GBDW - Sheds & Outbuildings

Our frost tinted garden shed - late October 2008

I've been struggling to write something about my shed for this month's Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop. It was the word design I was having difficulty with. At first I thought about the implication you've either made it yourself or done something spectacular with your garden building. We've only repaired the roof felt this year, plus given it a couple of coats of eco-friendly preservative to see it through the winter. I haven't got the trendy living roof I considered earlier in the year and our shed was certainly an off-the-peg purchase.

But then I gave myself a shake and started to consider design as finding something fit for purpose and occupying the space available well. Here I think our chosen building fits the bill. The lower patio in the garden is diamond shaped, so the traditional square or rectangular shaped buildings wouldn't make the best use of space. And choosing something that looks more like a summer house makes a more attractive focal point at the bottom of the garden. It's also in a shaded area, under a silver birch tree so I believe keeping the natural wood shade (red cedar) is more pleasing than any colour we could have painted it. It's at the bottom of a short, wide flight of steps - this has given me the opportunity to use shade loving potted plants around the entrance area which hide the leaf-mould heap and storage bins to the sides of the building.

Sometimes simplicity is all you need to provide a satisfying design solution.

I love my shed, so I've written about it before. To find out more about our choice and its construction, there's a piece on my Open Garden fundraiser blog. I've also posted in this blog about its demise earlier this year and subsequent repairs. I also have a very rundown shed that's part of my allotment - make do and mend sheds are the way of life there. You can find out more about it in the same article on my Open Garden blog and also why I had to evacuate it for a few months this year here.

And now here's a quick round-up of some great resources I've found. Sheds are part of the great British eccentricity and have a number of blogs devoted to them. Two of the best are We Heart Sheds, which also sponsors National Shed Week in July. I wrote a photoessay to celebrate the diversity of our allotment sheds for this year's event. The other site is a great resource for cool looking and contemporary sheds, particularly those used for homeworking and is called Shedworking. And finally if anyone is thinking of installing a green roof on their shed, then instructions can be found here.

Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop is bought to you by Gardening Gone Wild.


  1. Hi VP, I think your shed looks very appropriate to its site. I love the diagonal door frontage. But I am really excited about the links you left for seeing other English sheds. I know they are special, the US gardeners don't have the same outlook about them. I will be perusing your article too. Thanks for leaving it up.


  2. Thanks for the mention and apologies for the email problem - I've fixed it now.

  3. Thanks for mentioning our shed based empire...

    why not share your shed over at

    it could be in with a chance next Shed Week!

  4. I have been looking at English sheds for years...we haven't the wide range of choices you have. We have even looked into creating one for my husbands office, I love the notion of him being a Shed Worker!

    I love yours with it's frosted look. Are you still considering a live roof?


  5. I feel quite deprived when I see your shed - having to make do with one end of the garage just isn't the same :-)

  6. Frances - thanks, we love our shed too! So glad you'll find the other resources useful. Perhaps Barns are more the thing in the US?

    Alex - no problem and only too glad to help :)

    unclewilco - a mention was long overdue! I'll see what I can do re sharing over at yours.

    Gail - I'm sure you'll find plenty of ideas over at Alex's!

  7. Oops EG - didn't mean to leave you out!

    How's your campaign for a new shed going?

  8. Your shed is unique VP. Our shed is a bore but it is useful. I will have to get a post up about it, even though I am late. I have written about my shed before too. It is such a yawn compared to many others I just forget about it...until I need something from there of course, then I think it is wonderful. Ha...

  9. Lisa - I'm sure your shed is better than you give it credit for. Show me! Show me! And I'd like to be able to get into mine - it's stuffed to the gills at the moment ;)


Your essential reads

Review: Riverford Recipe Box with guest chef Sarah Raven

How not to look after your Pilea peperomioides

Down to Earth with Monty Don

Ulting Wick: drier than Jerusalem? One of the Secret Gardens of East Anglia

Here comes the judge

#mygardenrightnow: there's still plenty going on!

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day: Persicaria 'Fat Domino'

A clean break

#mygardenrightnow: the autumn edition

Are you looking at me?