A recycled garden shed: a dream come true

Maree White shares her story of how a dream came true – building a garden shed out of recycled materials.

The dream garden shed. Photo: Maree White

Ever since I was a four-year-old tottering along behind my grandad in his garden and glasshouse, eating the grapes and tomatoes as we went, I was hooked on gardening, and dreamed one day to have a glasshouse of my own.

Fast forward 30+ years to 2020. I have my own little piece of garden paradise in Paekākāriki and a desperate need for a garden shed. With a bit of time on our hands during the April 2020 lockdown, I began to hatch a plan

. My husband embraced my love of gardening and all the little things that come with that – my bad habit of leaving my tools everywhere as they didn’t really have a home base and, in late winter early spring, seedlings perched on dressers and windowsills around the house that, on several occasion, succumbed to inquisitive toddler fingers reaching up.

I had a vision to build a garden shed out of old recycled wooden windows. I loved the look and feel of them and the opportunity to reuse materials. A friend of mine in the village joked with our husbands about how hard can it be – there’s a nine-minute YouTube clip that shows you how to do it?!

Photo: Maree White

Over the course of 2020, I put the word out on our local village Facebook group and searched the $1 reserve Trade Me listings. After a few months I managed to find the little gems that suited the vision. It just so happened to coincide with a brilliant piece in the NZ Gardener magazine that had step-by-step instructions on how to build a recycled window glasshouse – perfect!

So with essential materials in hand, we started to plan the build. ‘Of course I’m going to build it’, said my husband, ‘We’re not getting a builder in!’ The old shed, which was basically a rat haven, got the old heave-ho and the summer project got underway. It took slightly longer than the nine-minute YouTube clip – more like five days – but we now have the most beautiful glasshouse and potting space of my dreams. I even managed to grow egg plants last summer.

Nick White at work. Photo: Maree White

Thank you so much to my amazing husband Nick for embracing this project. I would like to say this has now resolved the issue of tools being left all around the garden, but I think Nick might attest otherwise!

Thank you very much to the Paekākāriki residents who donated various windows and doors, and more recently, a 10-litre bucket of white paint so I can finish off some of the exterior this coming summer – if it ever stops raining!

Now it’s time to give the glasshouse a good old spring clean in preparation for the new season ahead.

Photo: Maree White

Paekākāriki.nz is a community-built, funded and run website. All funds go to weekly running costs, with huge amounts of professional work donated behind the scenes.  If you can help financially, at a time when many supporting local businesses are hurting, we have launched a donation gateway.