What is National Shed Week?

National Shed Week is an annual event run by the curator of the Nations Sheds Andrew Wilcox - Uncle Wilco. The event was started in 2007 to celebrate the British shed in all of its diversity. Partly as a place to escape and also as an architectural phenomenon.

Visitors to the website Readersheds.co.uk can post pictures and descriptions of their shed on the website for others to look at and comment on.

When is it and at what time of the year?

Each year in the spring visitors are invited to vote on their favourite sheds in each of 8 different categories. The public vote is at the end of May and lasts for two weeks. The shed winning the most votes in each category goes forward to the final, where the winner is decided by 'experts' on shed design.

The competition finals unfold over four weeks towards the end of the summer and are covered on a Channel 4 TV mini-series featuring the Amazing Spaces team. Each week the winner in two of the categories is revealed with the overall winner of the competition being announced in the final episode in September.

Who are the judges that decide on the best sheds?

The two principal figures who decide the category and overall winner are:

Uncle Wilco - the founder of the event. Legend has it that he wrote to 10 Downing street suggesting that it be made a national event, in one of the world's greatest faux pas they turned him down. Not being one to take no for an answer Uncle Wilco pressed ahead and started the event anyway to great success. The event has gone from strength to strength since starting in 2007.

George Clarke - the host of the television show Amazing Spaces. George has experts in design and construction to help and advise him on different aspects of each sheds design. For this series, his advisors are:

  • William Hardie - Craftsman
  • Laura Clark - Architect
  • Max McMurdo - Industrial designer

What are the different competition categories?

The range of sheds on show is truly outstanding with everything ranging from a standard chain store garden shed to bespoke Tardis sheds. The sheds in the competition are divided into eight categories to decide the finalists. The categories in 2017 are:

national shed week

  • Pub & Entertainment sheds - This category has been a favourite since the start of the competition with three of the overall winners. Having a bar/entertainment space in your shed is a popular use of shed space (where do they put the lawnmower?).
  • Eco sheds - Includes all those sheds that have significant design elements that reduce their impact on the environment. Two overall winners have come from this category. Particular features of sheds in this category include: Green roofs, insulation and the use of reclaimed/recycled building materials.
  • Unique/Unexpected! - These are definitely sheds but include structures and uses that defy expectations. Three overall winners have come from this category and it is where many of the most creative and unique sheds can be found.
  • Cabin and summer houses -Sort of self-explanatory but includes sheds that have been built to serve primarily as a leisure space. One of the overall winners came from this category. Many of these sheds are nicely decorated and well located. Lovely spots to chill out and relax.
  • Workshop and Studio sheds - Using a shed for work or creating stuff has increased massively over recent years and this category was created in recognition of this. One overall winner has come from this category. This includes sheds whose owners use the sheds for their primary job and also those who use it for their hobby or just 'fixing stuff'.
  • Budget sheds - Generally smaller sheds that are often creatively squeezed into smaller spaces. There hasn't been a winner from this category yet… But will this be the year?
  • Historic sheds- This category was initiated due to interest in the iconic sheds at Bletchley Park which were used for breaking the Enigma code in the Second World War. This category includes sheds that house collections (mini-museums), old shepherds huts, ex-nuclear bunkers. Once again no winner yet from this category …possibly this time?
  • Notashed - This is a category for all those small buildings that are full of character but could not really be called a shed. Includes structures such as a garage containing a flight simulator, an underground bunker created by an inventor and a railway shed that includes a full-size platform, train and carriages…

If I was a betting man, my money would be on a Pub/Entertainment shed, an Eco shed or a Unique shed being the overall winner. With a Cabin/Summerhouse or Workshop shed as outsiders.

However, like the Grand National, the field is wide open and who knows which shed will win the overall title this year.

How do I enter my shed to be included in Shed Week?

If you are keen on entering the competition the requirements for entry are very simple a minimum of two photos are needed, one of the outside and one of the inside of your shed. It is free to list your shed on the site and of course to share your new creation with your friends so that they can comment and ultimately support you when it comes to time to vote.

I will be uploading my main shed on to the site for 2018. It fits into the Workshop /Studio shed category. I mainly use the shed for woodwork, fixing my bikes and storing lots of screws and bits of metal in screw top glass jars. ;-)

As well as a description of what I use the shed for, I will be including a few details of its construction.

Let's have a look at the previous winners sheds

roman temple shedThe first winner in 2007 was Tony with his Roman Temple shed
pub shedThe following year in 2008 the winner was Tims pub shed.
pub shedThe winner in 2009 was Steven Harwood's Kite Cabin in West Wales.
pub shedThe winner in 2010 was the Pirate themed, Lady Sarah out of Worthing created by Reg Miller.
workshop shedThe winner in 2011 was 'Songs from the shed' owned by John Earl from Clevedon in Somerset. John's shed is full of unusual objects and he has recorded over 1,000 sessions with a huge variety of bands in the shed.
workshop shedAnother pub shed won the prize in 2012. This heart shaped shed at the heart of John (Henry) Plumridge' garden in Shrewsbury, Shropshire has a collection of over 500 bottled real ales and 110 different ciders. The shed has evolved from a pergola to a gazebo and now it is just a great venue for parties.
green roof shedThe winner in 2013 was Alex Hollands's Boat Roofed Shed, from Machynlleth in Mid-Wales.
pub shedThe winner in 2014 was created by Joel Bird and was called The Allotment Shed.
pub shedThe winner in 2015 was the Inshriach Distillery by Walter Micklethwait who refurbished an old chicken shed and 'upcycled' lots of items that he had stored on his farm in the Scottish Highlands.
west wing shedIn 2016 the competition was won by Kevin Herbert with a lovely green roofed shed entitled 'The West Wing'
mushroom shedIn 2017 Ben Swanborough was the worthy winner. He got a bit carried away when his daughter asked him to build a shed in the garden with a budget of £500! No prizes for sticking to the budget, huge kudos for such a lovely crafted design.
workshop shedCould you be the winner in of Shed of the Year in 2018?

So go ahead don't delay visit readersheds.co.uk and put details of your shed on the site. Who knows next year it could be your shed that wins the accolade - Shed of the Year.

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