I wrote recently about the Shed of the Year competition where garden shed lovers were entering their sheds and workshops into the annual competition sponsored by Cuprinol. And the sheer number of different uses for shed was amazing. I’ve been in the tongue and groove shed business for over 40 years and there are unusual ones which even I had not come across before which goes to prove, in my view anyway, that the sheds themselves are the inspiration for their owners.
At many garden shows through the year you can often see a selection of T&G sheds and other garden buildings such as summerhouses and home offices. What you won’t see are the, sometimes eccentric, variety of sheds entered into this annual contest. In one way that is good because this means you can use your imagination and create one to suit your needs and whims. Your shed will then be your ‘one of’.
A few years ago at Farnley Hall Park, near Leeds in West Yorkshire, it was host to a special celebration to garden sheds called the Shedopolis. The garden festival was like no other and the dedication to what was good and great about the much loved tongue and grooved garden shed was evident on the day.
The special Shedopolis section, at the I Love West Leeds festival, featured 15 garden sheds, all of which had been converted to several different themes. Each and everyone was given a make over by artists giving them all a unique appearance All of the buildings were meant to be thought provoking which I’m sure they did. Some examples were the Boatman’s Shed, the Jackanory Shed (is this program still running?), a story shed and a disco shed besides many more.
The director of the event, Jane Earnshaw, said at the time that the show was a great celebration of the garden and THE shed. She promised that this popular festival with its headline acts would keep its visitors entertained with one of the main highlights being the Shedopolis.
It always amazes me about the fascination with garden sheds by the British public. It seems like a home is not complete without one and I can see why. The great number of uses for theses versatile tongue and groove buildings are staggering. Being in the garden building business since before Margaret Thatcher came to power I am pleased this fascination goes on.
The garden shed is used for many things, as I have said before, with the main use as a storage unit for garden items or maybe as a workshop, craft room or summer house. The beauty of a tongue and groove shed is its versatility as these basic buildings can be transformed into various other uses.
The common dog kennel is an example of this. This building tends to be a little smaller in height and sometimes with a traditional opening where the dog can access the internal dry area.
However, the kennel can be more like an enclosed room where access is through a stable type door. Outside of this enclosed area there can often be an enclosed run, usually made from wire mesh, where the dog, or dogs, can exercise in the open when the stable door is left open during the day. This is a great use of a converted T&G shed and which give protection to the dog from the elements, as well as giving the owners control over the animals, which is required.
The same thing can apply for keeping rabbits but this would normally be on a smaller scale but would give the same benefits to the animals and owners. Cats are a different kettle of fish and, for some reason which I can’t understand, they can do what they want. You can complain about somebody’s dog coming into your garden but a cat, well that’s tough. Very strange.
Recently a shed was turned into a home for a homeless dog up in Leeds, who had been homeless for 16 months despite appeals on the TV, radio and in the local papers. His new home was described as a lounge, which to me seems a little over the top, and I like dogs. However thinking about it after 16 months without a home perhaps it’s a nice thing to do for it.
As I say there had been appeals for a new owner but there had been no takers so Jack, the dog, looked like he would be staying at the Dogs Trust in Leeds. However fate played a part when Emma Carley visited the dogs home and enquired about how to become a volunteer. When she saw Jack she knew this was the dog for her and could not resist his eyes so took him home to live with her. Thankfully her partner, Jamie Johnson, was in agreement and a new tongue and groove shed was bought and adapted into a new home for Jack.
This provides secure and dry accommodation from all the elements. It goes without saying that Jack is very happy in his new home where he is spoiled rotten as he is adored by his new owners who dispense cuddles on a regular basis.
Whilst it is good to use garden sheds for these types of purposes The Dogs Trust strongly advise that pet owners should be very careful with any sharp tools where animals are concerned. They also stress that all chemicals should be secured and stored away safely in the shed so that any animals do not come to any harm. You also need to ensure that any garden fences and gates should be high enough to stop the animals escaping.