Roman temples, pirate islands and rooftop allotments as ‘Shed of the Year’ promises fantastical lockdown creations

Transformed your garden shed into a room of wonder during lockdown? Now is the time to share the fruits of your labour.

One positive to come from challenging recent times is being able to spend more time in our gardens, and many of us have been getting creative in our outdoor spaces to help counter the negative effects of lockdown.

Whether you’ve installed your very own garden pub to enjoy a peaceful pint or G&T, office space to enhance home working or a tranquil room for relaxation, those who have created a something special are set to be rewarded.

The Cuprinol Shed of the Year returns for 2021 and it appears we are keener than ever to show off our work — almost 100 entries were submitted ahead of the 2021 launch, which will be the 15th running of the competition.

There are seven categories, including a new lockdown class introduced last year to recognise the incredible efforts seen during difficult times, with the chance to win £1,000 and £100 worth of Cuprinol products.

Roman Temple: The 2007 champion

“Our garden sheds are more than just a place to put our tools – they are a wonderful creative outlet for an individual’s unique artistic vision,” said Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at the wood care company.

“Over the years, sheds have become an extension of the home and one of the most important rooms in the house.

“And this past year we’ve seen people transcend the boundaries of what we think a shed could be and working on them has a much-needed passion project during a time of uncertainty and instability.”

Natural beauty

Bedouin Tree Shed: Daniel Holloway’s winning creation

Last year’s shed-building champion Daniel wowed judges with his nature-inspired refuge Bedouin Tree-Shed.

Daniel’s labour of love is built around two tree trunks and is decorated with vintage etchings and specimens of butterflies, while a wood burning stove provides comfort during the winter months.

“I was very surprised, but also felt very honoured and happy that the shed had been recognised as a worthy winner,” he said.

“It’s very much a personal space, but as a result of covid restrictions it has evolved into a communal space for our family — immediate and extended — and also close friends to gather and relax, in the back of the garden and away from the house.”

Daniel gave his prize money to charity Trees for Cities and, since winning, continues to develop his shed and is using Victorian quarry tiles for a terrace, connecting the shed to an area used as a fire pit.

Allotment Roof Shed: The 2014 victor

Ashley Bates took home the competition’s Special Commendation in 2020, after setting up The Shed School to help educate children while lockdown closed classrooms.

“Looking back, this time last year my shed was just a shed, it wasn’t anything spectacular, it was filled with rubbish,” he said.

“Not a year later we’ve got this huge following of children across the world that tune into these lessons and it’s running like a business now, it’s running like a tutor service for people who are still at home and still needing that support.

“We now run monthly mental health classes to help children suffering with anxiety and parents who need a little extra support.

“Without Shed Of The Year we wouldn’t have gone into that, we would have closed the shed door and locked up after the first lockdown, but it’s given us that impetus to keep it going.”

Showcase your shed

Lady Sarah Out of Worthing: 2010’s impressive winner

Entries must include a selection of photos and video of your design along with an explanation of your inspiration.

This year’s categories are:

  • Budget
  • Cabin/Summerhouse
  • Pub and Entertainment
  • Unexpected/Unique
  • Workshop/Studio
  • Nature’s Haven
  • Lockdown

Entries can be submitted via readersheds.co.uk until Monday 12 April.

The shortlist will then be selected by a panel of judges before the public vote opens to select the nation’s favourite shed for 2021.