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In praise of garden sheds – more than just a tool store


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No matter how low maintenance you manage to make your outdoor space, you will always need somewhere to keep your garden tools. Forks, spades, bags of compost, tubs of weed killer, gardening gloves, hoes and trowels – none of them belong in the house!

For those lucky enough, a cavernous garage is a suitable repository of all things unfit for domestic accommodation – however malodorous they may be. But not everyone has access to such a luxury of weatherproof space. For many of us a garden shed is the best that we can aspire to – and there is nothing wrong with that.

A source of celebration

The humble shed is seldom celebrated, and we think that is a shame. After all, who doesn’t have a childhood memory of some creepy-crawly infested treasure trove of odds and discarded ends? The heavy odours of dry wood, soil and creosote blended together, make for one of those peculiarly evocative perfumes that can brush away the years in an instant.

Surely everyone has a vivid sense of how it feels to be tucked away inside such a woody garden haven? And for all the talk of man-caves and the Python-esque stereotype of an innately awkward figure pottering about with his potting, there is something undeniably appealing about these dens of earthy immersion.

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Garden romance

Brilliant as they may be for playing hide and seek with the garden rake, our sheds are first and foremost practical structures. Waterproof roofs, good padlocks, and shed alarms to make sure nothing goes walkabout in the night are there for resolutely well-grounded reasons.  But for all that incontrovertible practicality, there is still something resolutely romantic about the idea of the humble shed.

A Modern twist

It turns out we are not alone in our appreciation of these all-too-often unloved garden havens. The Posh Shed Company, based in Eardisland in rural Herefordshire are catching the mood by promoting a de luxe range of free standing structures that are considerably more up market than any ordinary shed could ever hope to be. And some of them are almost cute enough to eat.

Of course, a posh shed would be out of kilter with all that grubby garden equipment – you’d end up spending more time cleaning them than enjoying the garden itself! But we salute the effort to make something of our favourite outhouse, just, as we suspect, sponsors of an annual Shed of the Year competition, The Daily Telegraph, might be inclined to agree.

For all the PSC’s idea of a bright and shiny garden monument to modernity, such an inescapably 21st century twist somehow doesn’t feel quite right – like a 20th century antique, it just feels uncomfortably out of time. Garden houses and outhouses can be new, but surely sheds should – at their best – be a kind of semi-run-down relic of long hot summers and soggy winters past. They should cut the sort of barely defined outline that suggests its own sepia-tinged soft edges, redolent of a gardener’s slow and patient care and happy days gone by.

We all need somewhere to keep our garden tools, somewhere safe and dry… and headily aromatic.

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Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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