Before and After: A Curbly House Garden Shed and Mini Backyard Makeover

by on Aug 8, 2014

House with overgrown garden with trailer in front yard.

The inside of the Curbly House has received a whole lot of love over the last couple years, while the backyard has been ignored with a capital “I”.

We partnered with Lowe’s to make some small improvements to the backyard and ended up with a mini makeover that improved the area tenfold. Read on for all the details.

A small wooden shed is outside in the shade.

When we moved into the Curbly house, the yard was overgrown, neglected, and not a space anyone wanted to spend any time. These traits coupled with months of major construction (that involved lots of heavy machinery), left our yard a hot, jungle-y mess.

An in-progress garden/yard that is in the process of gardening/improvement.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle.

Our house borders our alleyway, and we are fenceless, which means our entire backyard is on display as our neighbors exit and enter their homes each day. While many of them have been kind and patient as we’ve worked to improve our house, the eyesore that is our backyard is hard to overlook.

As much as I wish I was a person who didn’t care about the look of the yard, I am, and coming up with a solution to its many problems has been quite the conundrum. I knew we needed to make some improvements to the yard for the sake of aesthetics, function, and my piece of mind. 

In addition to being unsightly, a major thing we were lacking in our backyard is a proper garage. While a place to store our vehicles would be nice, we desperately needed a place to store all of our outdoor tools, bikes, strollers, and equipment. Since our future round of home improvements includes a new garage, we decided a garden shed was the ticket, because it would dramatically improve our storage situation.

We selected a modest sized (6×9 foot) cedar garden shed that we ordered directly from (it’s the Cedarshed Rancher 6×9 model). We chose a panelized shed, which means it comes flat-packed on a pallet and you just screw it together. Delivery was $80 and they left it right in the back yard:

A red and white package is on the ground.

Next, we set to work planning out the best way to use it in our yard. We decided to place it in the southwest corner of our yard, where an old garage once sat (we discovered the old foundation as we prepared the space). We decided on this corner because it helped balance out the yard and was an easy area for us to access.

Prior to building the shed, Bruno poured a concrete slab with help from a friend and a modest cement delivery. While you can place sheds like this on a variety of foundations (wood, poured cement footings, etc.) we decided to go with a solid concrete slab, for the sake of longevity.

Wood slats in a rectangle hold poured concrete in place.

Brush cleared, we prepared the concrete molds and got ready to pour!

The shed arrived prefabricated, and our charge was to puzzle the pieces together with the help of a lengthy instruction manual. Assembling the shed was a great adventure, but the quality of the pieces was outstanding, making it easy to work with. All told, the shed was put together in a day. We had two people working on it at all times, which made the process of piecing it together more efficient.

A wooden house that is being built outside in the daylight.

Once the shed was together, we added a few plants around it (we purchased a few and transplanted several from the overgrown garden area of the yard). We then created a walkway from our house to the shed using mulch flanked with limestone leftover from a foundation wall that we removed during our addition. 

The result is a back yard we’re no longer afraid to look at. Have a look!

A new wooden shed with a flower bed around the side ringed by rocks.

Our plantings were mostly moved from other spots in the back yard. They should fill in a little more next spring.

A light brown shed is in the shade.

A wooden shed in the shadow of a large tree.

And here’s a shot with the doors open to give you a sense for what we’re able to fit inside (remember this is a 6’x9′ shed):

Bikes, and other recreational gear are neatly arranged in a wood storage shed.

That’s three adult bikes, one child tag-along bike, two kids’ bikes, a snow blower, a bike trailer, a weed whacker, and some other assorted stuff. Plus room to spare!

Since we didn’t use the cedar floor system that comes with the shed, Bruno decided to re-purpose the lumber. He built this handy little tool storage locker on the alley side of the shed:

An outdoor shed has hanging yellow garden tools.

Not entirely beautiful, but it gets all those tall yard tools out of the way nicely.

We’re choosing not to stain or seal our shed. The cedar will weather over time and take on a grayish/silver appearance, which we like ’cause it’ll match the color of our house! 

So if you’re short on storage space and have room in your yard, I’d strongly recommend you look at adding a shed. It’s pretty easy to do, and has a huge impact on the yard. Now I’m off to do some gardening!

A wooden gate with a round wicker table in front of it holding a pair of yellow gardening gloves, a white watering can and a brown planter with gardening tools and a white flowering plant in it.

Thanks to Lowe’s for sponsoring this post. All opinions are mine alone.

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  1. DesigningMom

    Great job. I love the repurpose of the shed floor too. Brilliant use of spare parts.