Garden sheds 'worth £5 billion to the British economy'

Latest research underlines nation's obsession with sheds in run up to annual Shed of the Year competition

New figures suggest around 14 million people in the UK own a garden shed and that sheds are worth £5 billion to the economy

The research from Cuprinol, sponsors of the annual Shed of the Year competition, is based on the average cost of a shed (£281) plus the average cost of doing up a shed (£94).

Its survey also reveals that one in five people admit to spending time in their shed to avoid their partners, while a quarter would prefer it to seeing their in-laws - another eight per cent would even rather spend time in their shed than be intimate with their partner. Overall,  the average ‘sheddie’ spends almost a year of their life in their shed.

Sheddies are also using their shed as a place to keep secrets from their partner - nine per cent store secret unhealthy snacks there, eight per cent keep secret cigarettes hidden inside, four per cent hide secret love letters from an ex-partner and 11 per cent admit to using their shed to make secret phone calls.

Meanwhile, garden sheds are enjoying makeovers around the county with 35 per cent now featuring electric power - seven per cent have a television - and five per cent have a sof (two per cent even have a hot tub). The average shed now contains around £460 worth of items. 

So enjoyable is shedlife that 12 per cent of people say they feel at their happiest when they spend time in their shed. A fifth add that they are at their most creative while shedworking and a quarter of men claim that spending time in their shed makes them feel more masculine.

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

The research also showed that:

* a quarter of Londoners have spent time in their shed to think about their relationship problems compared to just four per cent of people in Wales

* more than a third of those who live in the North West claim that spending time in their shed lifts their mood, compared to a fifth of those  in the East Midlands

* The Northern Irish spend the most on their sheds at £658.70

The national Shed of the Year competition was launched eight years ago and features special categories for Tardis sheds, garden offices and pub sheds. You can enter your shed at www.readersheds.co.uk from now until 5 May. Last year’s winner was Alex Holland from Machynlleth in mid Wales whose shed is made from a recycled upturned boat for a roof and built 750ft above sea level in the Cambrian Mountain range.

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