Allotment artist Chris Cyprus – A Coloured North

I have been a fan of Chris’s work for a long time and he’s got a new exhibition coming up soon.

Allotment artist Chris Cyprus has always had a thing about sheds.

“They’re the last man cave aren’t they?” he says.”Sheds are dens for grown men. We’re never more at play and more connected with the little boys that we really still are than when we’re building a shed out of nothing and painting it the kinds of colour we’d never dare to use in our houses.”

Just over a decade after he last exhibited there, the Pennine painter returns to Greater Manchester’s Saddleworth Museum & Gallery this May with a one man show entitled A Coloured North (13 May-11 June).

The exhibition showcases his last two years’ work and includes paintings on a number of themes, including his well loved allotment paintings – with sheds to spare.

“I’ve always loved sheds,” he says, and even before I started on my allotment series about a decade ago, I enjoyed sneaking a good shed or two into my landscapes.

“To me, they represent freedom, creativity and a return to simpler things.”

From the gleam of a highly polished tuba, to bright patchwork landscapes and orderly allotments brimming with a rainbow of homegrown produce, Cyprus’ paintings seek to celebrate the colourful splendour of the every day.

Of the 43 images that have been selected for his new show, over half have never been public display. Many depict familiar scenes of Saddleworth life, whilst others graciously observe the peculiarities of other northern towns and villages, including Burnley (Lancashire), the market town of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire, Stockport (Greater Manchester), Robin Hoods Bay and Staithes on the North Yorkshire coast and Linthwaite in West Yorkshire.

You can find more about Chris here.


#MyGardenShades – Cuprinol shows you “How To Create a …..”

Sponsors of shed of the year – Cuprinol have come up with some jazzy videos to promote their campaign for #MyGardenShades – and a few of them use a shed!

I think Honey Mango and Black ash are my new favourite colours!

anyway it’s great on loads of stuff why not share what you have done 🙂

We believe that your garden is an extension of your home: an open air haven that has the
potential to improve your life. In fact it’s more than just a garden. It’s a place to play, relax,
dine, entertain, work, exercise and create everlasting memories. A space made for friends
and family or even a personal sanctuary, your garden is a space you can retreat to. It’s
a place that has the power to improve your sense of wellbeing, reduce stress levels and
empower you to feel more productive, creative and energised.

Find out more in the Cuprinol Lookbook.

Have some shed-scapism – Shed of the year is now global


As you know we have always loved the world of sheds and the sheddies (more than Ten years of shedlove in fact!)  but we are now officially welcoming all the world’s sheddies to join us – with an International categoryenter now for Shed of the year 2017



  • New global research reveals that shed owners are ditching their tools and transforming their sheds into zen dens and backyard yoga studios –
  • The humble garden shed has evolved with more people than ever finding new and creative uses for their outdoor space
  • More than a quarter of shed lovers from around the world are now using their sheds to enhance their sense of wellbeing through meditation and 20% are practicing yoga
  • The research comes as the Cuprinol Shed of the Year competition joins forces with aspirational shed fan site, Cabin Porn, to launch the first ever global category

More people than ever are ditching their tools and transforming their sheds into zen dens where they can get away from everyday stresses (71%) and enhance their sense of wellbeing with yoga and meditation (19%).

The new research from the Cuprinol Shed of the Year competition has revealed that ‘shed-scapism’ is sweeping the globe as people upgrade their spaces to a personal sanctuary; with people claiming they feel more relaxed (74%), happier (75%) and even healthier (65%) when they retreat to their shed.

In fact, 63% of Brits claim that they feel more creative in their shed and 71% say they feel more focussed, so it’s no surprise that more people transforming their sheds into home offices, with 39% of people admitting they would work more in their shed if they could.

Sheds have evolved further than you might realise, with people installing electricity (36%), Wi-Fi (13%) and cosy furnishings and decorations (22%). Almost 60% of global sheds are kitted out with a cooking station or BBQ with the Canadians topping the tables as the biggest entertainers (69%) closely followed by the Australians (67%) and the Norwegians (66%).

But the Brits are top of the leader board when it comes to sheds. British sheds were voted the most inspirational in our global research with 53% of the votes, beating the kings of cabins in Canada (19%) and the original saunas in Sweden (15%).

This is good news for UK sheddies who for the first time will be going head to head with sheds from around the world, in this year’s Cuprinol Shed of the Year competition. The first ever global category has been opened in partnership with aspirational shed fan site, Cabin Porn, to mark the 10th anniversary and celebrate the ever growing sheddie community.

The competition has already had an influx of global entrants, with a children’s castle, a tree top writing pod and a mountaintop hideaway all bidding to be crowned ‘Global Shed of the Year.’


Founder of Cuprinol’s Shed of the Year competition, Andrew Wilcox (Uncle Wilco) said: “Each year the competition seeks to crown the most amazing sheds from across the nation and this year we wanted to celebrate the ever-expanding community of ‘sheddies’ by opening the competition to the wonderful world of sheds that exist across different shores.

“We’ve already seen a massive influx of entries into this year’s competition, spanning everything from those inspired by the architectural conquests of Grand Designs to the wacky and wonderful hand crafted creations.”

Matt Cassidy from Cabin Porn said: “Since 2008, we’ve collected cabin inspiration from around the world, with an emphasis on handmade, authentic spaces. Like Shed of the Year, Cabin Porn celebrates the joys of creating, building, and DIY spirit. The competition is perfectly suited to our mission – creating a home of your own – be it a remote off-the-grid getaway or a backyard shed hideout.”

Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at Cuprinol said: “Since the start of the competition we’ve certainly seen a trend towards people viewing their garden shed as an extension of their home and more people are finding amazing uses for their sheds which goes beyond DIY.

Over the past 10 years’ sheds have certainly evolved from eccentric museums to personal sanctuaries where people are escaping from everyday stresses and growing their passions, talents and even businesses.”


Top Shed-scapism Stats:

  • UK tops tables with most inspirational shed (53% of votes)
  • People feel happier (75%) healthier (65%) and more relaxed (74%)
  • Brits spend an average of £409 on sheds with women spending more than men on their shed sanctuaries
  • 34% of Brits have spent more time in their garden since buying a shed
  • 40% of Brits would like to renovate their sheds to a space they could use for themselves


The Cuprinol Shed of the Year competition for 2017 is now officially open for registration. To register your shed, visit and fill out the form.

Bacon and sheds – two perfect things together at last – how to cure & smoke bacon in your shed

Sheddie Nick (@shedbacon) has written a guest post about two of my favourite things Sheds and Bacon.

The shed I use was a bit of a white elephant, I built it as a sort of garden room cum small summerhouse, but it just got filled with kids toys and the barbecue, and it was a bit lacking in direction. Until I hit upon the idea of making bacon in it.

Bacon is lovely, right? But it’s not like it used to be. Fed up with this (And with a dearth of decent butchers or farmers markets up here) I set off on a voyage of discovery.

I was going to make it myself.

It’s just pig, at the end of the day, with salt and maybe some smoke, so I hit Google. Hard.

Here is a gallery of all of Nick’s work – in detail 🙂

It’s not really just salt, if you just use salt you get bacon which isn’t all the same colour, and it takes longer to cure as well. Who wants to wait?…

I buy the pork in the supermarket, I usually get a rolled loin roast weighing about 2KG. You just cut the string and you’re good to go. Once it’s cured you end up with about 1.5 KG of bacon.

Happily there are several companies who will provide you with a pre mixed curing salt mix, I use a commercial organic curing salt with some success, although I now use a mix of the curing salt, rock salt, and demerara sugar at a ratio of about 100g per KG of product.

The dry curing takes place in the shed when the weather is cool (I’m in Aberdeenshire, so that means anytime other than late June, July, or August usually. During these months I have to use the fridge) The meat is placed on a layer of cure, and has the rest of the cure rubbed all over it and sits in a pyrex dish, The cure causes liquid to leach out of the meat, and this is discarded every day, after all I’m dry curing it, nobody likes that white foam you get when you try to fry brined bacon. Well, I don’t and I originally set out to make it for me.

Once it’s had long enough in the cure (3 to 4 days usually, although Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recommends curing for a week, but this is so salty that it turns your face inside out) I remove it from the salt and rinse it, then hang it up for a day or 2 to air dry a little longer. If you like unsmoked bacon then that’s it. Slice it up and get it eaten. It’ll keep for a week to ten days in the fridge.

I prefer smoked bacon, And there really is no smoke without fire. I ‘m looking to flavour the meat, not cook it, so I needed to get smoke. Cold smoke. You can rig up all manner of Heath Robinson contraptions using ducting, pipes, old pans, steel car wheels, etc, etc, but I took the easy way and got hold of a Pro Q cold smoke generator. It’s a great little thing, stainless steel, zero moving parts, and it gives about 12 hours of consistent smoke. It uses the Pro Q smoking dusts, which which are available in a variety of woods. Cherry and Oak are my favourites, so I tend to use a mix of these 2 woods together.

My smoker is made from a piece of 9mm ply I wombled from a big pallet courier company, along with a heap of pallets a while back, it’s just a box about 18 ins square by about 4ft high with an old floor tile in the bottom for the smoke generator to sit on, and a couple of rails at the top to hang whatever you’re smoking from.

I smoke the bacon, for about 12 hrs and then leave it for 12 to 24 hours still in the smoker before slicing it by hand, eating, it, or distributing it among my friends and colleagues, in exchange for a bottle of beer or two.

If you do something amazing and slightly different from the norm in your shed then let me know.

Yet more Pub sheds that will amaze you or just have you gawping

The pubShed posts are one of the most popular on shedblog – see here and here, so I thought I would do a new one with some of the newer examples of this fine form of shed.

Be it a tiki bar or a old school english pub or even a disco shed – you sheddies sure know how to enjoy yourself.

If you have a great pub shed then why not enter it for Shed of the year 2017.

Gamekeepers Lodge – Pub/Entertainment from Garden #shedoftheyear

The Little Buck – Pub/Entertainment from Garden #shedoftheyear

Lamie Log – Pub/Entertainment from Garden #shedoftheyear

The Baron’s Arms – Pub/Entertainment from Garden #shedoftheyear

Hog In The Hedge – Pub/Entertainment from Garden #shedoftheyear

The Stumble Inn At Mersham – Pub/Entertainment from garden #shedoftheyear

Cocktails And Dreams – Pub/Entertainment from Chaddesden #shedoftheyear

The Shed Alehouse – Pub/Entertainment from Village Street #shedoftheyear

Outback Inn – Pub/Entertainment from Between 2 houses in a 7 foot gap #shedoftheyear

The Party Shed – Pub/Entertainment from HACKNEY. EAST LONDON #shedoftheyear

The Joiners Arms – Pub/Entertainment from end of garden #shedoftheyear

The Practice Room – Pub/Entertainment from garden #shedoftheyear

Rum Corner – Pub/Entertainment from Garden #shedoftheyear

How #StormDoris had an effect on the #sheds of the UK

Seeing a few sheds that were having some issues from the ongoing Storm Doris – I decided to try and track the storm shed wise and it’s quite sad to see what damage it has done – but a lot of people took it in their stride.

So next storm make sure your shed is well and truly stormproof or maybe fix a new roof.

Cool Things You Can Do When You Power Up Your Shed!   

Thanks to Richard from for this guest post about cool things you can do when you add power to your shed.

Ok so the title may make you think that we are talking about putting guns on the roof, zombie proof shutters on the windows and so on. But actually what we are talking about is electricity. That is right in the year 2017 we have  this great thing called electricity and it can be used to make your shed, workshop or just general garden building even better! well actually it has been around a little longer than that, but you know what we mean. We want to give you guys a few ideas and maybe even a little inspiration about some fun and cool things you can do when you power up your shed! We will also share with you a few garden buildings that we think would be ideal for you.


Have An Epic Man Cave!

Having  a man cave is the cool thing these days. A space where a guy can do what he wants, watch movies, play videogames, watch the match or just do whatever it is he wants. But in a space that is all his own. Well one way to have a man cave and not lose a room in your house is by using some kind of shed or workshop. For a man cave you will certainly want to make sure that you have plenty of plug sockets as you will no doubt have many cool things you want inside. Also by having your man cave outside the house you have far less chance of your other half yelling at you to come and do something when you are trying to watch Luke Skywalker take down the At-At on your big screen TV!


You can easily get a well made and strong garden building that would work well as a man cave for under a grand. So the actual building does not have to be as expensive as you would thin. A great example is this awesome looking Dutch Barn inspired shed. It first of all has a really cool look.

 But it also offers you a lot of space. One thing you really want to watch for is the headroom on offer and this particular shed has lots of headroom. Last thing you want is to be hunched over in your man cave when walking around. Also the higher the roof the more cool stuff you can hang from it. This is also large enough to fit in a couch and an entertainment centre.  


Get Fit In Style With Your Own Home Gym

Ok so we kind of see the irony of going from a shed where you can sit on your rear end, drinking beer, chowing down on Pringles while watching football to a home gym, but this is something more and more people are using sheds, workshops or even better if you have the funds is something like this cool garden room.  

A gym membership these days can cost anything from £15 a month all the way up to £50 so really you could argue that in the long run a home gym in your shed is going to save you money in the long run. But what do I need electricity for if I am just having a gym in my shed? Is no doubt what a few of you smarty pants have said. But to have a proper home gym, you will want some kind of cardio equipment in there and to get the best ones, you have to power them up. The last thing you want is a manual treadmill!

Things like weights and a weight bench will not require power, but if you do have power in there then you can put a TV on the wall and a sound system which will make working out much better. For example if you like football then you can go on a cross trainer or a treadmill while you watch the match and best of all as you have a home gym, you will not have to bring the treadmill into the living room, scuff up the carpet, ding the skirting board and get an earful of your other half. Yes you could have a home gym without powering up your shed, but we can assure it that it will not be as cool or as motivating as one that does!


Give The Kids An Awesome Place To Play With A Kids Playroom

Having a bunch of kids running around the house, shooting Nerf guns, screaming, watching annoying YouTube videos can test the patience of a saint. Not only that kids seem to go out of their way to cause damage to every room they are in! Then you can make this a dream hangout spot for kids. Now we have heard that people have converted a regular shed into a kids playroom, not put any power in there and everything has been fine. Now for younger kids who like to just run around crazy this is fine, but by putting power in there you are actually future proofing your kids playroom, hangout zone or whatever name they want to call it.

What we mean is that older kids will certainly want at least a TV in there. So they can watch YouTube or play video games or even just listen to some music when they are with their buddies. Which by the way just think about that for a second, your kid and all their little friends are hanging out in the garden instead of in your house! Anyway electricity is essential for a teenagers play room as they cannot go more than five minutes without looking at some kind of electrical device. We guarantee you that if you were to tell your kids that you were making them a special room just for them in the back yard one of the first things they will ask is if there is going to be a TV in there!


Become A DIY Master With Your Own Workshop

Ok so this is kind of boring and the most obvious one and that is why we did not put it first. But the fact of the matter is, you can have a way cooler and more practical workshop if you have it juiced to the max with electricity! Now you can have a fine workshop without electricity, but what about if you want to work at night? What about if your battery in a particular power tool is dead and you need it directly connected to the mains while you use it? What if you want to rock out to a little Iron Maiden when you work? These are all important and valid questions that can be easily answered if you have power in your workshop.

If you had something like this large 16 X 10 workshop then just think of all the epic power tools you could have. You could have workbenches with plug sockets built right in there is honestly no end to the cool stuff you could make in a workshop with power. And like we said before you can work through the night as you would have light in there. Although if you are running power tools at night you can expect a rather unpleasant conversation with the neighbours.  


Host Parties And Dinners

Ok so clearly from the name, we were not entirely sure what to call this. But the idea of this is having a nice space in the garden like a corner summerhouse for example. Where you can have a dining room table and host some fun little shindigs with some good friends and family members that your other half forces you to put up with. Well while you could sit out here in the dark with candle light like you are in the dark ages. It would be much better if you had power in there so you can have lighting, music and maybe even a TV so you can keep an eye on the match while listening to your brother in laws fascinating story.  

Many people would love to have a spot in their house where they can have people over for dinner, but a large dining table can take up a lot of room. Building a conservatory or an extension can cost a huge amount of money and in all honesty not give you the same kind of space something large like a good sized summerhouse can. We honestly think that anyone who is planning on getting a summerhouse in their garden to enjoy company has to think about putting power in there.


Get Creative With Your Own Art Studio

Ok this on may seem a little out there, but please hear us out. Far more people use a shed, workshop or even a summerhouse like this one as an art studio, pottery studio or just as a space where they can be creative than you would think. We found this very interesting and in all honesty, we feel that it is impossible to have this kind of creative space without having power to the structure. We say this because what if you get a creative spark at 9 pm and it is dark outside? Having power in there allows you to work on your art when you want to and not when the sunlight dictates. If you are into pottery then you simply must have some kind of power in their so you can work.


Adding electricity to your artistic space will also allow you to do more than just ensure the place is well illuminated. You could do things like have a small electric heater so you can work comfortably in the winter. A TV or stereo could even be put in there to help give you a little bit of inspiration or even just give you something to do when you are at a creative roadblock. If you are a creative person and you want a nice space to work then a shed with some power is the best way to go.


A Little Word About Putting Electricity To Your Garden Building

Ok so running an extension cable from your kitchen to the shed is really not the way to go or what we are talking about here. If you are putting electricity in your shed, workshop, summerhouse or whatever it is. Then please, please make sure you do it properly. Actually unless you are an electrician we advise that you do not do it at all and hire a professional.

There is a great blog post here about putting electricity into your shed and please make sure you read it before you try and do a quick and easy job yourself.  


“She sheds” are popular in the US – so here is a nice book on them

I have just been sent a copy of a new book about lady sheddies “She Sheds” – it mostly covers American sheds (yes they exist)  but a couple of UK and Australian sheds feature, it has some great photos and ideas to inspire – as you would imagine they are all very stylish.

This one from St Albans, UK is very chic (can I say that) but I have always been a fan of all white shed interiors, so yes I can.

anyway here is the bumf, it’s a nice addition to any sheddies bookcase

She Sheds provides inspiration, tips and tricks in over 100 beautiful photographs, helping you create the hideaway of your dreams. In this beautiful book, you’ll see dozens of in-depth examples of private spaces to inspire you in your own pursuit. Some she sheds are dedicated to making art, some gardening, crafts, or reading. All over the world, women are discovering the solitude and splendour of a she shed.


She Sheds: A Room Of Your Own by Erika Kotite is published by Cool Springs Press (£16.99).

Boat Roofed Shed – winning Shed of the year changed my life

Nice little update from Alex Holland him of the upturned boat shed.

I was fortunate enough to be the overall winner of the 2013 Shed Of The Year competition with my ‘Boat Roofed Shed‘.

Doing so has changed my life for the better! It is like being the President of the United States in that you retain your title. I often hear “Didn’t you win ‘Shed of the Year’? ” which is not a bad thing to be remembered for….

I am also a practicing disc jockey and in last years Glastonbury Festival program my listing (for DJ Badly) said “winner of the Shed of the Year no less” which made me immensely proud of the accolade.

Winning has also led to fine new friendships, comedy shows, gigs and charitable ‘open shed days’ all in our little corner of Mid Wales.

It has also led us into a rental business via Airbnb and a new career direction for my good self.

Do enter your shed as it is the taking part and not just the winning that makes Shed of the Year such a good thing…

Well done Wilco, following that idea in the pub has lead to all sorts of good things…. Long may it continue. X Alex

If you have a great follow up story about your shed then contact me

Some interesting videos of shed builds

When the sheddies add their sheds for Shed of the year some of them also add videos, so you and us judges can have a good look at their builds – so here are a collection of great ones, some with jaunty tunes! – be great to see your shed in video form – contact me and I will feature it here

The Scaffold Board Studio

The Beauty Shed


Colin Furze Mad Creation shed

Skull lounge

The Game Shed

The Baron’s Arms

The Carpenters Arms



Guest post :  A woolly hat for your shed

Thanks to Andy from for this guest post about insultation your shed roof.

Everyone knows when it’s cold you put a hat on to keep warm and every house has loft insulation. But when building a shed we typically only have a layer of board topped with felt to keep us warm. My shed was particularly bad as the roof only consisted of some corrugated plastic meaning that even with the heater on it did not keep warm.

Here’s how I retrofitted an insulated roof to my shed with some ideas as to how you might do this yourself.



My shed already had a frame supporting the roof so I knew it would be ok for some extra weight. If your walls are a bit flimsy then you want to consider re-enforcing these before you begin.


In my case, I needed to replace all of the roof so I used tongue and groove for the inner skin. However, it is quite possible to put the new roof on top of the old. The result is a sandwich of wood and insulation with battens for spacing and support.


  • Insulation, blocks are easiest
  • Timber for battens
  • Board such OSB
  • Felt
  • Screws, drywall or exterior
  • Clout nails


  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill

The first step is to remove the existing felt so that you can measure up for the battens. My shed is a bit of a peculiar shape so my batten frame had to match that. Otherwise, you just need a simple rectangle. When using multiple boards, fit cross struts at the places where those boards meet. If you are planning skylights then add extra battens around that area too. The frame can be made up in advance of putting it on the roof. For a large roof, multiple frames may prove more manageable. Place the frame on the roof and screw through from below to secure.


You can now fit the insulation into the frame. For block insulation, this should be straightforward. If you want to use rolled loft insulation then you will need to work out a way of stopping it all sinking to the bottom, perhaps cross wires held with screw eyes?

The top of this sandwich is OSB, if you cut this a bit larger than the frame then you can avoid a gap at the ridge. Otherwise like me, you will need to fit a piece of timber in the gap. Before fixing, I find it useful to pencil on where the battens are located. This makes it easier to ensure your screws will go through the top sheet and secure into the batten. You want the screws to be flush with the board so they don’t rip the felt. I drilled holes for mine but found I did not need to countersink them because the drywall screws do that themselves.


For extra waterproofing an under-felt was added, this is the felt that’s used for house roofs and does not have the stone chippings of regular roofing felt. It was cheaper than regular felt and the stones are only needed on the top layer to protect from the sun. So, to top it all off regular roofing felt was used, held in place with clout nails.


The shed still gets cold in the winter as it’s not constantly heated. It quickly warms up with a fan heater and keeps the heat. This means the fan heater can be turned down or off and the shed is still a pleasant place to work.

You can visit Andy’s website for great posts on his various make projects (includes dragons and 3d Printing), or follow him on twitter.

If you as a sheddie have an interesting build or fix you would like to share with the sheddies then Let me know.