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Britain's most incredible sheds

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No longer are sheds the cob-webby domain of lawnmowers and muddy boots.

The humble garden outbuilding is fast becoming a showcase for creative types to flex their interior design skills and transform a once-discarded and forgotten leftover space into something extraordinary.

Britain's annual Shed Of The Year competition has evolved out of this trend and unites enthusiastic "sheddies" from across the UK who have worked tirelessly to conjure up a themed retreat in their back gardens.

Entries over the past few years have included an American Diner-style abode complete with zinc furnishings and a jukebox, a replica ship den with deck and rigging and an abstract expressionism shed built in tribute to artist Piet Mondrian.

Some of the detail really is incredible, from a rooftop allotment with homegrown vegetables and a tin "summer bath" to a Russian summerhouse with stained glass windows and a Caribbean rum shack with its own vintage signs.

Property guru Kirstie Allsopp has long been an advocate of a shed makeover - not only for the fun of it, but also as a means of adding value to your home in a sluggish market.

"It’s a proper outside room with heating, wiring etc, and I still rate it as a really good investment," says Allsopp of her own shed office. "A garden office transforms not just how you work, but also declutters your home. Rooms seem bigger and pleasanter without a desk, office chairs, cables and computers cluttering up living space."

So if your shed is standing unused and unloved, grab a little inspiration on how to transform it - whether for work or play - with a few of Britain's best sheds, below:

The roof garden shed

This London eco-shed has a roof that doubles up as an allotment.

"I use the shed as my work space, the first half is for painting and art, the second half is a music practise room," says owner Joel Phelan. "It is great to work knowing it provides me with a really high level of sustainability. The lights are powered by a solar panel, I use a wood burner to heat it, and then there is the allotment roof.

"Last year I grew a really decent crop of potatoes, courgettes, leaks, beetroot, onions, carrots, garlic, asparagus, tomatoes, rhubarb and strawberries. It's easy to access with a little staircase and I have a little tin bath up there for a summer soak. It's a little mini countryside which keeps me sane in a city."

The nightclub shed

One for all you party animals out there...

This "Bar Code" nightclub shed has two sound systems, a 42 inch plasma TV that plays music videos with surround sound, a karaoke machine, remote-controlled neon and disco lights, a plasma ball and a fully equipped bar.

The Russian summer house

More a work of art than simply a shed, this "Russian summer house" boasts seven beautiful 8ft stained glass windows and an amazing mosaic roof inspired by architect Antoni Gaudi's famous designs in Barcelona.

The Caribbean rum shack shed

A Caribbean-style rum shack complete with retro signs, bar stools and most importantly, the rum.

The country pub shed

It's always convenient when your local is just a short roll down to the bottom of the garden. This former shed is now The Shallow Anchor pub.

The overturned boat shed

This Wales-based shed is crafted entirely from recycled materials, with a roof fashioned from an overturned boat. Don't be fooled by its ramshackle appearance - it contains a wood burner, a 12v sound system, a gas cooker and a refrigerator.

The dome shed

The "Dome Experiment" shed created in Preston, Lancs. We'd quite happily live here...

The American diner shed

A fabulous American Diner shed, with retro paintings, a chequered linoleum floor, a jukebox, red booths and bar stools.

The pagoda shed

A pagoda-style "shedoga" created by entrant Kevin McGivern in his suburban garden.

The ship shed

The Queen Emma in Portsmouth is modelled on HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. It has a top deck, rigging and flies and a Skull and Cross Bones flag.

The Mondrian shed

A tribute to abstract artist Mondrian by Peter Ellis in Letterkenny, Ireland.

Photos: Rex Features

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