The Veg Plot

An interview with… the shed reviewer

Shed and hops

Sheds are big business and anyone wishing to shell out on a new one is likely to be confronted with a mind boggling array of options. Fortunately help is at hand with the excellent shed review site What Shed. We caught up with the brains behind the site, Richard Fletcher, to get some expert insight into the complicated world of sheds…

You review and rate 100s of sheds. What are some of the key things you look for when making a purchase?
The key thing someone about to buy a shed should look for is quality of construction. You have cheap sheds and expensive sheds (£500+), and the old saying of you get what you pay for still holds true. When you pay more you often get a better quality of wood that is pressure treated to last longer. Also the wood is often a denser variety that will ultimately give you a more sold structure and allows the joints to hold form better for longer.

We’re after a new shed and much prefer the aesthetics of an old fashioned wooden shed, but are there any modern designs and materials we should be looking out for?
I have to admit I am a little biased on this as I love the old wood shed look (and smell). In many ways the humble garden shed is starting to turn into a small home at the bottom of your garden with some of the new trends we have seen. You can obviously go for metal or plastic sheds but they have a decidedly utilitarian feel to them and bring a more industrial look to your garden. In many ways more people are going back to the renewable earthy feel of wood.

Do you have any personal preference regarding pent or apex structures?
Not really. I guess pent sheds tend to be better at giving more headroom and in many ways make better workshops. Having said that the apex shed is more of a traditional looking shed so I would lean more towards that.

Is there anything in a shed that particularly annoys you?
Cobwebs! For some reason, no matter how neat you keep the place after a week or so, they always seem to comeback. As I am sure you will agree there can be nothing more irritating that walking through your shed door and getting a face full of spider’s web on you.

Any new sheds we build must have the potential for including a bar. How easy is it to customise a shed?
A shed (wooden) is one of the easiest things to modify. Also they are pretty easy to patch up if you accidently punch a hole in the wrong bit! If you’re good with a saw and hammer and you know how to use a tape measure and spirit level you should be fine. One of the best resources you can find is YouTube, just search for a ‘How To…’ and you will almost certainly find someone who will show you a step by step of how to do it. This is one of the best “How To Build a Bar” guides we found:

You also review other outdoor buildings including greenhouses, playhouses and gazebos. Do you think non-shed out buildings are becoming more popular?
Yes, they certainly are. The most popular item on our site is actually a corner arbour followed by a BBQ arbour.

I quite fancy installing a greenhouse in my garden but live next to a tennis court so have the fear of wayward smashes smashing glass. What are the more durable options out there?
Greenhouse technology has come on a long way in the last few years and the fact you can now get greenhouses that are 100% made out of unbreakable polycarbonate should allow you to put your greenhouse next to the most active tennis court without a worry. If you take a look at our article on how to fix a broken window you can see we also tell you how to retro fit your shed with unbreakable windows.

Our brewing shed contains many valuable items. Do you have any shed security tips to protect our stash of secret brewing recipes and prototype beers?
The best form of protection (your wives and children might not agree though) is to stay permanently on guard by buying a comfy sofa and just staying in your shed with a decent pint! OK, so perhaps that’s not the most practical solution. The best option we have found is buying a good solid shed and then adding three solid bolt locks that are secured on the inside (so no bolts show outside), then using a solid padlock. We couple that with a rear light that’s motion activated. If you have your windows covered and the above deterrents then it should put off most opportunist thieves.

Do you have any advice on preparing a shed base?
Measure twice, cut once! The key is preparation and not rushing things. In many ways you don’t want to rush making a base as if it’s not done right it can lead to you needing to do it again later, or worse, a bad foundation can undermine the joints of your shed. We compiled a great guide with videos on or site that is well worth checking out if you’re about to prepare a shed base.

And, finally, what four items would you choose to be housed in your ‘desert island shed’?
That’s a good one. I think the first must be a copy of your beer recipes! The second needs to be a way of making them. Hmm… the third item I think would be a hammock so I could sit out and relax as I drink my fine refreshment. The fourth and final thing would be a duster so I could get rid of those pesky cobwebs that I talked about annoying me so much.

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