Sheds are a major part of gardens in the UK.  Sheds can improve the quality of the garden as well as provide a place for children to enjoy the outdoors, and even create personal get-a-ways for adults.  People tend to give their sheds a very personal touch, creatively making their gardens uniquely their own.  Standard sheds can be customised to the design taste and/or the whim of the owner, from creating a shed that turns the roof of the shed into a personal allotment to the shed that is made to look like a Roman temple.  People have a passion for their sheds, so much so that they often take pictures of their sheds and enter them into the Shed of the Year annual competition.  Some sheds are tuned into spectacular works of art, while others are turned into very practical and useful garden storage and work areas.  The following examples of creative and practical sheds emphasise the limitless options and uses sheds have in the life of a garden.

The Shed of the Year 2014 is a perfect example of creative use of space, especially when garden space is limited.  This wonderful owner shows how a shed can be the allotment rather than the shed taking up space on an allotment.  The allotment is on the roof of this shed, while the owner has multiple uses for the inner space.  The inner sanctum of this shed is for the owner's creative outlets that include space for painting and art, space for music practice and studio, and finally space in the back of the shed that acts as a small workshop.  This Shed of the Year, termed the Allotment Roof Shed, expresses a high level of sustainability.  A solar panel powers the lights, it is heated by a wood burner, and the allotment on the roof provides crops that include potatoes, leaks, courgettes, onions, beetroot, corn, carrots, peas, broad beans, garlic, mangetout, tomatoes, asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb, and an herb garden.  The owner even as a small cooker on the roof where food can be prepared.  The herb wall is watered by the excess water that flows off the roof and through the down pipe.  The remaining rainwater is collected in a water butt for later usage.  A little staircase provides access to the roof, making this the perfect little countryside get-a-way right within the city.

The Shed of the Year 2013 is an inspiration in utilising reclaimed materials to create the ideal zone for enjoying the outdoors.  The roof of this shed is actually an upturned boat, while the rest of the shed is full of other interesting nautical items.  A leisure battery trickle fed by a 20w solar panel powers the ultra-bright LED lights and a 12v sound system.  The Shed of the Year features a bottled gas cooker with an oven, a grill, and two burners as well as a 12v gas refrigerator.  Plumbed into the shed is a small Belfast sink and the heat source is a 19th century French enamel wood burning stove.  A circus big top provided an old queen pole for the chimney.  Except for the 12v system, the shed is made completely from recycled materials.  The construction of the shed began with the clinker built boat, which was placed upon a frame of four telegraph poles with cross beams.  Single glazed windows from an old farmhouse and aluminium framed windows from a 1940s caravan filled in the some walls, while other walls were filled in with wattle and daub.  Painted in black bitumen, old corrugated metal sheet clad the rear of the shed.  If ever a shed screamed reclaimed and recycled, it is Shed of the Year 2013.

The Shed of the Year 2012, named "Woodhenge" by its owner is a clear example of a creative mind.  This shed had very humble beginnings as a simple garden shed.  This shed went from providing sanctuary from the stresses of family life to a pub shed in which family, friends, and local ‘sheddies’ enjoyed popping by for a swift pint.  The owner of the shed features a beer bottle collection of more than 500 real ales and 110 ciders on display.  Mainly recycled wood was used from a closed down garden centre and the shed features a brilliant use of space for the perfect escape into the garden.

It is clear by these examples that sheds are not just for storing gardening tools; they are retreats from the stresses of daily life right in the backyard.  It seems the Shed of the Year competition provides great inspiration that encourages creativity amongst shed enthusiasts.  Most recently the Shed of the Year competition elicited a record-breaking number of public votes for the finalists who were even featured on a television series titled "Amazing Spaces".  Take inspiration from these wonderful sheds and let loose creativity to make a transformation in the backyard garden.

Take a look at some of our sheds and see if you can find inspiration to create your shed of the year and if you want to see more Shed of the Year posts take a look at our 2015 coverage