Mere moments after a record-breaking heat wave struck most of the Northern Hemisphere, your first thought probably isn’t “outdoor living.” Heck, you could enjoy outdoor living temps inside your own home, right? But the temperatures are returning to normal, and the outdoors has missed you.

Know what might lift your sweat-drenched, dehydrated spirits? How about some time gardening and communing with nature (especially now that she’s working on being less cranky)? Or better yet, why not create your very own gardening workspace so you can enjoy your yard year-round, with everything you need within arm’s reach?

You’ll note that “gardening workspace” is not synonymous with “someplace else to stockpile things you don’t use but don’t want to part with.” (We’ve got some creative suggestions for adding more indoor and outdoor space if you need them!)  A gardening workspace is a dedicated space for…well, clearly, gardening. It’s your one-stop shop for all of the things you use to tend to your yard and landscaping needs (except maybe the gas-powered stuff, like lawn mowers and weed eaters and such).

All you need to create your customized gardening workspace is a plan and a top-notch team to implement it—and we’ve got you covered with both.

Figure out the geography. Where will this gardening workspace exist? A garden shed, perhaps? (Check out these beauties for inspiration.) A mudroom that currently isn’t seeing much mud? An enclosed area by the side of the house? Where do you have the space (or could you make the space) for a dedicated gardening zone? Keep in mind that no matter what type of space you choose, you’ll want it to be impervious to weather, critters, and neighborhood children with a penchant for getting into things.

 Start with the basics. You’ll need a work surface and/or potting bench. This spot will be ideal for cutting flowers and for planting as well. (It’s never a bad idea to contain a potentially messy job in a designated area.) You’ll also want to have a water source, whether it’s a utility sink or more traditional sink and faucet setup. (If neither of these is a viable option, then make sure you situate your gardening zone by the nearest connected hose.) Once you’ve planned for these more functional items, you can start thinking about what you need and where you will store it.

Put everything in its place. The best time to assess what your storage needs will be is before you fill your gardening workspace with ALL.THE.THINGS. Repeat after me: Everything has a home. Even your terra-cotta collection. Picture future you planting away to your heart’s content in your dream gardening space. What do you need now to make that dream a reality? What do you have (or hope to add to your stash) that needs a place?

Decide where everything will go when it’s not in use. Whether you have a weakness for storage systems and container stores, like DIY projects, or prefer to creatively repurpose yard sale finds, you’ll need to come up with an organizing strategy. Think built-in shelving for flower pots, peg rails for shovels and rakes, airtight containers for potting soil, etc. Rumor has it there are five million garden-related pallet projects (okay, maybe it’s only 20) just for starters.

Make it yours. Now it’s time to personalize this space and really make it your own. Paint the outside in a color that complements your home exterior colors (or paint it neon orange if you like starting arguments with the old man in your neighborhood who enjoys complaining to the Homeowners’ Association). Hang bird feeders or flower boxes (pat yourself on the back about how easy it will be to plant and transfer those flowers from the inside of your new space out to your window boxes). Hang up art inside that makes you smile. Set up a mini-fridge with your favorite beverages so you don’t have to go inside the house (if you’re hypothetically hiding from little people and not actually gardening). Add your own personal, beautiful, quirky, funny touches to this space.

A gardening workspace is the perfect example of a useful area that can also bring you happiness and joy. And it’s within your reach.