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Shed those ideas about tatty sheds

When it comes to defining 'Britishness' there are a great number of qualities that all jostle for attention. There's no single, overriding stipulation that shows “Great Britain” but it's often explored and investigated – even making it into one of Hugh Grant's film speeches, whereby “Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles... [and] David Beckham's right foot” are all listed as what Britishness has to offer.

There does seem to be a small but very influential competition, however, that sums up perfectly one of the things that is both a celebration and peculiarity of the land; The Shed Of The Year competition. In one sense, a shed is nothing more than a small outbuilding, a purely functional area used simply as a place to store gardening equipment, to repot plants and vegetables or somewhere to keep a bicycle. On the other hand, they're everything from a personal space, a retreat or a quiet place away from the rest of the family to indulge a passion, whether this is painting or playing the bugle.

This year's winner of Shed of the Year was a shop, bar and gin distillery all rolled into one and for the first time ever, it came down to a public vote as the judges were split between two 'sheds' that came through from the semi finals. There was no shortage of votes for either competitor, as there's something about the brilliant garden shed that captures the public imagination; since the birth of the contest, it's become so large that the whole competition has to be broken down into various categories, such as Pub Sheds, Eco Sheds and Workshops.

 Picture courtesy of Daily Mail

It makes perfect sense to do this, as there are not only a great number of entries, but a shed has no intrinsic description, other than to be an independent space away from the main body of the house. The Shed can be tailored for almost any purpose and to any specification, meaning it's difficult to judge individual spaces against each other without creating some sort of order.

There's undeniably something very British about the garden shed, it speaks to any number of qualities that we find appealing, such as enjoying the outdoors, spending quality time with family or even personal space and passing the time with an engaging hobby or activity. The word 'shed' also carries certain connotations, being practical, purposeful and perhaps above all, something that isn't ostentatious but something more inventive or eccentric.

The overriding quality of the truly great sheds is that they're a space outdoors, tucked at the bottom of the garden that is in equal parts refuge, retreat and usable space to indulge the things you love. Garden Spaces rooms also definitely fulfil this need and having a place in your small part of the great outdoors is a real asset to quality of life and although they don't work with what we think of as a 'Shed', they can go a little further into being purposed for any reason, including all the utilities you'd expect in your main house, including water and internet access. Whether you love the idea of a small, self-built upcycled shed or a bespoke designed Garden Spaces room to make the bottom of your garden a little more chic and comfortable, the Shed of the Year competition shows exactly how great and versatile an asset they can be.

Date: 28/07/2015 | Author: Roger Hedges