We have a fairly large and abundant side yard that’s been begging for a shed since we bought our house 8 years ago. The center of our yard is cut into a miniature baseball diamond and filled with thick clover (home to the buzzing bees); edged with dwarf fruit trees (plum, apple, fig), blueberry bushes, grapes (soon), and clumps of rosemary; and bordered by a little urban creek (seasonal camp to a tribe of those thumbnail-sized, cannon-voiced burrowing frogs). I could show you that yard, but for all that, without a shed, this article on sheds–especially the shed on slide 1–is much more interesting.
Author Neil Gaiman also has a shed to envy documented here. Philip Pullman did his best work to date in a shed (I saw a photo of the inside once, but can’t find the URL.) The number of creators who’ve leveraged sheds is long, and most are unsung. The shed is and always has been the urban man’s (or woman’s) quick getaway–whether it’s a “writing hut” or studio or just a place to putter. As kids, we start with the playhouse or a hideout, even the hollow core of a hedge or cleverly camouflaged lean-to of tree trunks, sticks, and branches–someplace private and even defensible that blended into the natural world. As an adult, I don’t want to hide my shed: I want to be seen in it and to stand back and admire it. The shed is a symbol of my success, house of creativity, and a statement of privacy–there works a private person surely creating or puttering up something grand!
What’s keeping me from building a shed? Cost of materials. My brother’s a fine carpenter who would be more than willing to help, but we have too many things to fix or replace first around our late-70’s home; features or structures that–in traditional suburban development style–were never meant to last quite as long as they have.
However, I have hope. In a previous post, I mentioned that my wife Deborah (there was a typo where I wrote “my life” that I should have left in), plans like the ancient Mandarins. She’ll be sympathetic to my shed–it’ll give her more free space in the house–and will help me put a long term financial plan in place to gain it.