Tuesday, April 07, 2020

How to make a painting of your garden shed

A lovely online tutorial video from Essex-based professional artist Colin Steed shows you how to produce a watercolour of your shed like the one Colin has painted of his, pictured above, which is 11"x 15 " on Canson Moulin-du-Roy 140lb watercolour paper. "Because of the coronavirus," says Colin, "I decided to capture my garden studio garden using water colour. I painted plein air on a clear sunny day, capturing the strong sunlight using cool, dark shadows."

Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Monday, April 06, 2020

The ultimate Shed of the Year vote

If you've a spare moment for a spot of fun, here's something jolly to perk up your day, a vote to decide the ultimate Shed of the Year winner - think virtual Grand National Race of Champions but with fewer fallers. The Shed of the Year competition has been running since 2007 (I was a judge in the early years) but now Uncle Wilco who founded and still organises the competition wants to know what is your shed of sheds. You can vote on his Shedblog and take a look at all the winners below:

Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Head to the Shed in the Idler magazine

I've written something about the attraction of garden offices and sheds in general for the Idler magazine (for which regular readers will know I write a column about shedlike atmospheres each issue). Here's the beginning:
Alex Johnson on the sanity-saving oasis of the garden shed

People often talk about sheds as sanctuaries. At the moment, that’s especially true. “We see sheds as an escape most of the time,” agrees Uncle Wilco, founder of the Shed of the Year competition, “but right now they really are proving to be a oasis.”

Sheds are now performing all kinds of functions. People who don’t normally work from home are suddenly discovering the attraction – I’ve watched musicians perform concerts from inside their garden studio, auctioneers turn their garden sheds into salerooms, and national television broadcasters host their shows from their timber retreats.

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Saturday, April 04, 2020

Gardening tips to get your garden office surroundings ready for summer

A guest post from Oeco Garden Rooms about the space around your shedlike atmosphere: 

With many gardening tasks taking a hiatus over the winter months and with gardens inevitably looking tied and uninviting, a spring clean is one of the first tasks in refreshing your garden for the season ahead.
Start by removing any fallen leaves and clearing any borders and beds back to bare soil. You can use the dead organic matter you collected in your compost pile to be used later as a natural fertiliser, but do not put weeds in the compost, as the seeds can germinate and cause problems later down the line.
Plants that survived the winter should be trimmed back to allow new growth to form and a great time to do this is after the plant has bloomed in early spring to prevent cutting off any future flowers and to prevent damage from frost. Pruning plants in spring also gives them the best chance of blooming again in the summer.
Your lawn is one of the most important spaces in the garden and must be looked after in the spring to ensure a healthy start to the season. Cutting the grass on a higher setting than usual the first couple of times will help with new growth, without putting too much strain on the grass; you can then lower your lawnmower to your preferred height as the lawn gets stronger.
Patio areas and decking should also be cleaned in spring to prevent moss and algae build-up which can make these areas slippery. Warm soapy water and a hard bristle brush makes light work of most of the dirt, but for stubborn stains, a patio cleaner and pressure washer is a great choice.
Spring is also the time to fix any issue in the garden such as broken or rotten fences, tired-looking garden furniture or old garden sheds. Clean the surfaces and repair any damaged pieces before staining or painting them to protect them over the coming months. Exterior stains and paints are now available in a range of different colours, so why not experiment with adding pops of colour throughout your garden.
In with the new
Flowers and plants are an essential consideration in any garden, and as trends change so does the types of plants used in the garden. Many gardeners are now using native plants and flowers as they look to be more conscious of the nature around them and helping local wildlife to survive and thrive.
Planting nectar-rich flowers is an excellent way of attracting butterflies and bees into the garden. Species such as Hebe and Lavender are particularly popular and produce an array of purple flowers that attracts a wide range of insects. Daffodils are the quintessential symbol of spring, while pansies are ideal for smaller borders and hanging baskets.
Spring is also a great time to freshen up the soil in your garden, applying some mulch and compost to feed the soil and the plants. Perennials such as the Pasque flower and Bellflowers will benefit from the increased nutrients and will decorate your garden with an array of vibrant colours.
Unlocking your gardens potential
Once the cleaning and maintenance tasks are done, it is time to look at going the extra mile and creating a space that the whole family can enjoy during the summer. Despite the unpredictable weather, outside entertaining is one of the most popular pastimes during the warmer weather.
Comfortable furniture is vital to provide a space in which to relax and unwind, while budding cooks can create culinary masterpieces with BBQs and outdoor ovens. Café style festoon lighting and fire pits are a great choice when it comes to keeping the ambience going throughout the night.
For those looking to extend their living space without having to build an expensive extension, garden rooms are a perfect choice. Available in a range of different sizes to suit any space, garden rooms can be used for multiple purposes, from an outdoor entertaining area or bar to a place for relaxing and unwinding in away from the main house.
Technology isn’t something that you associate with the garden apart from lawnmowers, strimmer’s and the odd power tool, but as technology makes our lives more comfortable in the home, it was inevitable that it would be integrated into the garden.
There is now an array of hi-tech gadgets available to make gardeners lives easier, from smart apps that remind you to water your plants to probes that analyse the soil and lets you know of impending problems, technology is everywhere.
Remote-controlled ambient lighting and heating systems have been around for a while now and continue to improve, as do advanced sprinkler systems to make sure that every part of your garden gets the right amount of water.
Saturday posts are sponsored by woowoo waterless toilets, the best toilet for your garden office

Friday, April 03, 2020

How to dig a trench for a cable for a garden office

If you're planning to dig a trench for a cable for your new garden office (obviously you'll only be laying it if you're a professional), then there is an excellent thread on this very subject at the Home Improvement Stack Exchange site. Some of it is quite technical but it's all very useful and there are various answers provided to various issues - especially about the width and depth of the trench required - by various respondents. Well worth looking at if this applies to you. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Friday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Allotment garden office

It's been tremendous seeing how creative people have been with converting their sheds into garden offices during the lockdown. I think this is my favourite so far, RE teacher Daniel Hugill's set up in his shed on his allotment in which he has already had a virtual departmental meeting (the shed is covered by local BT wifi). How inviting is that as a workspace? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

David Hockney's shed treehouse

"David Hockney is in lockdown at his house in Normandy with his dog Ruby and two of his long-standing assistants, JP and Jonathan. He is in the garden most days, drawing the spring awakening on his iPad. In a BBC exclusive, he is sharing 10 of his most recent images (including one animation), nine of which have never been published before, for us all to enjoy at this difficult time, along with his thoughts on the role of art in life."
More on this at the BBC --------------------------------------
Wednesday’s posts are sponsored by Norwegian Log Buildings  - Log cabins and garden buildings for a better quality of life. Click here for more details.

Working from garden office tips during the Coronavirus crisis

A nice post from Garden Affairs looks at the currently particularly hot topic of advice for potential new shedworkers on working from their garden office. Here's a snippet:
There's huge uncertainty as to how long this crisis will last, and what its long-term implications for public health will be. As teams across the country rapidly adapt to connecting through Zoom meetings and fitting their domestic and childcare duties around more flexible working hours, some experts are talking of homeworking becoming the new normal. Which means now may be the time to think seriously about putting a home office in your back garden. You don’t need acres of land to accommodate one of our buildings. A small garden office pod like our popular Mini office (below) is a comfortable and stylish way of creating your own office, even in the tiniest of garden spaces.
You can read the rest of it at their web site here.

Wednesday’s posts are sponsored by Norwegian Log Buildings  - Log cabins and garden buildings for a better quality of life. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Coronavirus update: Smart's new e-catalogue

As we go into the second week of lockdown in the UK, garden office suppliers continue to come up with new solutions for people interested in finding out more about shedworking. Smart has closed its physical premises and showroom, stopped on-site consultations, and adjusted its installment dates.

"We're still keen to help potential customers plan their dream garden room, office or studio," says Sue Phillips, Smart's Sales and Marketing Director. "So instead of asking for a hard copy of our catalogue, anybody can now take a look at it as an e-catalogue. It has plenty of inspireing ideas and case studies plus information on all our ranges and optional extras."

Smart has also provided a new ‘Self Consultation’ form to get things underway for the time when things are back to normal, and have also introduced a new ‘peace of mind deposit’ - £250 secures an order at the prices quoted and the company's earliest installation slot. For more details, click the link above to take you through to their site.
Tuesday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning