Although plenty of folks in North America have garden sheds
, the cultural obsession
with small structures meant for housing tools, gardening equipment, material overflow from the main home, and maybe even granny when she’s in town for a visit isn’t quite the same as it is in the UK.
In the US, garden sheds — often prefab metal or vinyl-sided structures — are commonly neglected and filled with junk. They aren’t places for people; they’re places for stuff. Spacious garages with ample storage space and workshops are generally the norm.
Across the Pond, however, garden sheds are treated as a vital extension of the home and as the man of the house’s own private retreat
. They’re celebrated
, heavily utilized, thoughtfully designed
, and often lived in
(backyard “cottages” have gotten quite a bit of attention since the recession-borne small house
trend started). They’re even often a deal-breaker when it comes to real estate transactions. “What a beautiful home! But the shed out back doesn’t seem to be up-to-snuff. Let’s move on.”
Considering the Anglo affection for the garden shed, it’s not shocking that the UK’s premiere shed web destination, Readersheds
, hosts a popular annual shed design competition
as part of “Shed Week
.” The winner of Shed of the Year 2009
, announced last week, was Kite Cabin. Designed and hand-built by Steven Harwood, a “sheddie” from West Wales, Kite Cabin boasts a composting toilet, a veranda, bunk beds, and killer views that can be enjoyed through a wall of glass windows.
It is surrounded by nature including kites, badgers and various birds. It is such a useable space and is not pre-ordered like so many sheds these days. It is a realisation of my idea and I love it.
I hope that my cabin will be an inspiration for others and what can be done in an otherwise dead space.
The nominees for the Shed of the Year competition — now in its third year — were picked by Readershed readers. From an esteemed group of finalists in a variety of categories like “Normal Shed,” “Eco Shed
,” “Pub Shed,” and “Hut", the winner
was selected by a jury that included TreeHugger’s Lloyd Alter
, radio personality Chris Evans
, winners from previous years, and others. The winner received a year’s supply of cheese (!) from The Cheese Shed
, a garden center gift certificate, and more
Congrats to Harwood and all of the esteemed "sheddies" in the running this year.