Make A Potting Shed Out of Scraps

Drive west across San Francisco as far as possible, nearly to the ocean; you can see the water from the end of the block. In the foggy Outer Sunset surfer district, restaurant owners Dave Muller and Lana Porcello built two potting sheds from wood scraps and old windows. You can too. Here’s how to recreate the look of one of them:

Photographs by Michelle Slatalla for Gardenista.

Above: Much of the harvest ends up on the menu at the couple’s nearby Outerlands restaurant. The key to the design was to be flexible, to accommodate the size and shape of available materials. Builder Jay Nelson helped design both greenhouse sheds and then constructed them, as well, using salvaged redwood and Douglas fir and reclaimed windows. Much of the material came from San Francisco’s Building REsources, a non-profit scrap yard and salvage store.

Vintage windows came from nearby Sunset Glass. “These were windows they didn’t think they could re-sell,” says Porcello.

Above: Inside the large shed, wall-mounted wooden plant boxes have slanted sides to help with drainage and to reduce the weight of the soil, says Porcello, adding, “But it was largely an aesthetic decision, to give visibility and a cascading effect to the plants.”

Above: Made of solid wood and screwed together for stability, a Cedar Wood Planter Box (L) is available in two lengths, at prices ranging from $50.52 to $52.68 (minimum order size is six planters) from Wood Things. A 22-pound bag of Polished Black Garden Rocks (rock size ranges from 2 to 3 inches) will cover 1.25 square feet at a depth of 2 inches; available for $21.90 per bag from Stone Decorative. (Porcello buys rocks and bags of organic potting soil from Sloat Gardens a few blocks from her house.)

Above: Simple latches, hooks, and hinges came from a local hardware store.

Above: A similar selection of potted herb plants, including Organic Italian Oregano and Organic Tuscan Blue Rosemary are available for $9.95 per plant from Williams-Sonoma Agrarian.

Above: A similar Crassula Potted Plant (L) is $7.99 from Ikea. A Ronnbar Plant Pot with a drain hole in the bottom is $5.99 from Ikea.

To see what Muller and Porcello used to design their second shed, visit Gardenista.


Claudia Acosta
Claudia Acosta7 months ago

2 years ago and I see the last comment is mine. :( The only plant that I have is a crassula, don't have any space ...

Claudia Acosta
Claudia Acosta3 years ago

I want one like this...some day I will have the space :)

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

love it

Jessica Sutton
Past Member 3 years ago

beautiful. thanks!

Bill K.
Bill K3 years ago

definitely something i want to do if i can ever get out of this apartment

greenplanet e.
greenplanet e4 years ago


Still some pricey items, however.

Terry V.
Terry V4 years ago


Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago


Karin J.
Karin J4 years ago

wouldnt look that good if i had done it :D

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby4 years ago

thank you