A Russian summerhouse, a nightclub and a ‘shegoda’: must be time for the Shed of the Year contest…

If you thought the main purpose of a shed at the bottom of the garden was to avoid your other half, well, you'd be right. But it's also a great way to showcase your more, um, eclectic decorating predilections...

Ever wondered what your other half gets up to when he or she disappears down the bottom of the garden? Well prepare to be amazed… VERY amazed, especially judging from some of the entrants in the 2014 Shed of the Year contest.

Now in its fourth year, the contest celebrates the weird and wonderful creations of enthusiastic ‘sheddies’ in Britain across eight different categories, including eco shed; garden office; cabin/summerhouse; unique shed; pub shed, oh, and not forgetting normal shed.

The competition looks hotter than ever this year with entrants including a pagoda-style ‘shedoga’ by Kevin McGivern, a Russian-themed summerhouse by John Hardisty and a good old-fashioned boozer courtesy of Corporal Paul Goodfellow, affectionately christened ‘The Geordie Racer’.

And, according to a study by Shed of the Year sponsors Cuprinol, the humble garden shed is far more than just a place to store the lawnmower and that racing bike you haven’t used since circa 2007.

The study found that one in five Brits regularly retreat to their timber home-from-home to escape a partner, with 12% going so far as to say that they’re at their happiest when squirrelled away in the shed.

Turns out us crafty Brits are also using our trusty garden retreat as a safe haven for personal items, such as a secret stash of junk food (9%), sneaky ciggies (8%), shopping receipts (7%) and, bizarrely, old love letters (4%)!

And if you think that’s bad, then consider the more – how shall I put this – eclectic items some owners admitted to stashing in their sheds, including a relative’s ashes, discarded breast implants and a stuffed alligator.

Cuprinol marketing manager Kathryn Ledson said: ‘It’s clear the nation are fanatical about sheds and view the shed as an important extension of the home, with many using it as a getaway to store secrets or avoid loved ones.

‘But whatever you use your shed for the Annual Shed of the Year competition aims to celebrate the best of British.’

Competition for last year’s title was fierce with record numbers of ‘sheddies’ entering their garden refuges, but it was an eco-friendly, upturned boat that eventually took the crown.

Alex Holland used a 100-year-old reclaimed vessel to make his prize-winning shed, which is nestled in the
mountains, 750ft above sea level. Inside it features a woodburner, a gas cooker and an eco-friendly solar panel to generate electricity for the LED lights, a 12v sound system and even a fridge.

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