Fixer Upper: Chip and Jo's Family Garden Project

Jo's green thumb has been itching, and she's dreamed up an expansive new garden—complete with a potting shed to complement the Gaineses' century-old farmhouse, raised planting beds and a coop for Ella's chickens—that will grow with the family and blossom for decades to come.

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Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

The Seed of an Idea

Chip and Jo’s four children are eager gardeners-in-training and have helped their mom tend to her roses, herbs and succulents. "Now that the kids are a little older, it’s the perfect time to build a larger garden and a garden shed," she said. Jo being Jo, the "garden shed" she envisions belies its humble name: She plots out a 300-400-square-foot space to house her library of gardening books, indoor plants and a large work table that can double as a dining space. "I don’t wanna eat anywhere there’s insects and bugs, unless they’re in the sandwiches we’re eating," Chip said. "Maybe shed is the wrong word," Joanna conceded. "Maybe it’s garden house."

A New Addition to the Farm

Bordered with a simple, classic white fence, this just-finished space blends in with the rest of Chip and Jo’s property.

Jo's Retreat

With antique doors, textured-edge shingles and a porch built with wood salvaged from a barn’s threshing floor, the potting shed pairs beautifully with the Gaines’s 120-year-old home. "Jo really is funny," Chip said. "She wants the challenge regardless, so if it’s a new house she wants to make it look old, and if it’s an old house of course she wants to make that one look new."

Vintage Window

Joanna had been saving this massive antique for the perfect space—which just happened to be her own. "Really the whole project was built around this window," Chip noted. "Was it worth it?" "It was worth it," Jo said.

Farmhouse Sink

Jo’s new work space takes full advantage of the sunlight spilling in from the cottage’s picture window.

Stone Fireplace

While Jo had imagined this massive hearth would rise straight to the ceiling, Chip insisted on tagging in as a "design assistant extraordinaire"—and adding "hips" for a bit of additional character.

Tomato Plants

Seedlings like these will shelter by the fire until they’re hardy enough to be transplanted outdoors.

Painting Nook

Jo’s old easel now has pride of place, where both she and Drake plan to indulge their artistic sides with watercolors.

Library Ladder

Jo’s collection of gardening books has a stately new home in the potting shed.

Antique Pump

The copper gutters on the potting shed’s face channel rain to what Jo predicted would be Chip’s favorite feature: An old-fashioned pump. "Why wouldn’t you do a rain-catching system in your garden?" Jo asked. "It’s like free water!" (Sure enough, Chip loves it.)

Vine-Covered Arbor

Fruit trees and climbing plants flank the arbor Jo and Chip created as the garden’s central path. While some of the new additions will take years to mature, the apples will be bearing fruit in just a few months.

A Significant Space

Jo is already dreaming about what the garden could grow to be—she imagines Ella and Emmie might want to get married in this very spot on the cottage steps one day.

Chicken Coop

Ella’s hungry chickens and the Gaineses’ turkeys provide what they call a "forcefield" between the garden and marauding insects. "I can’t wait to see these chickens in action," Chip said. "I mean, they’re going to be well-trained grasshopper-eating machines."

Duke and Drake's Saplings

While the garden project didn’t offer much in the way of demolition, Chip and the boys found the opportunity to get dirty planting trees. "There’s something about digging these holes here in the garden [and] planting these trees," Chip said. "Fifteen, twenty years from now I can imagine them coming back and seeing the fruits of their labor, and I’m telling you, it will be a lesson well learned."

Hyacinth Beans in Bloom

Jo framed up cedar posts secured with twine as a framework for climbing plants. She and the girls planted hyacinth beans from the silo and trained them to wind their way up the teepees—with dramatic results.

Herb Garden

Jo, Ella and Emmie planted rows of rosemary, lavender, oregano and sage to season meals for years to come.

Picnic Spot

This massive teak table was going to be nine feet long, but the Gaineses’ longtime craftsman, Clint, urged them to go even longer: "You have a big family." He custom-turned the table’s legs so that each one has a turnip at its foot.

Outdoor Pendants

Jo accented the ancient oak shading this dining space with a quintet of creeping plants.

Inaugural Garden Party

Jo prepared the first of many picnic lunches the family will have in their new outdoor oasis—with greens picked straight from the garden, of course.

Finis

If you enjoyed this Fixer Upper project, we think you might also enjoy: "The Carriage House at The Magnolia B&B." And keep checking back here for more new galleries, exclusive video and Fixer Upper updates.

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