What does your shed look like? Is it a basic wooden, metal or plastic shed with garden tools in it? Most of us will be nodding our heads in agreement, I’m sure. But if ever there is a time to be inspired by what could be, it’s now.

That’s because it’s time for Shed of the Year 2016 again, and it certainly provides oodles of inspiration for anyone wishing their shed looked a bit more inspiring. Of course, sheds should be practical. But if you have room in your garden, maybe you could use a small shed for garden storage and devote some room to a shed of a completely different kind as well.

From flatpacks to foraging to fabulous…

When you look through the Shed of the Year shortlisted entries, you’ll see that very few of them actually look like your common-or-garden sheds. That’s because there are a million ways to create a truly unique shed.

For example, some people start with a basic wooden flatpack and put that together before doing something different with it. Others forage for wood and other supplies and put together something completely unique. Some do both of the above.

Others go for something completely out of this world. This year’s competition has an Austin camper shed (yes, really), a shed made from the wheelhouse of a former boat, and even a small collection of sheds at the bottom of a garden, each designed with its own theme.

While it is always nice to see what other people have done with their sheds, it’s just as good to let this inspire you to do something different with yours.

Let your creativity shine

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Faced with a whole array of inspired designs in this year’s competition, you’d be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed. How can you design a shed that is personal to you and is very different from any flatpack shed you may have had before?

It might help to have a look through some of the categories used in the Shed of the Year 2016 competition. One of these might appeal to you more than the others. Here’s a look at just some of the categories in use this year:

Workshop/studio
• Unique
• Eco
Budget
• Unexpected

One of these categories might appeal to you more than the others. For instance, if you’re on a budget it may prohibit you from buying a standard shed to use as a template for whatever you want to design. So, could you renovate the old shed you currently have, or perhaps take an old one someone you know is getting rid of?

Don’t just think in terms of regular sheds either. One of this year’s shortlisted designs is made from corrugated metal sheets. Another one has been made from pallets and old polycarbonate sheets. When you start thinking more creatively, it’s surprising what you can come up with!

Incidentally, you don’t have to be an experienced builder to make a garden shed that is truly your own. The garden pallet shed – known as The Beach Hut thanks to its brightly-coloured exterior – was created by Ilona, a lady who had never built anything before.

Making plans

Whatever you intend to do, consider the amount of room you have available to accommodate your shed design. Where can you put it? How much natural light will it get? How much space do you have to play with? Can you take advantage of an unusual plot shape that might just help you get an idea for a quirky design?

Think of the materials you can work with, and anything you might have available that could help inspire a design, too. Do you have a selection of old pallets you could use like the lady mentioned above? Do you have an old shed already standing that is rotten on one side? Could you remove part of that side and extend it or add a smaller area onto it?

Sketch out your design first and remember you can make alterations and add things on to the original design as you go. It has to be stable, of course, but as the Shed of the Year competition has shown in the past, it is perfectly possible to create an odd-shaped building that is very stable and cosy to use. We think the quirkier designs are often among the best of the lot.

Part of the fun of making your own unique shed is the process of actually making it. While you will enjoy it once it is completed, there is nothing more satisfying than coming up with an innovative design that lets your character and inspiration shine through.

What will you do to change your existing wooden or metal shed in your garden? Will you leave it where it is and create something completely new and quirky instead?

Feeling inspired?

Check out these other helpful articles to help you customise your shed:

What is a She Shed?
How to Create Your Own Man Cave
Creating a Home Gym on a Budget
How to Insulate a Garden Shed