Hints & Tips
Recycling on a small scale can help you with a variety of garden tasks, from growing plants to creating ponds.
Some people, however, let their imaginations run wild – with astonishing results. The winner of the 2014 Shed of the Year competition has taken recycling to a new level with his eco-friendly shack.
Joel Bird, 39, who lives in Tottenham, north London, used recycled materials to construct his Allotment Roof Shed. He uses the top of the structure to grow an array of vegetables, including potatoes, courgettes, leeks, beetroot, onions, carrots, garlic, asparagus and tomatoes.
Mr Bird is an artist, so it comes as no surprise that his shed's a bit out-of-the ordinary. He described his creation – which cost just £500 to build – as "a little mini countryside which keeps me sane in a city".
Solar panels are used to provide lighting, while a wood burner supplies heat during the winter months.
The shed has a tin bath on the roof, so he's able to cool off during the summer. Excess rainwater is not wasted, of course – it flows through a pipe, waters herbs and is collected in a water butt.
Mr Bird used materials left over from renovating his house to create his shed. Old aluminium doors and windows were used as part of the structure, while old carpet, tyres and pallets have been used as furnishings.
The interior of the shed is used for painting and making music. "I am up there every single day," the artist said. "I actually spend more time on or in the shed than in the house."
Mr Bird identified a shift in attitudes to the garden structures, with old-fashioned views giving way to a sort of shed renaissance.
"Sheds are no longer just places for men to escape to, they are transforming the way people live their lives and subsequently how they see themselves," he said. "I'm hoping to use the award to promote the benefits of a more sustainable life."