Sheds Are One Of The Least Expensive Ways Of Gaining An Extra Room And A Retreat

So it's no wonder everyone wants one! Property journalist Sharon Dale looks at what to buy and where to put it

I’ve been evangelical about sheds ever since I designed one to use as a writing room. I’ve worked out that I can shave 20 minutes off a 1,000-word feature simply by working in that calm woody space. I love it.
Since I bought mine, there has been a shed explosion and there are now all kinds of garden buildings to choose from. The reason they are catching on is clear.
They are the cheapest way of gaining extra space and are multi-functional. They can be offices, play spaces, hobby rooms or guest rooms. They come with the added benefit of being separate from the house so they feel like a haven, an escape. On an emotional level, they appeal to the child in us because what they are is a grown-up den/Wendy house.
If you want a conventional timber shed then you can learn from my mistakes. Big on space and short on cash, I went for a basic pine shed with a felted roof, single-glazed windows and no insulation.
The roof felt has a tendency to blow off in gale force winds and it often leaks, which leads to damp and mould inside the shed. It’s also cold in later autumn and all through winter so I can only use it in spring and summer. I’m now planning to upgrade with insulation and a tiled roof so I can use it year-round.
If I move or the one I have eventually rots away, I’ll invest in a super model. These cost from about £15,000 and are made from good quality timber with double-glazed windows, insulation, a decent roof and power points for electricity. The concrete base needed to site it on may or may not be included in this price so always check. Like any growth industry there are plenty of cowboys around so do your research and look at reviews.
You should be safe with The Hub corner studio by John Lewis, which is £12,499. Designed and fitted by Crane Garden Buildings, it fits into a corner of the garden and has floor-to-ceiling glass panels on two sides to let light flood in. It is made with high-grade, FSC-certified Scandinavian redwood and has a roof overhang and veranda. It’s fully insulated and lined, and the exterior is coated in a micro-porous paint to protect the wood. It doesn’t include the concrete base, so you have to organise and pay for that yourself.

The Hub from John Lewis

If you fancy something a little different, there are all manner of alternative “sheds” to choose from.
Among the most popular are shepherd’s huts. A decent one will cost from about £12,000.  The Yorkshire Hut Company, which is based near York, is a reputable specialist.

 If you want to test one out then treat yourself to short-break at Beacon Hill Farm in Northumberland. The owner, Alun Moore, built it himself after extensive research. The interiors are sensational and brilliantly thought out and he designed out potential issues, such as the noise of rain beating down on the tin roof - his roof is made of ply topped with welded rubber.

Shepherd's hut at Beacon Hill Farm

Another option is a vintage caravan if you can find one in a decent state and if you can get it into the garden. One of the main benefits is that they are already fitted out with furniture, though you can also strip them out and add your own.
I’ve seen them painted in pretty pastels and in black and they look fantastic. Deck with bunting and white solar lights. For light and power, you can get an electrician to run a lead to the main house consumer unit.

 Shepherd's hut at Beacon Hill Farm

Shipping containers are also available and can be insulated and glazed. Secon-hand ones cost from £1,000. sell them and deliver them but you will need a crane to get it into place and there will be cost for converting one.
Whatever you decide on you must abide by the rules. While most come under permitted development there are some restrictions. Crane Garden Buildings has some good advice here
Finally, for ideas on what kind of “sheds” there are out there and how people use them I’d recommend; Shed Chic and Shed Decor books by Sally Coulthard.

Shed Decor by Sally Coulthard

Publish date: 24/08/2018

Publisher: New Home Finder