The GardenLife Log Cabins “Shed of the Year”

GardenLife Log Cabins have been so inspired by the Channel 4 show “Shed of the Year” that we’ve decided to run our own competition (read on for entry details). Why? Well here are several reasons that make garden sheds and timber buildings a great idea.

1. A garden building makes life better

June and July are great months for fans of the garden cabin (or sheddies, as some of them prefer to be known). Not just because they’re fine months for garden living, but because it’s the annual Shed of the Year Competition that’s broadcast on Channel 4.

For four weeks on C4 you can devote your Sunday evenings to ogling some of the best garden sheds, cabins, summer houses and other garden buildings in Britain. It’s a month-long feast of design (and often eccentricity), and you can see when the shows air here.

This year’s competition has eight categories:

  • Normal
  • Eco Garden Office
  • Cabin & Summerhouse
  • Workshops & Studios
  • Unique
  • Pub Sheds
  • Historical
  • Budget

That list in itself reminds you of the huge range of possible uses for a garden cabin, from workshop to office to chill-out space to pub, and how these simple timber structures can enhance your garden design and spare time. There are over 2500 entries in the competition this year – each one of them has no doubt enriched the owner’s life in some way, by providing somewhere to escape, work, run a business, pursue a hobby, rehouse the kids, or simply express themselves.

2. Every shed has an idea we can borrow

Winner of the 2014 Shed of the Year competition was Joel Bird, with his wondrous ‘allotment roof shed’:

Shed of the Year 2014

Joel’s shed, with a full allotment on top, is beyond the ambition and gardening prowess of many of us, but his approach gives good ideas for us mere mortals to incorporate into a garden building:

  • the lights are powered by a solar panel
  • a wood-burning stove makes it warm enough for year-round use
  • his cabin is divided into different ‘zones’: one for art, one for a music studio, and a workshop area where he mends his bike

Whether you buy a log cabin or design one from scratch, it’s good to think about the different uses or zones you may want from it. You should also consider the balance between space to store things and space to do things.

3. DIY expertise is optional

To acquire a unique garden building, you don’t need to design from scratch. The winner of last year’s Cabin & Summerhouse category transformed an affordable flatpack cabin into a Caribbean-themed garden retreat, with the aid of paint, bunting, mementoes from holidays, a day bed and Moroccan tapestry cushions. The shed is beautiful, and also inspiring because the ideas are do-able at home.

Shed of the Year

4. The whole world is at your fingertips

Whether you want a Caribbean-themed retreat, or something reminiscent of Scandinavia, a very good source of design inspiration is Describing itself as a ‘visual community’ for homeowners and home professionals, it has thousands of photos of home interiors, exteriors and gardens all searchable by themes, styles or type of room. Much of it is aspirational rather than real-life but it will give you lots of ideas that you could replicate or scale down.

5. The pub shed has gone global

Whilst the Caribbean haven above would be a perfect backdrop for cocktails, the Shed of the Year pub shed category is usually more beer and whisky-themed. The appeal of having a British pub in your back garden seems to have crossed the Atlantic too – even the San Francisco Globe had an article earlier this year about the pub shed trend.

Timber garden pub

6. Garden buildings are for work, as well as rest and play

Truly enviable in the Shed of the Year competition are the garden offices, because for many of us they represent not just an amazing building but a whole shift in lifestyle – salvation from commuting through traffic jams or in packed expensive trains.

If you are daydreaming about a lifestyle shift to a garden office, there’s a great website and blog at

7. You can have your own Shed of the Year

The GardenLife Log Cabins "Shed of the Year"

As mentioned above, at GardenLife we so enjoy Shed of the Year that we’ve decided to have our own informal shed competition! So, if you’ve built your own stunning shed or customised a garden building that you bought, send a photo of your amazing creation to for a chance to win £25 in vouchers (sorry, we can’t respond to all entrants). We’ll announce a winner in September and will post the best photos on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and our blog. Good luck!

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