Disguising an Eyesore, Granting a Wish

What is on your garden wish list? A Lunaform pot? A gazebo? Hot tub (please, don’t make me go there . . .)?  Several years ago, I had a client whose list included a potting shed. Only problem was, she had a minuscule back yard and many, many other items on that list. She also had an unsightly under-deck area courtesy of her contractor.

Deck supports

This part of my client's back yard gave me pause, to say the least, when I first saw it.

Hmm, I thought. Not to worry, she said, the contractor was going to “screen” it for her with lattice work. So he did.

Under deck lattice screening

The contractor's version of under-deck screening

Better? I’ll let you be the judge, but I thought it was pretty ugly. And there was still the matter of the potting shed. I came up with an idea. I huddled with our company’s ace carpenter and special projects manager. I consulted with the client; there was really no room for a real potting shed, I pointed out (and in another post, I’ll show you the whole lot and you’ll realize why). But we could give her the illusion of one and solve a difficult aesthetic problem at the same time.

Under deck screening

Voila! A "faux" potting shed, complete with stone planter area for annuals and clematis

The door you see on the left leads to the under-deck storage area, where the clients keep firewood and where the air conditioning units are located. We took design elements, including the slat openings in the door and screening, from the style of fencing the owners had installed around the yard, and I added lattice panels to provide support for clematis and dress up the woodwork a bit. The client was delighted, and we had solved a pesky problem by turning an eyesore into a plus in the landscape.

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10 Comments on “Disguising an Eyesore, Granting a Wish”

  1. John Says:

    What a nice solution! It’s hard to see from the picture how you end up with steps leading to the ‘shed’ but I assume the elevations warrant it. The latticework is a really nice touch that raises the bar for the overall design. I also assume there was a reason why you couldn’t come further out into the yard for a fully functional potting shed.

    • Melissa Says:

      Yes, the distance from the edge of the panels to the fence was about 12-1/2 feet and we had to include a small patio with an inset water feature, while leaving planting bed space. Stay tuned for further posts and photos that will show how tiny the space was/is.

  2. Pam/Digging Says:

    What a beautiful solution!


  3. What a great solution! That really was an eyesore…

    • Melissa Says:

      Janet and Pam, thanks for the kind words. This particular project ended up being featured in an article in Fine Gardening on solutions to common design problems, which was also a nice plus.

  4. Laurrie Says:

    I am impressed. It’s an elegant solution to a real eyesore, and very creative. Is the right side open where the ac units are for ventilation or did they get enclosed as well?

    • Melissa Says:

      It’s completely open. The owners keep firewood under the deck as well as the A/C units, and the door that enters the enclosed space from the little patio is actually somewhat small, so we wanted to allow access more readily from the side, which isn’t visible from the patio area. Thanks for your comment!


  5. This is lovely! So much nicer than that nasty lattice.

  6. David Helvie Says:

    Do you have more pictures of this shed/under deck screen, or details? What wood did you use? What is the paint and color? Is your design protected? May I use it?

    Thanks, Dave

    • Melissa Says:

      Dave, I have some “during” photos but am not sure where they are on my computer. We used cedar (to match the fencing) and my carpenter more or less built it from some very rough sketches I did so there are no construction details as such. No paint – it just weathered to match the surrounding fence. Feel free to use the design and/or modify it for your needs. Happy to help!


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