If you’re an avid Shed of The Year follower, then you’ll know that it takes more than the average wooden storage shack to get the judge’s pulses racing. From interesting uses of space to architectural design techniques and niche retro interiors, Shed of The Year has become a homage to the weird, wonderful and quirky examples of backyard cabins.

Creating a work of art worthy of the Shed of The Year title takes a bit of work, but you will reap the rewards for years to come with the enjoyment of your custom-built character filled outdoor haven. Why not make it your project for the year and aim to have it completed in time for next year’s competition?

When it comes to designing an award-winning shed, there are no hard and fast rules, but here are some guidelines to help you build a truly special space that’s unique to you.



The first thing to consider is purpose and functionality. What will the shed be used for? Simple garden storage or a tranquil outdoor retreat? Extra sleeping space for guests? Your very own bar, complete with working taps? Or maybe you want to build a practical space to operate your business from, like this winning entry from 2015.


The possibilities are endless! Whatever idea you settle on, make sure that your shed is a space you will use and get enjoyment from, rather than a trophy feature to make your garden look prettier.


Pick a theme, any theme! Your theme can be as specific or as relaxed as you like, once it gives a sense of continuity and pulls all the elements of your shed together. If you have a specific hobby or interest, you might want to draw on it for inspiration. Remember the 2007 Roman Temple and the 2010 pirate themed Lady Sarah Out of Worthing?


Your goal should be to craft a space that is true to the quirks of your personality, somewhere that reflects who you are. Above all, it should give you a sense of home and comfort, whether that means clean lines and sparse surfaces or shelves filled with random curiosities. Regardless of the judge’s personal preferences, if you can build an atmospheric room that possesses its own charm, you will be on to a winner.


Adding a novel aspect to your shed will ensure that it is remembered when it comes to judging. As with the theme, quirkiness can be as overt or as covert as you wish. You could go all out with matching memorabilia, or go for a sense of intrigue with a secret room.


However, if you want a subtler hook, then your unique twist could be what the room is used for. There are lots of garden bars and recreation rooms, but what about a character-laden music performance space?


Or a home cinema?


Whatever you opt for in the end, the most important thing is that you take pleasure from the entire process, from designing, to building, to sourcing the furnishings. And once you have finished you can sit back, grab a cuppa (or a pint) and sigh contentedly as you look around at the masterpiece you have created.


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