Angie's List is now Angi. Learn more
Interested in a Garage Builders job?
Begin your search for pros in your area
Search for pros

How to Build a Charming DIY She-shed

Courtney Allison
Written by Courtney Allison
Updated October 27, 2021
(Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

A she-shed is the perfect solution for some peace and beauty in your landscaping.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

It is no secret that I have a wee little love affair with flowers and outdoor living. And the idea of having a special spot for relaxing, creating and cottage gardening sounded pretty amazing - and the idea of installing a she-shed was born. 

A she-shed is the perfect way to create a relaxing outdoor living spot. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

A disclaimer: This she-shed isn't just a shed. 

It is a flower-arranging dream place. A girl's-night-in, dinner-party-in-the-garden, relaxing-with-a-book, or working-on-the-computer retreat. And it is even a spot for sleeping on those hot summer nights. It is definitely a French cottage retreat for me - and installing it was much easier than you might think.

The she-shed is perfect for a relaxing evening. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

We started our she-shed dreaming with a charming shed kit that was full of windows and cottage charm. This is a prefab greenhouse kit - meaning it is prefabricated panels and pieces which makes building it much easier and faster. 

Tip: Know your area building code and what you need to do before building. And if you are not familiar with power tools such as saws, make sure you hire a contractor or construction-savvy friend help out.

Step 1: Level the yard

We started by leveling an area of our yard to build the shed. Though the shed instructions state that you do not need a foundation, we put in a simple raised foundation to keep it off the ground (and away from moisture) and to allow for a European-style pea gravel floor.

Leveling the yard and adding a foundation is optional, but it will help keep moisture away. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)
Spread pea-gravel for a unique flooring option. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

Step 2: Place and secure wall panels

After allowing for the foundation to dry, it was time to start putting up the wall panels. The walls were prefabricated pieces, complete with windows pre-installed, and they went up quickly. Each panel was secured to the next panel and to the foundation with a bolt. 

Pre-fabricated wall panels made installation a breeze. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

One panel, two panels, three panels, four panels and so on, until all the walls were up.

Carefully install the she-shed walls. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)
The walls come in panels to easily assemble. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

Step 3: Add top gable

Once the walls were all up, it was time to add the top gable end areas.

This is definitely not a one-man job - some of these panels are quite heavy and took three of us holding and lifting to get installed, so enlist your bodybuilder friends to help out. 

The upper peak panels have cut out areas for the vents to be installed as well, which will allow for nice airflow through the greenhouse.

Add the top gables. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

Step 4: Install rafters

Then it was installing the rafters. I have to say, the great thing about this kit is that every single board was numbered and the instructions corresponded with the numbers, which makes it much easier to construct and get it right the first time. And since it was a prefab kit, that meant that each piece was ready to slot into the next. The rafters were also prefab in each section, and then it was time for the roof panels and finishing touches such as corner trim, vent installation, fascia boards and a coat of paint.

Get friends to add the roofing panels. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

The clear plastic roofing panels are simply installed right on the rafters with bolts for a clean and sun-filled look year round. 

Clear plastic roofing allows plenty of sunlight. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

Step 5: Add paint and final touches

Once the basic shed construction was wrapped and it was painted inside and out, it was time for landscaping and making this feel like a little retreat in the yard.  

We painted the exterior a beautiful white and added landscaping. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

Honestly, I could probably do an entire post just on cottage gardens and how to get that charming overgrown mingling look. We made several trips to the garden center to get the filled-in look, and I started with some cottage garden favorites - foxgloves, lavender, boxwood, white roses and verbena.

Foxgloves, roses and lavender made the perfect addition. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

We also found several large wisteria that were already tall and stately for the corners.

Paint the exterior and consider what plants you want to add. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

Tip: Make sure to till up the soil well and mix in quite a bit of potting soil to help amend it when planting your new plants. Our dirt is full of a lot of clay and plants struggle sometimes, so it is always a good idea to give them the best start you can by amending the soil and giving them a nutrient-rich base to start growing in.

One by one the plants went in. The wildflower seeds started to grow and the path to the shed was filled with pea gravel. 

Pea gravel was perfect for the she-shed path. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

And here is how it turned out:

Completed she-shed. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

The outside

A fresh coat of cottage white paint created a charming backdrop for the colors of nature. The dutch door was one of my favorite features about this greenhouse kit.

The exterior of the she-shed. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

The garden is growing in beautifully. We have planter areas around the front and each side, as well as on the sides of the pea gravel path. We used whiskey-barrel planters to give the garden a little more character and a vintage picket fence to create a small side yard on one side where we could string cafe lights for evening ambiance.

Whiskey barrel planters were perfect for the landscape. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

On the other side of the path, wildflowers cover a grassy hill.

Wildflowers add plenty of natural beauty. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)
The variety of wildflowers add more color. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

And just beyond that next to the greenhouse, there is a small table for garden dining.

A small dining table was perfect for the she-shed. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

The inside

An area for work and play. A place to inspire and dream. And a spot to relax. The inside of the she-shed is all about creating a space to escape to and hideaway for a bit. And for me, that means French cottage charm, elegance and lots of flowers.

The she-shed interior is simple and stunning. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

Inside you will find an antique French daybed that is as comfortable as it is pretty.

A daybed adds a vintage, pretty look. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

And a sitting area lit by a beautiful vintage inspired chandelier. 

A chandelier is a unique, elegant touch to the she-shed. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

The daybed does double duty and is pretty much perfection in this European inspired spot. It serves as a spot to sit during the day and also a spot for a nap or spending the night outdoors with all those windows open. It is also perfect for guests as an extra bed.

Another spot that is a favorite- an area where we added shelves to create a place for play. For me that means clipping and arranging flowers, but it would be easy to use this area for a wide variety of things.

At night, this charming little shed absolutely glows and feels like a tiny house in the backyard.

A beautiful glow suffuses the shed at night. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)
The dining area is wonderful for warm summer evenings. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)
String lights make the landscaping glow. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Allison/The French Country Cottage)

What do you think of our new little spot to escape?

Angie's List Blogger Program

 

Are you a DIY expert? Do you have your own blog or website to prove it? Contact us to learn more about blogging opportunities with Angie’s List.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.