An article addressing why garden sheds and summerhouses are growing in popularity. Focusing on how 21st century sheds have evolved into comfortable, homely places to enjoy all year round this article offers a 'shed for all' perspective.
The origin of the word shed is believed to derive from the Anglo-Saxon word 'shud' meaning 'cover'. This then became mixed with the old English word 'shadde' meaning 'shade' and gradually evolved to become the shed we know of today.
In support of the shed/summerhouse
Many an author has found garden buildings useful in developing ideas and settling down to complete their creative work. For instance Author Roald Dahl famously used his outhouse as a quiet and completive space to pen his ideas, writing many of his books, including the BFG and the Twits, from his shed. Mark Twain wrote and authored some of his books in his shed and Virginia Woolf is also famously known to have taken to her summerhouse to write.
As these examples demonstrate garden buildings can be far more than a simple storage space. In fact sheds can house all manner of creative potential as both Powergen and the Ministry of Defence have recognised. Today both organisations run shed inventor talent programmes.
Getting the best out of your shed
When it comes to creating great things in a shed or summerhouse, whether plants, mechanics or art work, the key is to make the space your own. This can be achieved by adding mains power, heating, drinks facilities or simply furnishing the space to make it more homely and comfortable.
Of course to make your shed a truly productive place you need to know how you plan to use it. If you're a gardener you'll want to store your tools in it, if you're a writer or illustrator you'll want to make sure it's dry so your papers don't curl. Alternatively an engineer or inventor is likely to need power and ventilation. To put such things into action make sure you check what is needed for safe installation of equipment and give some consideration to how to make your shed or summerhouse safe and secure.
21st century buildings
If you're looking to purchase a shed it's wise to have a good look around as things have moved on and developed over the last few years. Today a shed can be heated, insulated, double glazed and decorated. It can be a guest room or an office or an artist's studio or all three. You can have running water, WC and shower facilities, plush furnishings and personalised decoration. In fact it can almost become an extension of your existing home.
A wooded shed doesn't require planning permission so you can choose a large or small building depending on your needs. However if you're planning something a little more concrete it's wise to get advice about what is and is not permitted.
With a focus on work and living spaces the shed and summerhouse now offers far more than just a place to garden in the colder months. So whatever your needs or dreams for your garden, give a thought to the shed and get the most from your outdoor space.
Shirley is a writer and blogger for both online interior design and garden furniture websites. With a keen interest in art and architecture her work often focuses on contemporary design for both indoor and outdoor spaces. This includes stone work, garden buildings and exterior lighting.