tools and for soaking flats of seedlings (which are often best and most easily watered from below). And the sand bin contains a mixture of coarse sand and vegetable oil in which tools are plunged for rust protection before hanging them up for the day.

The real key to our shed's usefulness, though, is its location: a high-traffic area at the west end of the house, close to the kitchen door and against an otherwise unused wall—a place that we pass whenever we're walking to or from just about anywhere else on the homestead. So getting, cleaning, or putting back a tool no longer requires a special trip; we just stop at the shed on our way to wherever we're going.

Construction of the Homemade Garden Toolshed

Because our shed's design is site-specific, and since the ideal location for such a structure on your property will surely be different (for example, you might need to build a freestanding unit), we won't attempt to give you detailed plans here. Instead, we'll just recount the major construction and design features of our add-on shed, and leave it up to you to adapt our ideas to your situation.

The dimensions of the concrete block wall on which we'd decided to build the shed essentially determined the structure's height and width—and since we planned to include a barrel bin for cleaning tools, we allowed more than enough depth to accommodate that. We also wanted to give the shed's roof a 2-in-12 pitch, to match that of the house.

9/12/2015 4:12:30 PM

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5/18/2009 9:12:19 PM

I'm curious about the oil/sand mix you use on your tools. I live in South Texas and I'm afraid the oil would turn rancid pretty quick down here. Would I be better off using a lightweight (gasp) petroleum-based household oil?

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