They may stretch the traditional definition of “shed” to its very limit, but many of the designs in this year’s Shed of the Year contest will nevertheless impress and astound with their extraordinary creativity.
The contest is now in its 11th year, and this time around attracted nearly 3,000 wonderful — and occasionally rather wacky — entries from across the United Kingdom.
This year’s shortlisted sheds include what must be one of the world’s smallest pubs, the circus-inspired Big Top Den, an extraordinary floating shed, and a converted London taxi that required a garage wall to be demolished to get it in the yard.
Public voting runs through August 28, with category winners going head to head in the final round where a panel of shed experts will decide the overall winner in September.
The victor will receive a cash prize and garden products courtesy of sponsors Cuprinol, as well as a giant crown for their winning shed.
Shed of the Year founder Andrew Wilcox said the organizers have been “blown away by the incredible, imaginative, and innovative sheds entered in this year’s competition,” adding that many people have come to realize that it’s possible to create an amazing shed on a relatively small budget.
So without further ado, let’s check out some of the best shortlisted sheds from the 2018 Shed of the Year contest …
The Admiral’s Head, owned by Lee Carrie
A shed is traditionally a place to get things done, and so in Carrie’s creation, such activities are likely to include the important tasks of chatting and drinking. Carrie came up with the idea for his drinking den after buying an original “Admiral’s Head” pub sign, and used his 17 years of work in the Royal Navy to inspire its design. The interior features lots of naval pub memorabilia, including hanging mugs, pub mirrors, and vintage bottled Ales.
Noah’s, owned by David Morris
Morris built his shed during a period of heavy rain, prompting neighbors to quip that he was building an ark – hence the name. Created almost entirely from reused and recycled materials, Noah’s is used mainly for get-togethers with family and friends. “It took me about 3 years on and off and my favorite feature is the curve,” Morris told Digital Trends.
Bottle Shed, owned by Lauretta and Philip Denton
It’s certainly a striking design for a shed but one which, remarkably, had no solid plans when the building started. In fact, the Bottle Shed has evolved over four years, with the Dentons gradually adding features such as a spiral staircase, windows, doors — and yes, those bottles — whenever they had time to work on it. Everything used to build the Bottle Shed has been reclaimed, repurposed, and reused.
Shed and Breakfast, owned by Daisy Bass
Shed and Breakfast is large enough to accommodate a kitchen and a king-size bed, which is just as well considering it’s listed on Airbnb. The cozy space is filled with books and games, as well as several pieces of work by local artists. Popular with visitors, Bass also uses the space to engage with the local community, hosting homeless youth once a month via guest donations. “The shed has a funny old mixture of bits and pieces we’ve picked up along the way,” Bass told Digital Trends. “There’s a yellow enamel coffee pot that we couldn’t resist from a St. Ives bric-a-brac store, an old guitar from Oxfam, lovely enamel china cups from Movement boutique in Bristol, Kantha quilts and colorful rugs from India, and even some random pom-pom bunting.”
The Big Top Den, owned by Steve Burrows
Burrows’ splendid shed is built into a wisteria tree and provides a play space for his grandsons. The interior includes a blackboard, hammock, and multi-colored floor, while on the outside you’ll find a built-in rabbit hutch that has a passageway into the shed. The design was partly inspired by a song from Burrows’ childhood, called I Can Sing A Rainbow. “All of these [rainbow] colors flood the play area interior via light effects, paintwork, and flooring,” Burrows told Digital Trends.
The Limes, owned by Michael Long
Taking inspiration from his grandfather whom he describes as a “shed aficionado,” Long created a social space using discarded materials from nearby construction sites. Inside The Limes you’ll find a wood burning stove, elevated drinks holders for every seat, and built-in planters that help to create a relaxing space for friends and family to enjoy.
The Green House, owned by Andy Ramsay and Kate Spencer
This wonderfully elegant design is described by its creators as “half greenhouse and half summerhouse.” Built using reclaimed stained glass that took nearly two years to collect, this unique shed is used to pot and plant, or as a space to relax with a cup of tea, or indeed a glass of gin.
Scaffold Board Summer House, owned by Scott Stickland
Who said a shed needs a roof? Stickland built this extraordinary creation all by himself, and now uses it as an office or as a place to hang out with the family. The Scaffold Board Summer House features around 100 meters of LED strip lighting built into the walls, two of which can be rotated to open the space. “The design was inspired by buildings by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright that I’d seen in books and magazines, and by art installations such as the mirrored desert shack Lucid Stead by Phillip K Smith III,” Stickland told Digital Trends. The Scaffold Board Summer House took four months to build during weekends and holidays.
Boat Pod, owned by Barnaby Dearsly
When he set out, Dearsly didn’t have a specific use in mind for his beautiful design, but he now suggests using it for anything from a writer’s retreat or artist’s studio to a garden folly or children’s hideaway. Built from an upturned section of a decommissioned fishing boat that first sailed the seas in the 1940s, the Boat Pod is fitted with engineered oak flooring, a sail canvas door, power outlets, and a stove.
Rainbow Daydream, owned by Rachael Taylor
The bright and airy Rainbow Daydream functions as a workshop for print-and-pattern designer and creative stylist Taylor, who describes it as “the most fun and inspiring space … that you could ever want for an outdoor design shed-come-studio.” She adds that the colorful interior and beautiful flowers outside “make me feel like I’ve been transported on a sunny holiday whenever I’m in there, so work never feels like work.”
The Off-cut Shed, owned by Mark Humphrys
As its name suggests, this particular shed is built almost entirely from off-cuts, with Humphrys’ aim to recycle and upcycle materials that would normally be thrown away. Collected from neighbors, roofing manufacturers, and trash cans, Humphrys’ design is actually the most shed-like shed in this year’s Shed of the Year contest — and one in which he enjoys doing a spot of good old-fashioned carpentry.
The Yurt Locker, owned by Paul Martin
Martin’s gorgeous design, which he built himself, cost him just shy of 500 British pounds (about $640). The Yurt Locker was originally destined to be used as a shed for other DIY projects, but family members soon paid to that idea, using it as a glamping venue and trampoline gymnasium — the removable sky port awning ensuring that no one bangs their head the ceiling. Next, Martin wants to create a larger, 12-sided version of the Yurt Locker.
Buenai Vista, owned by Hywel Jones
Jones built the remarkable Buenai Vista as a place to relax, though the occasional party has been known to take place there, too. It’s constructed almost entirely from recycled or repurposed materials, among them numerous pallets, bits of discarded timber, and even a steel sub frame from an old bridge. Using occasional weekends and evenings, Buenai Vista took Jones — a qualified carpenter with 35 years of experience — about a year to build, and it’s now enjoyed by all the family. “From the tree motif on the door and front window, to the wavy roof and the luminous resin cut out on the back panel — representing an adjacent wood and the Menai Strait [in Wales] respectively — the shed reflects the environment it’s in,” Jones told Digital Trends.
Jo’s Shepherds Hut, owned by Greg Whale
Built as a 25th wedding anniversary gift for his wife Jo, it took Whale six months of weekends and evenings to create this special sanctuary. The cozy interior features lamb’s wool insulation, comfy seating, and a wood-burning stove. Whale’s Shepherds Hut sits in a neighbor’s field behind their home for whenever the couple feel like enjoying some peace and serenity. Whale told Digital Trends: “The whole process has now encouraged Jo to keep her own sheep in the field with the hut, something that was not even on the radar when all this began — how one adventure leads to another!
Piano Raft, owned by Ben Cummins
Look, it’s a shed that floats! Surely the quirkiest of all the designs in this year’s Shed of the Year contest, Cummins built his Piano Raft over a period of six years using reclaimed materials, gathered while pulling the shed along waterways by himself from Liverpool to Leeds — a distance of more than 70 miles. Cummins is apparently on a mission to use the “surreal castle,” as he describes it, to deliver a piano to an address in London 150 miles to the south. However, it’s currently moored in Leeds and functions as a fitness center and arts workshop.
The Taxi, owned by Lee Connelly
Demonstrating true dedication to the cause, Connelly had to knock down the back wall of his garage to get this old London black cab into his yard. Once in position, he set about converting the former taxi into a space that today features a bed and enough room to enjoy a few beers with pals. Connelly told Digital Trends that his unique shed “makes a great guest room for when family stay, although I’m usually the one who’s given the ‘privilege’ of the taxi for the night.”