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  • 12 Aug 2015


When it is a barn, a house, a beach hut, a writer's den, an artist's retreat . . . Once solely the domain of the lawn mower, today's sheds are many things, to many people.

This move is driven by many things. Liveable sheds are very popular, either as a temporary measure, while people build, or long-term because it's cheap, strong and functional. A shed can also solve that extra space problem without breaking the bank, or create a private space for someone who works from home.

The idea is also increasingly popular as we move towards smaller, more eco-friendly homes. Where once upon a time building materials such as corrugated iron and Besser blocks were covered up, or considered too rural or industrial, modern designs are incorporating them into the actual style and look. And with that comes our renewed love affair with the humble shed.

Another reason might be the emergence of the She-Shed. Once the domain of the man of the house, a place for Big Boys' Toys, more and more women are discovering the joys of shedmanship. Or should that be shedwomanship! There are even books - and Facebook pages - on the subject!


Man Cave or She-Shed

Of course, the male equivalent of this is the Man Cave. And there we see the attraction of sheds, I think. A shed is a kind of cave, somewhere to retreat to, whether to create or rest or reassess life.

It's a safe place, whether it's filled with mowers and manure, or oil paints or a bed, it's a personal space, and in today's busy world, that's really important.

In the UK, there is an annual Shed of the Year competition. This year's winner - a former hen house - had been transformed into a farm shop, bar and distillery.

The shed beat 2,520 other entries to win the prestigious title, including a mobile miniature railway wagon, a floating beach hut and a corrugated cottage which was used by land girls during the Second World War.

Last year's winner was an eco-dome made from 5000 glass bottles, and in 2013, the accolade when to the Upside Down Boat House. The possibilities really are endless!


Check the rules

As the glass bottle eco-dome proves, sheds can be built from virtually anything, and used for many purposes. They can be basic, or luxurious, practical or whimsical, forever or for now.

Just one important point before I go. Whilst everything seems magical in shed land, there is that issue of planning permission, and this varies from structure to structure and state to state.

Depending on the size and usage, they may be various planning hoops to jump through - particularly if you plan to live in a shed while you build. It's best to check what rules apply in your state and go from there.