Shed of the year 2020 is the Bedouin Tree Shed


  • Bedouin Tree Shed built around two living tree trunks in London garden
  • Sheducation celebrated with inaugural Special Commendation

A FAMILY’S nature-inspired refuge from lockdown has been crowned the Cuprinol Shed Of The Year 2020, while the competition’s first ever Special Commendation has gone to a shed school.

The Bedouin Tree-Shed has been an eight-year labour of love for expedition organiser Daniel Holloway, who built it around two living tree trunks in his back garden in Blackheath, south London

When the nation went into lockdown it soon became a sanctuary for the 55-year-old, his wife Beccy, 51, and their children Sam, 12, and 14-year-old Lyza.

Daniel explains: “When lockdown arrived, the shed really took on a life of its own, bringing us closer together as a family.

“Spending time in it taught us some valuable lessons about appreciating what is precious and provided solace for us all during those really uncertain weeks and months. We whiled away many an hour in there listening to music, playing games and quietly reflecting.

“I’m delighted that it’s been crowned the Cuprinol Shed Of The Year 2020.”

Video tour of the Winning shed from sheddie Daniel Holloway

The extraordinary space began life as a conventional garden shed – but has been extended and modified to encompass three levels with a footprint of roughly 5m by 5m.

It contains a host of treasures from Daniel’s extensive travels through Africa and is built around the trunks of an Ash and an Evergreen Oak.

“Being in harmony with nature is incredibly important for us as a family” Daniel adds. “We’ve been absolutely committed to avoid impacting the root system of the trees as we’ve been extending the shed.

“There’s also willow saplings and jasmine on the exterior which makes the shed almost seem part of the landscape when they bloom in the summer.”

Alongside the African artefacts, the interior is decorated with vintage etchings and specimens of butterflies alongside finely carved ancient hardwood Indian columns.

A wood-burning stove provides comfort during the cold winter months with furniture plundered from skips and reclamation yards. The floor is made of oak planks and follows the contours of the trees inside.

The Bedouin Tree-Shed topped the Nature’s Haven category in a public vote before being awarded the overall title from a panel of judges. Daniel will receive £1,000, a plaque and £100 of Cuprinol products.

And in a competition first, judges have this year also awarded a Special Commendation alongside £250 – to celebrate the efforts teacher Ashley Bates went to in order to educate children while lockdown closed classrooms. 

Winner of the Lockdown Repurpose category, he streamed maths and English lessons for five to eight-year-olds from his Shed School in his back garden in Hinchley Wood, Surrey.

He said: “With so many children potentially missing out on education because of lockdown, I thought I had to do something to help.

“I was stunned how it took off – going from a few hundred followers to over seven thousand in just a few weeks”.

Lockdown Repurpose

Head Judge and competition founder Andrew Wilcox said: “This year we’ve been blown away by the imagination and creativity on display from sheddies up and down the country, during these unprecedented times.

“But it was Daniel’s Bedouin Tree-Shed that impressed us most. We were really taken by how sensitively he incorporated nature into the design and the role it played bringing his family closer together during lockdown.

“We were also wildly impressed by Ashley’s efforts to educate the nation’s kids while coronavirus closed classrooms.”

Kirsty Woodbine, Marketing Manager for Cuprinol, said: “The extraordinary events of this past year have seen the nation’s sheds take on a host of new roles in our lives – from a family refuge to a sheducation hub. It highlights how creative and considerate we can be even through the most difficult of times.

“Now more than ever our gardens, patios and outside spaces provide welcome respite from the uncertainties of the world outside – allowing us time to reflect, relax and socialise.

“At Cuprinol we’re committed to helping people make the most of the outdoors so they can enjoy all the benefits getting closer to nature brings.”

This year’s entrants competed across nine categories – with two new lockdown-specific categories introduced – Lockdown Repurpose and Lockdown New-build. A public vote through decided each winner. 

Individual Category Winners:

Unexpected        Bucko’s Bar        Len Lavelle

Len, 51, built this replica of a traditional Irish boozer as a tribute to his cherished dad. The Quality Control Manager from Heald Green, Cheadle said: “My dad brought us up with all the traditional Irish values, and whenever we went on holiday to Ireland we would find ourselves spending most of the time sitting in the corner of an old Irish Pub. I will never forget the day that I invited him and the rest of the family round for him to cut the ribbon and officially open the bar. It was a great afternoon, and each and every item inside the bar reminded him of his past and he had many tales to tell.”

Cabin/Summerhouse    Jane’s She-Shed    Jane Moyle

Retired company director Jane took inspiration from Japan in creating her ultimate Summerhouse. What started as somewhere to store photo albums soon blossomed into a space for entertaining her 11 grandchildren. She said: “I wanted a quiet place to read and relax. With the folding doors and the decking outside, it is ideal for outdoor meals, sunbathing, reading.But above all, the summerhouse is surrounded by a magnificent huge weeping willow tree, bronze and green Japanese acers, a yellow Robinia and a purple smoke shrub.”

Workshop/Studio    Colin Furze Workshop    Colin Furze

YouTube star Colin Furze keeps his ten million subscribers entertained with his creations in his workshop in Stamford, Lincs. He said: “My dad never let me in his shed. So once I moved into my own house the shed was the first thing I did. The shed is not just a workspace or place of work, it is now an inspiration for the many people that watch my videos to see what can be made in a garden workshop. I get a lot of messages from people and parents of children who’ve been inspired to get making their own creations and even make their own sheds based on mine.”

Lockdown New-Build    Rk2                Joe Melton 

Norfolk sheddie Joe Melton kept busy during lockdown by building this homemade rum shack in his back garden. The Senior Project Manager from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, explained: “The bar has brought us together during lockdown as we have continued to make changes and improvements. The whole family has been involved in building, sanding and waxing – giving the children a chance to learn new life skills and then enjoy slushies sitting back looking at what they have built.”

Unique            Old Bill            Adrian Backshall

His life-long passion for trains inspired Eastbourne sheddie, Adrian Backshall, 59, who built his shed on rails. The retired train worker said: “From when we bought our first house I`ve always had a shed. I’ve collected lots of old railway stuff over the years and wanted to reuse it for the shed. It’s kept me busy in my retirement and I’ve had it all to myself, but I`ve spent so much time and money on it I thought it was worth showing off.”

Pub/Entertainment    Pallet Hollywood        Mark Killick

As the name suggests baggage handler Mark Killick used old wooden pallets to create his Pallet Hollywood bar in the back garden of his home in Farnborough, Hants. It boasts a hot tub and a stash of original 80s vinyl to play on his Kenwood Hi-fi system. He said: “Before the lockdown, friends and family would come round for a few drinks at Pallet Hollywood. We’ve got music in there and have had some great parties, and with all the outside lights on every evening it’s great to look at when we’re in the house.”

Budget            Budget Pallet Hobbit House     Julie Twydell

Marketing Manager Julie Twydell, from Bromley, Kent credits working on her Budget Pallet Hobbit House for keeping herself occupied during lockdown. “If I didn’t have it, I’m not quite sure what I would have done instead,” she says. Made entirely from recycled materials Julie reveals: “Nothing is really straight, correct or perfect and that’s what I love about it. I like its rustic charm. I can read there, have a glass of wine, watch tv with the cinema screen, do craft and building projects – it’s great.”

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By Andrew Wilcox

I love sheds Founder & judge of Shed of the year - Wilco writes mainly about sheds. About the blog Enter your shed into #shedoftheyear