Shropshire 'sheddies' David and Rosie Hoult built their shed – called The Hideaway – in a small wooded area in the garden where they enjoy feeding and watching birds.
The trained holistic therapist and her retired husband wanted to create a tranquil hideaway and bird-watching retreat.
They suceeded with some style – and now their shed has been shortlisted for the prestigious Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2021 competition.
Entering in the Natures-Haven category, The Hideaway was born of an idea to build a creative bird table from old oak, before the idea progressed into a plan to build an upcycled decking, which was intended to become a bench seat.
The project progressed even further as David constructed the shed’s framework from recycled material. As each section got completed, Rosie painted the shed frontage and interior to reflect a Moroccan theme.
The shed has now become a great talking point for visitors to the couple, who live in Ploxgreen, between Church Stretton and Shrewsbury.
Rosie said: ‘‘The project has been a tremendous escape and a pleasant distraction over the past 12 months – evolving from a bird table, to the decking and then The Hideaway.
“The idea was to create a modest studio-style hide nestled amongst the trees where l could store bird food and we could spend time watching the birds.
“It has certainly helped us both with mental health and wellbeing through what has been a difficult and challenging time and l feel certain that we shall enjoy the benefits for many years to come.”
The competition will now see the 22 finalists go shed-to-shed across the nine categories.
A winner from each will be decided by public vote, before a panel of shed experts decide which overall winner will be awarded the giant golden crown.
Alongside eternal shed glory, the overall winner will also receive £1,000, a plaque and £100 of Cuprinol products.
Head judge and founder of the competition Andrew Wilcox said: “The past year has been an incredibly challenging time for all of us and, now more than ever, we’re aware of how important the humble shed can be.
“Sheds are not just unloved, brown structures at the bottom of the garden that house tools and household junk, they are vital spaces where you can go to relax, work on a project or burn off some steam.
“The high-calibre entries this year really prove why we set up the competition in the first place - to highlight the valuable role sheds can play in our lives, in our businesses and the positive impact they have on our wellbeing.”
Kirsty Woodbine, of Cuprinol, added: “We are overwhelmed by the amount and quality of entries we’ve received this year.
“The sheds were of such a high standard that narrowing them down to just 22 was an incredibly difficult task.
“The level of innovation, imagination and creativity we’ve seen has been incredible, as has the number of people using their sheds as dedicated spaces to help others in their community. This year’s contest has been truly life affirming.”
Last year’s shed-building superstar Daniel Holloway walked away with the coveted title of Cuprinol Shed of the Year 2020 after wowing judges with his nature-inspired refuge Bedouin Tree-Shed, built around two tree trunks in his back garden.
Ashley Bates took home the competition’s first ever Special Commendation in 2020, after setting up The Shed School to help educate children while lockdown closed classrooms.
Public voting for the competition opened last night.
In the competition’s 15th year, Nathan Macara and Rebecca Roseff have turned a corner of their garden in Great Malvern, Herefordshire, into somewhere for the greater and lesser horseshoe bat to hang out.
Father Len Black, from Inverness, has made it to the finals with summerhouse The Oratory Of St Joseph. The Catholic priest streamed Mass from the shed every day during lockdown, attracting viewers from Essex to Australia.
Influencer Danielle Zarb-Cousin also impressed the judges with her 1970s-inspired Creme de Menthe bar in her parents’ garden, which she created after going through a break-up.
Other finalists include specialist bra-fitter Joanna van Blommestein, who built lingerie boutique Bra Boss in her summerhouse.
Isle of Wight resident Nicholas Pointing built a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-inspired shed, as he wanted a space to construct a replica of the film’s car.