She Built It: Do It Herself Garden Charm

Michelle Blais, in her do-it-herself garden, stands in front of her hand-made garden shed.

What fun it is to peek into other people’s gardens, and at its best when you see garden solutions that you can actually use. Spying the garage in this garden, I thought “Wow, what a great reno of an old garage!” then, I was bowled over to learn that the gardener, Michelle Blais, had built the whole thing herself, from the ground up. (Dads, be like Michelle’s and teach your girls to use power tools!) Using new and some reclaimed wood, she created this vintage-looking garage that doubles as a garden shed, or a functional outdoor room.

Here the garage serves as a meet and greet space for witty garden writer Sonia Day to meet and greet her readers taking the Beach Garden Tour.


What I loved about this garage—although it seems an insult to call it a garage—was the ingenious use of fabric to not only soften the space, but make it bright and cozy. Michelle used cheap, white sheets from a thrift store, together with wires, clothes pegs and a stapler to up the freshness and elegance. Windows in the double doors and wall flood light into the interior, and provide an alternate garden view.

Yellow striped ceiling fabric warms up the space, the white wall fabric adds light and freshness, hiding the exposed wall studs underneath. 3D art makes the walls lively.


At the back of the garden, a shady hideaway seat cries out for a cup of tea and a book, all designed and built by Michelle. Inexpensive string lights in a shade adds coziness, and the oval bevelled-glass mirror adds depth and glitter.

Simple steps solution:You can never go wrong adding a couple of cobalt blue ceramic pots. These glow with butterfly-attracting lantanas in hot pink and orange.



  1. Wow, this woman is talented! I took a woodworking course several decades and made a nice outdoor planter. Was proud of myself, but now I'm left in the dust big time <:-) I especially like the cabana-ish look of the seat area. Great job.

    1. Although we didn't note it here, she built every structure in the garden, including her fence and her back door vestibule. Talented gal.

  2. one of my favorite things about gardening is how it allows one to escape. Gardens should always be whimsical and this post makes me feel just that. The pops of color, the charming artwork–I love it! And what a phenomenal blog this is!

  3. Rats and spiders in the storage box??? What an image. And yes, Michelles's use of fabrics, vintage table cloth etc, are great. I love how people are using fabrics on front porches too, for privacy. – Sarah, Toronto Gardens

  4. What a talented Lady! I do think it important for a gal to know how to use some power tools. I just love the charm of this "garage" with the fabric. Gives me an idea to add some fabric to the front porch. Bet my hubby will not like that idea…

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