Thursday, April 09, 2015

Shed the play: Royal Court, Liverpool

An interesting new play at the Royal Court, Liverpool, directed by Bob Eaton and starring Paul Broughton and Michael Starke, runs from April 10 to May 9. Here's the bumph.

"Spring is in the air and the spuds are in the ground. When two blokes want to sit down and have a laugh without being bothered by anyone else there’s no place better than an allotment shed. And when those two mates have been best buds for the more than 50 years there’s a lot of water has flowed under the bridge. Most of it funny but some of it troubled. It’s just another day in the shed and the banter flies thick and fast as they talk about the old days, girlfriends and the best way to boil a sprout. But things are never quite how they seem. Two giants of the Liverpool stage Paul Broughton and Michael Starke have written and star in this great new bittersweet comedy about friendships, secrets and sheds."
 Thanks to the eagle-eyed Helen Lindsay. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homestead Timber Buildings - Manufacturers of Quality Timber Buildings

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Getting your garden office into shape

Get your garden office shed into shape! writes Will Hayes from Timberwise, this week's guest poster. Spring is upon us, the sunshine is out, but has your shed survived those treacherous winter months? Let’s start from the top. Check your roof for any cracks or crevices that may be allowing water to leak into your beloved shed. Timber sheds should always have roofing felt in order to stop penetrating rainwater.

Now like most things in life, you only get the quality that you pay for. There are two main types of felt that you can invest in; Sand Felt and Mineral Felt. Sand felt does the job but it can be susceptible to damage over time. Mineral roofing on the other hand is much tougher and thicker and can guarantee longevity over the years to come.

What panelling is best? Choosing the right type of build can be very important as some are more weatherproof than others. A tongue and groove build will help you channel any rainwater from progressing into your shed; this is accomplished through the interlocking panels. Shiplap cladding is slightly more advanced, it features a small groove in each timber; helping channel the water away from the shed quickly and efficiently.

Wooden garden sheds tend to be vulnerable to water damage which, if untreated, can possibly result in severe infestations such as dry rot or wet rot. Dry rot occurs when dry rot spores come into contact with wet timber, once this happens the rot will manifest progressively devouring the goodness and cellulose of the timber. Wet Rot is generally not as destructive as dry rot but nevertheless can cause severe damage if left untreated.

The key to keeping your shed preserved in good condition is not just to prevent the timber from getting wet but making sure that dampness can disperse and dry out. When building a wooden shed it is essential to make sure it is properly ventilated. Air and sunlight should be able to pass through the interior of your shed helping to alleviate any dampness preserving the condition of the wood. The base of the shed must be kept level, lifting the floor beams away from the ground allowing air to circulate underneath. In addition this will also make sure that damp leaves and debris do not gather against the walls causing mould.

The buildup of condensation is also a main cause of damp that you should always be aware of. Condensation occurs when moist air comes into contact with a cold surface such as your window and water droplets form. When this happens on your shed walls, the wall soaks up the moisture, causing damp and allowing mold to begin to grow. To avoid this make sure you do not leave any damp belongings or bags within your shed. Regular inspections and maintenance are the key to ensure your shed is tip-top and healthy all year round. Failure to do so can lead to detrimental effects, leaving you shedless for the summer. Protect, preserve and enjoy your summer of gardening. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Shed Decor: How to decorate and furnish your favourite garden room

Whenever I'm interviewed by the media about the advantages of shedworking, high up on my list of reasons to invest in a garden office is that it is 'me space', somewhere where you can work but also indulge yourself a little. If you need any inspiration about how to turn your shedlike atmosphere into something really pleasant, then Sally Coulthard's new book Shed Decor is certainly for you.

The book is a follow-up to her also excellent Shed Chic which came out a few years ago. That tome was more about shed design and function, this one focuses on furnishing. The first half concentrates on six basic looks - rustic, vintage (my personal favourite), plain and simple, recycled, retro, and country (also popular among the Shedworking staff). Although it's nicely written as you'd expect from a writer with numerous successful design books under her belt), it's the photographs which really jump out and make the book. Each style is covered in detail with sections on essential elements and case studies, and while there is an obvious emphasis on the back garden shed, there are also beach huts, treehouses and various working spaces included.

The second half is a more hands-on section looking at actually how to make it happen, concentrating on subjects such as flooring, wall treatments, lighting, heating, storage, and seating, finishing off with a directory of where to go to find it all. All in all, it's a smashing book and an absolute must for anybody with a shed and it would be hard to imagine how it could be improved upon. On top of which Sally is a nice person so please do buy a copy.

Shedworking readers can take advantage of a special discount offer. So to order Shed Decor at the discounted price of £20 including p&p (RRP: £25 - UK only, please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code APG285.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Pylon treehouses

There's renewed interest in Ladybird books at the moment with a particularly fascinating exhibition Ladybird by Design at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea. Publishers are also bringing back those titles which went out of print quickly, including Pylon Treehouses. Thanks to Paul Hurst for sending in this especially hard to find book cover.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Cabin Fever: why it's good to build a garden office

A nice article by Heather Hansman on re-form ('Cabin Fever: What your brain gets out of building in the forest) looks at the delights of making a shedlike atmosphere. Video above and snippet below:
"Going to the woods to live deliberately hasn’t been news since Henry David Thoreau hiked out of Concord, but the most recent fascination with flannel and timber framing might not just be superficial. We have a neurological need for both natural spaces and productive physical work, and the farther we sink into Snapchat, the more we’re missing it. That’s why building a cabin is appealing."
Well worth a browse. --------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Improbable Libraries

A video clip of me talking about my new book Improbable Libraries on the BBC flagship news programme Today earlier this morning. The book is officially published on April 6 and features a shed library (as well as elephant ones, bike ones, undergound ones and many more).

Monday, March 23, 2015

Design a shed for the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

An exciting new feature called ‘Garden Hideaways’ will be established at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2015, 22-26 July. It’s all about turning a shed into a beautiful and innovatively decorated hideaway.

"We give you a 6x4ft Shed," says Isobel Coulter, Assistant Show Manager. "You have ultimate creative power to transform the shed into a wondrous creation that no gardener has ever seen before.  The sheds should be designed as a haven at the bottom of your garden for sanctuary and creativity, a place that showcases your passions and interests.

"All designs must link in some way to gardening so that means there must be plants involved either in, around or all over your shed. You get to keep the shed afterwards or you can donate it to the RHS to find it a suitable home in the local community."

You can download an application form here and the factsheet is below.
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Garden office pod build (video)

A nice video from Garden Fortress featuring a build in Banstead, Surrey. Also a great soundtrack. Lots of similar ones on their YouTube page. --------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Rural homeworking: latest figures

According to the latest report from Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the 24.9 million people in work in England in 2013, 3.5 million were homeworkers (those who usually spend at least half of their work time using their home, either within their grounds or in different places or using it as a base).

The highest rate of homeworkers is in rural hamlets and dispersed areas, at 33 per cent, compared with 12 per cent in urban areas. Overall rural areas had a higher rate of homeworking compared with urban areas, says the report - in 2013, there were 994,000 homeworkers in rural areas and 2,490,000 in urban ones.

Between 2006 and 2013, the rate of homeworking increased faster in all rural areas compared with urban ones. The highest increase was in rural hamlets and 'dispersed areas' at 4.7 per cent.

According to the Office for National Statistics, homeworkers are more likely to be working in higher skilled roles and earn on average a higher hourly wage.
Homestead Timber Buildings - Manufacturers of Quality Timber Buildings