Looking for ways to complete a garden shed makeover? Try painting it! Wait until you see how a can of paint can completely transform an eyesore garden shed. Keep reading to learn more about how to paint a garden shed.

When we first purchased our garden shed twenty years ago, we wanted it to match our home. At that time, our house was a cute yellow ranch with red trim. Truth be told, I’ve never loved the shed color and have no idea why we felt the need to match the house.

File this one under “what were they thinking?” Wait until you see this before and after transformation!

(This post is Part I of a two-year shed makeover. For Part II, see the bottom of the post).

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Before the Garden Shed Makeover

For years, we joked that our shed resembled mustard and ketchup. It’s not terrible and doesn’t look awful, but my eye goes right to it when viewing this corner of the property.

Some of the shed’s trim was rotting, there was a ton of debris behind it, and quite frankly, it was time to make this corner of the yard look pretty. My vegetable garden is housed directly in front of the garden shed. (That also needed to be rehabbed, but we saved that project for later.)

I am out here all the time during the growing season and don’t love the look anymore, so it was time for an update. Since I started blogging, I have noticed certain exterior home details that distract from the gardens.

The garden shed is one of those details that I often avoided photographing because, to me, it didn’t look good and clashed with my backyard garden beds. Not loving it anymore, I decided to fix it up and paint it – and I learned a ton about repainting a shed along the way!

For years, I’ve wanted to update it but sat on the idea because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Does that happen to you too?

After getting serious about updating it, I researched garden shed makeover ideas on Pinterest and found some neutral inspo that I loved.

So I ran with it and the transformation is incredible! If you’ve got an old shed renovation on your list of house projects, then this post is for you! I’ll be sharing the process of updating my shed and giving out my best ideas for painting garden sheds.

Achieving Fall Color in the Garden with Foliage

Painting a Garden Shed FAQs

Before I share the step-by-step process I used for my garden shed makeover, let’s explore some of the questions I researched when I was getting ready for this project. Because chances are, you have a lot of the same questions!

What is the best paint for an old shed?

Choosing the right paint is crucial for a long-lasting and smooth finish when painting a shed. Opt for exterior paint that is specifically made for wood surfaces, because it’s designed to withstand the elements and protect your shed from sun, rain, and everything in between.

As for color, well, that’s where the fun begins! I decided to choose a shed color scheme that would help the structure blend into the woods and surrounding gardens, but you could also choose a fun pop of color if you prefer! 

Just make sure to use high-quality paint that’ll stand the test of time. I used Benjamin Moore’s Aura Exterior paint line, which is highly durable and provides great coverage.

Garden Shed Makeover
Chris replaced the trim before I started painting the shed.

Should I paint my shed with a roller or brush?

The answer to this question ultimately depends on the size, shape, and texture of your shed. Using a brush is ideal for getting into tight corners and crevices. It gives you more control over the application and allows you to achieve a precise finish, especially on detailed surfaces like trim or decorative features. A brush can also help create rustic, charming brushstrokes that add character to your shed – especially if you have an informal cottage garden.

On the other hand, if you have a larger shed or a smooth, flat surface to cover, a roller might be the way to go. It’s faster and more efficient for covering large areas, and it can help you achieve a more uniform finish with fewer brush marks. 

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to how to paint a garden shed. I typically use both a brush and a roller, using the brush for corners, trimming, and cutting in along the edges of the shed and then using the roller on larger, flat areas where I can to save time.

Should I power wash my shed before painting?

Yes, I recommend power washing your shed. Not only will this remove dirt and debris that would affect your paint job, it can also help take off any old, chipping paint and other imperfections.

Make sure to let the shed dry at least 24 hours before painting to ensure the paint can adhere properly to the surface of the shed.

Garden Shed Makeover
Since replacing some trim with fresh wood, I spot-primed to ensure a good surface for the exterior paint to adhere.

Do I need to sand a shed before painting?

You don’t necessarily need to sand before painting a garden shed, but there are some cases when it’s a good idea. If your shed is in particularly rough shape, with bumps, imperfections, and peeling, chipping paint, sanding can help give you a clean start before painting.

Sanding can remove any loose debris and also give your paint a better grip on the wood, ensuring a smooth finish and longer-lasting paint.

Should a shed match the house color?

This is definitely a personal preference! Our shed matched the original color of our home for 20 years, but the colors really didn’t work in our backyard. The shed stood out…and not in a good way!

I opted for a more natural color palette during this garden shed makeover and I’m so happy with the results!

Garden Shed Makeover
In order to pull the climbing hydrangea away from the shed so we could paint behind it, we inserted some lattice to help hold it back.

Supplies Needed to Paint the Garden Shed

  • Power Washer and Soap
  • Exterior Primer
  • Paint brushes, roller and rolling pan
  • Exterior paint for shed and trim (I used Benjamin Moore’s Aura Exterior line in Matte finish. The shed is painted in Ashley Gray and the trim is painted in Tate Olive)

How to Paint the Garden Shed

  • Power wash the shed and allow to dry for 24 hours before painting
  • If necessary, repair any areas that are rotting.
  • Make sure the temps will not dip below 45 degrees before painting. Check weather to ensure it won’t rain for 24 hours after painting so it has time to dry.
  • Apply exterior primer. Instead of priming the entire shed, I spot-primed the areas where we replaced the wood and metal trim. Depending on the condition of your shed, you may want to prime the entire thing.
  • Paint the shed with main color then allow to dry.
  • Apply a second coat. Allow to dry.
  • Paint the trim (2 coats if needed), then allow to dry.
Garden Shed Makeover
Garden Shed Makeover

After Painting the Shed

Isn’t the result amazing? Why why why did I wait so long to do this? It looks so much better now. The gray looks like the bark on the trees in the woods behind it and the sage trim blends with the foliage.

The shed looks more neutral now and will complement the gardens as they fill in. You guys…I love it!!! I can’t believe how much better it looks. Can you? The vegetable garden is still falling apart but that is a project for another day!

Garden Shed Makeover

Garden Shed Paint Color Ideas

I’m so happy with the soft, natural color palette I chose for my garden shed makeover. It blends in perfectly with the surrounding woods and really lets the gardens shine, instead of overpowering them.

But there are so many paint colors for garden sheds you could try! Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

  • Classic White: You can’t go wrong with a timeless white shed. It brightens up your garden and provides a clean backdrop for colorful flowers and greenery.
  • Tranquil Blue: Bring a sense of calm and serenity to your garden with a soothing shade of blue. Whether it’s a soft sky blue or a deeper navy hue, blue brings a calm, peaceful vibe to your backyard.
  • Earthy Green: I used an earthy green for my shed’s trim, but you could absolutely paint an entire shed this color. A natural green can help your shed blend seamlessly into its natural surroundings.
  • Rustic Red: For a bold statement, consider painting your shed a rustic red color. This warm hue is really classic but also creates a focal point in your yard that stands out against the greenery around it.
  • Soft Gray: Embrace a peaceful vibe with a chic gray shed color, like a soft dove gray or even a weathered driftwood look. 
  • Colorful Pastels: I love the idea of adding a touch of fun in your backyard gardens by painting your shed a soft pastel shade like pink, mint green or lavender. This type of shed would look so cute with a colorful cottage garden.

At the end of the day, choose a garden shed paint color that aligns well with your gardens, your property and your exterior house color. As long as you love it, that’s what counts!

Garden Shed Makeover
Garden Shed Makeover

Other Garden Shed Makeover Ideas

When we cleaned out around the shed, we discovered a bunch of landscaping rocks that we’ve been storing from my mother’s former home.

I don’t have enough to make a real stepping-stone path, but would love to add more. I think a stone pathway adds a little more character to the garden, don’t you?

I’m also loving the wreath on the door of the shed that I bought from Hobby Lobby. They have some beautiful wreaths, don’t they? Hobby Lobby was having a sale on faux florals, so I snagged this one for 50% off. Totally worth it.

If you’re looking for the perfect garden shed door decor, check out my list of my favorite spring garden wreaths! There are so many beautiful ideas to choose from.

For more home and garden inspiration, see Front Door Refresh, Spring Garden Flowers That Bring Joy and How to Divide Hydrangeas.

One Year After Giving the Garden Shed a Makeover

Wait until you see the changes I made to make this garden shed the gorgeous cottage garden it is today. CLICK HERE to learn how we leveled it up!

Gorgeous cottage garden in the backyard in front of a garden shed with sedum autumn joy and wood picket fence with dahlias and zinniasin front of garden shed in backyard garden with green garden stakes topped with terra cotta clay pots - My cut flower garden in front of the shed in the backyard with a wood picket fence and sedum autumn joy - How to Save Money at the Garden Nursery
My Former Cottage Garden by the Shed Started Using the Lasagna Gardening Method

More About My Garden Shed Makeover

Isn’t it amazing how a can of paint can completely transform something? I loved how this one turned out. Have you ever painted a shed before? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

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before and after garden shed makeover that anyone can do!

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Want to learn more about me? I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.

stacy ling cutting dahlias in her garden

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Garden Shed Makeover
See how the shed disappears in the background? I love how this makeover turned out.
Garden Shed Makeover

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  1. What a difference Stacy! I love the changes and really like the color you chose!

  2. I adore your garden shed! It draws me in and I am dying to see inside as well. You have a beautiful home and garden.
    Have a great week,

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