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#TuesdayTips - Make the most of a garden shed

Posted 4 April 2017 by Ben Salisbury

As the days grow longer get out in the garden and transform your outdoor living space with a shed that can provide a place to work, entertain or relax

If you hear the phrase 'garden shed' chances are you'll think of piles of garden chairs, rusty tools, spiders the size of a hand, and faded wellington boots.

But the humble garden shed has birthed some of the greatest works of fiction ever written.

Virginia Woolf spent summers writing in her shed in Essex. Roald Dahl's smart 'writing hut' adorned with a climbing rose in Hertfordshire was perhaps outclassed by George Bernard Shaw, whose shed in the same county, complete with bed and telephone, sat atop a turntable so he could follow the sun.

Dylan Thomas's "bard's bothy" was situated on a Welsh cliff top above his home and playwright Arthur Miller wrote Death Of A Salesman in his garden shed in Connecticut.

There's something decidedly compelling about a shed, and you needn't be a world-famous author to appreciate one.

At the very least, it will add storage space to a property - convenient for the green-fingered or those who spend weekends building things with power tools.

But, if decked out like a miniature home from home (and the design potential is vast), the shed can become central to entertaining guests outdoors.

For those who work remotely, a shed acts as a secluded haven away from the house, where working without distraction is possible.

Do I need planning permission?

Even to use a shed as more than just a storage cupboard, planning permission is not needed – although placement should be considered in line with official guidelines – provided that it's for domestic use, it's not more than 3 metres tall for a flat roofed shed, or 4 metres for a ridged roof and it doesn't cover more than half the garden. There are additional rules for those living in World Heritage Sites, National Parks or areas of outstanding natural beauty. The terms can be read here on the Gov.uk planning portal.

How can I power it?

Those up for digging a trench in their garden can run electrical wires underground from the main house to equip their shed with mains power.

Always use a registered electrician, who will advise on weather proofing options and ask about how you plan to use your shed. This will determine how the work is done. If you just want basic lighting, for example, the job is more straightforward than if you're planning to use a desktop computer, a lawnmover, or an electric stove that will require RCD protection for your safety.

If you want to heat your shed, electric convection heaters are a popular choice, as they can be controlled with a 24 hour timer and a thermostat, and are relatively cheap to install, either mounted on a wall or free standing.

Alternatively, there are a range of solar powered products which can store excess power, from basic lighting kits to more sophisticated solar power stations of varying capacity. These are DIY self-install product saving time, and the need to dig a ditch.

Will my designed shed add value to a property?

If you do add a shed to your garden, do it for your own enjoyment, not to add value to your home.

A buyer may see a luxurious, high spec log cabin or summer house as additional floor space, so it's conceivable that an asking price may factor this in, but it's certainly not going to add huge sums.

That said, a beautiful, cared-for shed is certainly not going to put many buyers off and, it could conceivably help sway someone torn between two properties.

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