How to Get Our Structures Approved by Your HOA

Many homeowners in mountain towns long for the self-sufficiency of a greenhouse or need the extra storage space of a shed. However, those who reside within subdivisions may find themselves up against the somewhat stringent rules of their HOA (Home Owners’ Association). Covenants are put into place to maintain a certain aesthetic in an area where people are living in close proximity to each other. This means, occasionally, covenants may discourage outbuildings, other than those included in your original home plans.

We’ve run into this with a few homeowners and have a great deal of expertise working within HOA rules.

Below are some suggested steps you can take to make one of our structures meet your covenant’s by-laws:

Step 1: Before deciding on a structure, obtain a copy of your subdivision’s covenants or by-laws. Note any stipulations for outbuildings, greenhouses, or if you’re looking to raise chickens, livestock regulations.

Step 2: If outbuildings are allowed, we can help you gather the information you need to present your idea to your subdivision board. Take into account the need of the structure, as well as the general hardiness of our outbuildings. HOA boards will be more accommodating if you explain the need for a greenhouse in our high-altitude environment. It’s also great to explain how Growhuts differ from kit greenhouses, as they are constructed to withstand snow loads and harsh mountain weather.

Step 3: Present your plans to your HOA board. Make sure you note the size of the outbuilding you want to purchase, the location on your property, and its use.

Step 4: Mindfully discuss your future purchase with your closest neighbors. Be cognizant of their placement suggestions, while at the same time, making sure that you are following any subdivision setback policies and view impingement details.

Step 5: If you’re having trouble getting your HOA to pass a stand-alone greenhouse, we can discuss custom options that can be added to your home. Sometimes, approaching a greenhouse as an addition to your home will honor the regulations of your HOA. We are happy to provide detailed building plans, complete with measurements and specs.

Remember, we are here to help you work with your HOA. If at any point in the process you run into snags, we can come up with a workaround (in most cases). Let us customize your structure so that it suits your needs and appeases your neighbors, as well.

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The Lowdown on Victory Gardens

Growing a victory garden in an expression of support for the recent pandemic efforts is gaining popularity. However, you may be wondering, What, exactly, is a victory garden?

Victory gardens started during World War I when European agricultural workers were recruited by the military and farms were transformed into battlefields. Suddenly, the United States was granted the task of feeding millions of people worldwide, most specifically their overseas allies. A National War Garden Commission was created to encourage Americans to plant gardens, or “sow the seeds of victory,” from which they could harvest and store produce for exportation. By the end of the first World War, the bounty the war gardens provided was so plentiful that the efforts soon became known as “victory gardens.”

Victory gardens again cropped up around World War II to supplement the war’s resulting food crisis and as a way to boost morale and enhance patriotism, while also taking the stress off of domestic commercial farmers.

Currently, almost all Americans have been instructed by their state governments to stay at home amidst the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. The resulting idle time has created a reemergence of using victory gardens as an offering of hope for a better tomorrow. Similar to our wartime patriots, people nationwide are finding joy in the act of sowing seeds with their children and loved ones. The plants that result from these seeds represent the opportunity to start anew, once the current crisis recedes.

For many of us in the Northern Hemisphere, sowing seeds outside is not yet possible, as the threat of frost is still imminent. However, you can start your victory garden indoors (or inside one of our nifty Growhuts greenhouses) right now. Get the kids involved and talk to your teachers about using your garden as a homeschool science lesson. Students can record what they sow, measure the progress of their growing plants, and then transplant their starts when the weather warms up. Older children can also research the concept of victory gardens and write an essay outlining their efforts.

Starting a garden indoors, or in a greenhouse, is simple. First, purchase potting soil and seeds from your local hardware. (They’re still open!) Salad greens like arugula and kale are good picks, as they are cold-hardy and can be harvested as tender microgreens. Throw in root vegetables like carrots, beets, and turnips to mimic the gardens of wartime growers. You can even give slow-to-mature vegetables, like tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash, a good head start by planting them early and indoors.

Local garden stores may sit idle for a few more weeks, making supplies limited, but you can improvise by using Dixie cups or old egg cartons to sow your seeds. Keep the soil moist and warm (cover your planted seeds with plastic wrap) and place your plantings in a sunny window or inside your greenhouse. In a few weeks, sprouts will emerge. Wait until your sprouts grow into small plants (about 4- to 6-inches tall), and then harden them off by placing them outside daily for a week or two during the warmest part of the day (make sure to bring them back inside at night).  Once hardened, plants can then be transplanted directly into an outdoor garden bed.

That’s the lowdown on the victory garden hype.

It’s a pretty great idea to get excited about as we experience and contribute to a tremendous shift in the human psyche. Planting a garden with your family offers a way to transform feelings of isolation and fear into a productive celebration—one that will last throughout the summer season. Also, victory gardens help raise our vibration by connecting us with the vital practices of our forefathers.

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Welcome to Our New Website

Welcome to our new Growhuts website!

Welcome to our new Growhuts website!

Since acquiring the Growhuts business three years ago, we’ve been booming! More and more mountainites are adopting a self-sufficient way of life, making our outbuildings a hot commodity and supporting our family-owned business. For this, we thank you.

This spring, Duane and Nathan have been working non-stop in the shop to keep up with the demand, while Kristin handles the phone lines, making sure our clients’ needs are precisely met. We’ve taken this time away from life’s usual hustle-bustle (in lieu of the national pandemic) to teach Nathan the trade of crafting custom greenhouses. He loves helping his dad build products that enhance our customer’s backyards—it’s one of his favorite parts about our new schedule.

We’ve also used this downtime (well okay, it’s not really downtime) to create our new website in hopes to serve you better. Our site includes Camrin Dengel’s beautiful photos of our products, at-your-fingertips specifications and pricing, and an updated lifestyle blog to help you better connect with our products, should you be thinking of purchasing a greenhouse or shed.

Make sure to sign up for our newsletters and blog posts. We’ll be sharing seasonal ideas and tips for making the most of your Growhuts outbuilding—be it a greenhouse, a shed, or a chicken coop.

Sign up now! And thanks for your continued support.

Duane, Kristin, and Nathan

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Growing Herbs as Companions

Skilled gardeners use a special technique called companion planting to maximize the health and yield of their vegetable garden. Planting certain plants side by side helps ward off pests and disease, keeps the soil moist, and, in some instances, saves space in your garden (a plus for those growing in a greenhouse). While some popular companion gardens, like the Three Sisters Garden, use vegetable plants as companions, herb plants also make great pairs. In fact, the beneficial properties of herbs complete the garden ecosystem, allowing all the plants to synergistically thrive.

Here are some of our favorite companion herbs for growing both indoors and out:


Basil is a remarkable greenhouse herb. While this plant can be finicky at high altitudes, planting it in a greenhouse next to tomatoes allows both plants to thrive. Basil’s scent attracts insects like butterflies who help pollinate the tomato flowers, aiding in the production of more fruit. Basil’s distinctive scent repels harmful aphids, hornworms, and whiteflies. Growing basil and tomatoes together also enhances the flavor of each crop and the bounty can be harvested simultaneously for the perfect Italian pairing. (Margherita pizza, anyone?)

Keep basil away from rue and sage, as basil loves moist soil and the others need it fairly dry.


Not only is parsley simple to grow, but, like basil, it attracts beneficial insects to your garden. Parsley’s flowers appeal to hoverflies, a larva that eats aphids and other harmful insects. The plant pairs well with asparagus, onions, tomatoes, and roses (of which it’s said to enhance the flowers’ fragrance). It’s also a biennial herb, so let it flower and go to seed, and then enjoy a two-year harvest.

Avoid planting parsley next to mint. Mint’s renegade growth will overtake this herb’s biennial pattern.


The fragrant feathery dill plant grows well alongside anything in the cabbage family, as it hinders the dreaded cabbage worm from invading your crop. Plant it alongside flowering plants, too, as the beautiful yellow blooms attract pollinators of all types. However, you may want to do so with caution, as dill’s flowers may compete for pollination with the flowers of tomatoes and cucumbers. Still, if you choose to plant them side by side with these veggies, simply trim the dill when it flowers and let your tomatoes take center stage.

Avoid planting dill next to corn, asparagus, or lettuce, as it attracts predatory insects.


Chives’ bulbous and edible flowers are a delight to any vegetable or herb garden, and, similar to other herbs, they attract pollinators too. When chives are planted near carrots and beets that have been allowed to bloom, the flowers confuse each other’s flying pests, thus protecting them both from the invaders. Chives planted next to roses prevent black spots, and a tea made from chives can be sprinkled on growing cucumbers to combat the infamous fluffy mildew. Chives also enhance both the growth and the flavor of carrots and—get this—strawberries, when planted alongside these plants.

Don’t plant chives next to beans and peas, however, as they can deter the growth of these vining treasures.


The mother of all companion herbs, rosemary requires little fussing and grows well in dry soil. Rosemary’s aromatics repel the bean beetle, cabbage fly, cabbage moth, and carrot fly. This plant helps beans, broccoli, cabbage, and hot peppers flourish, too. The best companion for rosemary, however, is broccoli, as the herb wards off broccolis’ offenders, while at the same time, broccoli enriches the soil around the herb.

Rosemary is one of the only herbs that does not get along with other herbs, with sage being the only exception.

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Perfecting Your She-Shed

For years, men took centerstage with their tricked-out “man spaces,” complete with oversized televisions, pool tables, and a comfy napping couch. They vacated the scene for some away-time from their family and spouses. Frankly—what went on in the man cave stayed in the man cave. That was until the popularity of the she shed came into play. Soon, the guys were navigating the chores of domestic life, while the ladies retreated to their own Shangri-La.

Women use she sheds for a whole host of activities. Some sheds serve as a gardener’s haven for tool storage, seed organization, and plant overwintering. Other she sheds are more like home offices where professional ladies retreat to get work done. From yoga and meditation studios to artist enclaves, the she shed can serve any purpose you want. But one thing’s for sure—she sheds are often void of a flat-screen tv, as women prefer tuning out rather than in.

If a she shed is on your honey-do list, look no further. Almost all of our sheds can be customized to match your needs. Add screened windows and insulation to one of our gabled-roofed sheds for a little piece of heaven in your backyard. You can even wire our sheds with electricity and plug in a computer, printer, or music-maker of your choice. Convert one of our large 12- by 24-foot barns into a yoga studio and outfit it with a wood-burning stove for hot yoga, if that’s your thing. We will walk you through whatever customizations are needed, so when the shed arrives in your backyard, it will be ready for its finishing touches.

Below are some techniques for creating a backyard reprieve you’ll never want to leave:

  • Customize the inside. Paint the interior of your shed to suit your personality, or leave it alone if you prefer natural wood hues. Light colors liven up the mood on a gloomy day and also give the illusion of a bigger space. Add your favorite table or desk, chair, and artwork to make your shed reflect your unique spirit. Decorate with images and trinkets that are uplifting and make you smile, creating a welcoming space for just you.
  • Make your she shed an extension of your garden. Open up the doors in the summertime and let in the light to nourish your shed’s seasonal plants. Mark the entryway with potted creations or add window boxes to the front of your cottage. Create a pathway through your yard, garden, or into the woods that leads right to your shed. Use pavers or stone to create a walkway, and then line it with inexpensive solar lamps to showcase the space at night.
  • Create comfort. If your shed as a retreat, rather than an office, choose furniture and props that allow you to settle in. A cozy bean-bag chair or couch, throw pillows, and dim mood lighting creates a perfect reading nook. For a meditation or yoga space, bring in your favorite mat, bolsters, blocks, and a yoga strap so that all your props are easily accessible. Lightweight blankets and throw pillows add style and bring the comforts of home into your space.
  • Go vintage. Right off the trailer our sheds look pretty new, but you can easily transform them to match your shabby-chic style with the right accessories. Grab an end table at a flea market and place it outside the front door as a place to set a welcome journal or tarot cards. Throw down an antique rug, one that you don’t mind getting dirty, should the outside come in.  Decorate the back wall with a vintage paned mirror for a spacious feel. Then, complete the look by adding antique chairs, lamps, vintage tools, or hangings on both the inside and outside of your shed.

Your backyard getaway can take on any form you choose, as you gain inspiration from books, Pinterest, or your best friend’s cottage creation. Once you have a vision, let it roll. Now’s your time, ladies! Don’t let your she shed take a back seat to any man cave.

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