Playtime is important to our children’s development, especially imaginative play. When your children need more space to play than your home offers, here’s a solution: turn your old garden shed into a playhouse! (Or, if you don’t have one, you could always consider adding a new outdoor structure to your property!)

The ideas are as endless as you and your child’s/children’s imagination. First, think about their interests. Maybe you’ll go with a castle theme? A princess motif? Or a literal house, with a play kitchen or store! Or, perhaps, you’ll go with simply a specific color scheme so that your outdoor playhouse is not locked into one ideas—remember, kids’ interests can change over time and, especially, as they grow.

Aside from choosing a color for the interior and exterior, your kid-friendly atmosphere can be enhanced by wall coverings, window dressings, flooring, and furnishing. But, first things first: as you plan for your new outdoor play structure, be sure to heed age-appropriate safety measures, such as covered outlets. Also, be sure the space is insulated so kids can stay warm, even in colder months.

Here are a few ideas of features to consider as you plan:

  • Book shelves and reading area
  • Plenty of open floor space to empty out containers of blocks, dolls, cars, or other toys
  • Table for drawing, working, or board games
  • Shelving and cubbies for storage
  • Hooks for coats, aprons, sweaters, etc.
  • Bean bags or other cozy seating for reading or relaxing
  • Chalkboard, easels, and/or markerboard for inspiration
  • Exterior features such as a sandbox or little stage for those shows kids love to put on

And don’t forget lighting, access to power, and outdoor décor features. A quick search engine query can help you find floor plans and instructions, such as this blog post from The Home Depot.

Adding a backyard playhouse to your property by converting an old shed will give hours of pleasure to your children—and help with their development. 

We work hard, and there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done, whether at the office or around the house. But despite how busy our lives are, we can’t forget to take time for ourselves. Time to unwind and escape that hustle and bustle—or even a noisy TV in the living room.

We’ve all heard the term “man cave”—but what about a relaxing, backyard respite for women? With a little paint, some light construction/installation, and some décor, you can turn an old shed into a women’s retreat.

The ideas are seemingly endless to how you can transform a garden shed into a she-shed! Whether you’re looking for a sewing or craft nook, a studio, a reading lounge, an exercise room, or an open and airy meditation area, with a little work, you can carve out a space just for you. And we can’t forget that women share many of the same interests as men, so if your woman’s retreat ends ups looking like a typical man-cave, that’s OK with us!

The first step is cleaning out your existing shed so you can really get a handle on how much space you have—plus it’s easier to visualize the possibilities when you’re looking at an empty space. From there, draw up your plan—you can find ideas (even blueprints) online: many design websites feature she-shed makeovers—but don’t let the ideas sway you. Your shed should be uniquely you!

You will have so much fun watching your vision for a women’s retreat come to life—picking out colors, choosing décor, and installing shelves (maybe even a wine rack?) and getting furniture. But the best part will be sitting back and enjoying the space you’ve created!

Remember, alone-time is not just something that’s nice to have; solitude actually makes us happier and healthier! 

A new coat of paint can make your outdoor structure look as good as new! Whether you’re painting an unfinished shed for the first time, changing up the look of your existing backyard structure, or adding a fresh layer to help maintain and preserve your shed, there are a few things to consider as you prepare to get out those brushes and rollers.

Painting Your Shed Tip #1 – Choose the Right Paint

Walk into a paint store or the paint section of any home improvement or hardware store and you’ll be greeted with hundreds, if not thousands, of shades to choose from, up and down the rainbow, from the egg shell to midnight. Unless you’re re-painting in your previous shade, you’re likely to spend some time choosing a color. But don’t forget that selecting the proper TYPE of paint is important, too. For the best protection, we strongly recommend a high-quality exterior 100 percent acrylic latex paint, perhaps in a semi-gloss or satin finish.

Painting Your Shed Tip #2 – Prepare Your Surface (Or, Clean and Prime)

Before you begin to lay on the paint, you’ll want to ensure your wood surface is ready. A smooth and clean “canvas” will help prevent flaking, chipping and blistering in the future, and it also makes the painting process easier. Give your exterior walls a good cleaning, maybe bringing in a pressure washer if there are years of grit and grime. (Use caution with a pressure washer though; older, weathered wood may be damaged with too much pressure.) Sand down any rough edges, and repair or replace any broken pieces of wood. Caulk any open spaces.

After your shed is clean, you’ll then want to apply primer. This is an important step because the primer helps protect your wood, helps preserve the paint and, in general, contributes to a nicer finish.

Painting Your Shed Tip #3 – Pick the Proper Brushes

The type of brush you choose contributes to the quality of your end results. A higher quality paint brush is pricier, but consider that a better brush leads to a better application. Remember that you will need various size brushes, too. You’ll need smaller ones for around trim, windows, and other features. Rollers might be efficient for you, depending on the size of your shed and/or the height of painters!

These tips for a great paint job are just a few ideas—applying the proper number of coats, protecting areas you don’t want painted, and taking your time and being careful also will help your shed shine and your hard work last longer.

Your backyard shed, no matter how solid and sturdy, will usually require a proper foundation. Without one, it might not stay level, it will be more prone to moisture, and it could even sink into the ground.

You have several options for your shed’s foundation, including gravel, wood, concrete slab:

  • Gravel – gravel (or, crushed stone) pad shed foundations work well for small storage sheds.
  • Wood – pressure-treated wood frames are a durable, popular foundation option for sheds; the timber usually rests on cinder blocks or piers to keep the wood level and off the ground.
  • Concrete slab – a concrete slab foundation is best for larger sheds, and it’s the strongest of your options. If you plan to store tractors or heavy equipment, a concrete slab foundation is best.

Because a foundation is, for the most part, intended to be permanent, it’s important to plan properly and choose the best spot on your property to place the structure. Other things to consider about what type of foundation you choose—and where you choose to install—include drainage, wildlife, portability (as in, if you intend to move it at some point), and potential for future additions to your shed, such as plumbing or electrical.

A solid shed foundation is important for many practical reasons—protection of the structure and its contents as well as proper functioning of doors and windows. Choose the option that best suits your climate, your needs, and your budget. 

If you have an outdoor structure, such as a shed or other out-building, that you plan to spend time significant time in, proper ventilation is key to your safety and comfort.

Properly Ventilated Sheds for Safety

If you’re like a lot of people, your shed is probably part-storage, part workshop. It makes sense, then, that you could be working alongside cans of gasoline you have stored for your mower or power tools. Inhaling gas fumes can be dangerous, and proper ventilation keeps the fresh air circulating.

Aside from dangerous fumes, consider the mold and mildew that can grow inside sheds, especially in humid climates or during wet seasons; breathing in these spores can have harmful effects. Adequate ventilation can help prevent or reduce mildew and mold growth by controlling moisture.

Properly Ventilated Sheds for Comfort

Shed ventilation also helps contribute to a comfortable working environment by keeping air fresh, controlling temperatures, and letting any odors out. Aside from roof vents, don’t forget that doors and windows also add to your air control options! If you do plan to work in your shed often, consider installing a fan.

Properly Ventilated Sheds for Structural Integrity

Your home’s roof can be damaged by excessive moisture over time. The same goes for your shed. If your workshop or storage space gets too moist, your structure could weaken. Properly ventilating your storage shed will prolong its life—as well as protect its contents.

Many storage sheds come with vents, but depending on how you plan to use your shed, you may want to consider more. If you’re looking to add ventilation options to your shed, remember that Valley Structures offers a variety of garden vents and gable vents. 

This month, we’re dedicating our blog posts to a few of the many ways you can transform your outdoor structure from an empty shell usually meant for storage into something practical. In the last part of this three-part series we’ll talk about keeping chickens.

Today, many families are interested in self-sustaining lifestyles for health, environmental, or economic reasons. You don’t have to live on a farm to reap the benefits of fresh eggs or raising your own poultry.

Adding a chicken coop to your property is a bit easier when you start with a ready-made outdoor structure, such as the sheds offered at Valley Structures. Here are some things to consider:

  • Each chicken will need about 4.5 square feet of space; think about your capacity! You don’t want overcrowding.
  • You’ll want to install roost-shelving/nest boxes to give chickens a place to roost. Many coops use a 2×4 board as a roosting bar.
  • Consider a droppings board, which would be installed under the roosting bar.
  • Chickens can share nests—three nests for every eight chickens is a good rule of measure.
  • Add in vents, windows, and doors. Vents and windows help with air circulation, and a door allows chickens to come out during the day for air and sun.
  • A need for more fresh air – depending on how hot it gets where you live, you might need more ventilation. You could remove one or part of the wall panels, and add in wire mesh.
  • Be sure to account for storage space for buckets, shovels, etc.

Once you have your coop set up, it’s time to get your flock! 

This month, we’re dedicating our blog posts to a few of the many ways you can transform your outdoor structure from an empty shell usually meant for storage into something practical. In the second installation of this three-part series we’ll look at how you can garden or create a potting room with a storage shed.

Backyard sheds aren’t limited to just being used for storing gardening equipment; they also can be a functional space for green thumbs.

Think about what you’ll be using the space for, and then plot out the interior accordingly. Think about your working surface as well as adequate storage space. What kind of potting table best suits you? Think about lighting: will you need to add more windows, and do you want to also install electricity so you can have lamps? What else might you need power for? Will you need wi-fi? And, of course, you’ll want to have a sink, so plumbing is another consideration.

Aside from creating a place for you to work, you can also make your new potting shed a bit of retreat. Add some comfortable seating and décor. Artfully arrange your tools—make good use of the ceilings and walls. What can you hang? What needs a shelf?

Don’t forget about the exterior. How can you paint, trim, or decorate your shed so that it blends in with the landscape? Add some character. Make it part of the art of your backyard!

Like any place where you “put your stuff,” things can quickly get overwhelming and overcrowded. While self-discipline is always needed to put things away where they belong, outfitting your shed with the right organizational tools and storage options will help you keep things in tip-top shape.

First, think about what items you need to store. Do you have a lot of small items? What about tools? How about large items like a mower or tractor? And what about chemicals and other things that should be stowed out of reach from kids and pets? Once you have an idea of your inventory, you’ll be able to decide the best way to organize your shed. (You could take your inventory a step further and get rid of duplicate items, perhaps a yard sale?)

Then, imagine your new space. If you have lots of small items, you might want to install shelves and get bins and baskets. If you have a lot of long-handled yard tools, you’ll want to get some hooks. Here are a few storage ideas to consider:

Hooks on the doors – hang your yard and garden tools (rake, hoes, etc.) on the inside door; this will free up your walls for shelving.

Shelves, shelves and more shelves – install wooden or open-metal shelves along the walls, and feel free to go high as you can (store items not used often on top). An option is to purchase shelving units. Add a variety of heights to allow for different-size items. Peg boards are also a smart organizational option.

Declutter – get some bins to place smaller items in; this will keep your shelves and surfaces neater.

Exterior hooks – don’t forget that you can make use of the outside walls to hang tools—or even decorations.

Finally, head on out and purchase the materials you need, and get to work on installing and reorganizing. And remember—the new design and layout is one thing, but putting things away is another!

One final thing to consider as you plan to organize your shed: a bigger shed to make more room for your items! 

Think of your storage shed or other outdoor structure as an extension of your house. This means keeping it in mind for larger landscaping projects, or using it as the focus for its own design theme. Here are a few things to consider when thinking about landscaping around your structures.


Adding landscaping around the perimeter—or part of the edges—of your shed adds some beauty to your backyard. There are more ideas here than a blog post could possible contain—but consider the flowers and plants that best suit your personality, desired look and the climate in your area. You may also think about planting shrubs, bushes or a tree or too.


Don’t forget that brick and stone can be beautiful AND functional. Consider building a path made of brick or stone.


Aside from plants and stones, consider what else can add to the atmosphere. Trellises (with climbing vines!), birdhouses or birdbaths, benches, sun dials, metal folk art, and more can be nice touches.

Water Features

Small ponds or fountains can add to the ambiance of the area, too.


Whether you want to make the backyard building a part of a larger theme or if you want it to serve as an anchor to a separate project, there are many, many ideas to explore. You’re only limited by your imagination! 

Want to dress up your storage shed? From adding pops of color to finding news uses for your structure, here are a few ways you can upgrade your storage shed.

Give it a Paint Job

It’s seem so simple—just to slap on a new coat of paint. But don’t underestimate the power of color and how it can freshen up your shed and your entire yard. Choose a vibrant shade with a complementary trim color—maybe an accent shade for the doors.

Add Window Dressing

If your shed doesn’t already have shutters, consider adding some. They really can add to the look of your shed! While you’re at it, install some flower boxes and fill with colorful varieties. This literally adds some life to your outdoor structure.

Tack on Décor

A nice shade doesn’t have to be the only thing covering your exterior walls. Consider adding outdoor-safe adornments such as signs, barn stars or other decorative accents. An awning can be a nice touch, too.

Create a Functional Space

Have you ever thought of creating a small sitting area? The side of your shed can become a nice place to relax; just add on a small deck or patio and top with outdoor furniture.

Remodel or Install New Features

A few other ways to upgrade your storage shed including adding vinyl siding, which also adds more protection, or putting in skylights. There are plenty of things you can do to the interior, such as new storage options and other organizational projects.