Is the humble garden shed dead?



Glen King discovers how the simple garden shed has blossomed into an integral part of the modern day lifestyle and why we should make more of our outdoor space…

What’s at the bottom of your garden?  − a tired and derelict building gathering cobwebs; or an unloved area for storing your tools, rusty bikes and deck chairs that only venture outdoors on those rare sunny days. Unlock your plot’s potential and shift focus to the garden by creating your new inside, outside! Whether you’re in need of an office, garden room, a designated place for arts, crafts and hobbies; playroom, leisure space or storage solution, the options are endless and can develop with your family’s growing needs.

With busy lives, working from home is becoming more and more popular.  Expand your living space with a tailor-designed office which is fully insulated and double glazed, to give you complete peace of mind all year-round. Garden offices are tranquil and private; essential for someone looking to avoid the daily distractions of family life.  It is crucial to maintain a lifestyle balance by setting clear boundaries between where you work and where you live; particularly when you have clients visiting your premises. At the end of a working day you can close the door behind you before making the short commute to your house −working from home, not at home.

In the current economic climate, why not consider the ‘don’t move – improve’ philosophy by looking to your outdoor area for the perfect solution. Whether you want to add value to your property, or that longed-for desirable extra room, an outside studio is an attractive alternative to the traditional extension which can be both costly and time consuming.

Enhance your property with a designated garage – it not only adds value but is a key selling point, often at the top of the list of ‘must-haves’ for prospective buyers. Timber is the most traditional material used, creating a warm, dry and safe environment in which to store your vehicles.  It proves particularly popular with classic car and motorbike enthusiasts as it showcases and keeps their ‘pride and joy’ in pristine condition.

Visit one of the top suppliers of bespoke domestic and commercial timber buildings in the South West.  Devon based specialists Shields Buildings specialise in turnkey projects.  A local independent company with over 20 years experience, they boast one of the most comprehensive ranges of bespoke sectional buildings throughout the region with contemporary and classic designs available.  Planning applications and base works included if required and all installed in just a few days with minimal disruption.

So what does you’re outside space say about you?  Find the answer at the bottom of your garden!  Whether its work, rest or play, why not live the dream by creating your own personal space.

7m x 3m Dartmoor studio with veranda and Velux roof lights

7m x 3m Dartmoor studio with veranda and Velux roof lights


Keep fit at home? Perfect!

We all plan to keep fit, don’t we? But going to the gym can just be too much hassle and take too much time, especially if you live miles from a gym. That is why, here at Shields Buildings,we are seeing a rise in the number of enquiries we receive for insulated timber buildings to be used as gyms. Our garden studios make ideal gyms to go in your garden. Spacious and easy to heat, they offer a cost effective solution to the eternal problem of keeping fit all year round.

We recently supplied a gym to a customer in Cornwall. Measuring 4m x 3m, it provided enough space for several pieces of equipment, as may be seen in the photograph, below. Our customer was delighted with the end result, commenting – ” Having a gym at the bottom of my garden is a great motivator. It is much more convenient than using a membership gym.”

Have a look at the offices and studios on our website. With strong plywood floors and ceiling height to suit you, they can all be used as a gym.

Keep fit at home in your own gym.

Keep fit at home in your own gym.

Why use Pressure Treated timber

There are many products on the market for treating timber. The claims made by the manufacturers sound very impressive. However, any product which is sprayed or brushed onto the surface of the timber can only ever be skin deep. These products will need to be constantly reapplied at regular intervals.

To protect timber thoroughly, for a long life, the best option is pressure treatment. This process, often called tanalising, involves placing the timber in a vacuum tank. Here, the moisture is extracted from the timber and the chemicals are injected into it under extreme pressure. In this way the chemicals are absorbed deep into the wood. The softer parts of the timber will absorb the most chemicals. Manufacturers of this process give a 15 year guarantee on such timber. All Shields Buildings are made from pressure treated timber. We believe in providing the best possible protection for our products.

People often ask if they need to treat pressure treated timber. Our advice is to treat the timber with a good quality oil based preservative, such as Cuprinol Garden Wood Preserver, after five years and then at five yearly intervals. An oil based preservative will shed rain droplets and help to keep the timber dry.

Pressure treated timber

Use Pressure treated ‘tanalised’ timber for a long life


Getting planning permission for timber buildings

Many of our customers think that timber buildings do not need planning permission. This is often not the case, unfortunately.A timber structure is not a temporary building and may need planning permission. A lot will depend on the location and the planning rules that apply to that location.You can get a good idea by looking at the planning website www.planning portal / outbuildings

We provide the basic details for planning permission for domestic properties on our website   In my last post I said that getting planning permission could be a lengthy process. Councils have an obligation to give you a response within 8 weeks of your application being validated. Sometimes you will hear within 6 weeks, but it pays to be prepared before you apply to avoid delays. Validation can take quite a time if your application does not meet the required standard.

It makes no difference whether you are putting up a wooden garage or  a  garden shed as to whether or not you need planning permission or not. Ask us for help. We regularly make planning applications on behalf of our customers. This may be for anything from a home office to commercial buildings. So whatever building you are thinking about call us now to discuss the planning permission implications.

Spring is coming….

Spooner 1

Start the ball rolling now for a lovely new building this spring.

Get in touch now to have your new timber building this year. From the first seeds of an idea to final installation may take some time, especially when planning permission is concerned.We can help with planning permission applications and base work. Ask for a site visit to put your ideas in motion.

Call 01837 82442 now for more information. Ask for a brochure.

Don’t forget we can help with –

Building design, planning applications, site work for your garage, workshop,Garden room, office, shed or stable.

Prefer a contemporary look?  Visit  to see our range of contemporary designs. These buildings are architect designed with household levels of insulation.

Lawn View Studio

Lawn View Studio

Here is what some of our customers have said in 2012 –

“The service is second to none − a very reliable and fantastic product.  We are thrilled to bits with it.  It has added another room to the house by expanding into the garden.  Absolutely brilliant!”

Max Turner and Cherry Mawle ‘Country-Sew’

(Utility room)

“The best organised company we have ever employed.  John Shields is so reliable and everything happened on time.  If there was anything different to the schedule he would let us know and any modifications were put in writing – he’s excellent.”

Brian and Heather Aldridge

(Combined workshop and garden implement store )

My studio is a wonderful space. 4 years old and not a sign of damp. All perfect and warm. In cold and windy weather, I know it will be more comfortable than my house. I am delighted with the Shields team, their efficiency and friendliness. Very,very pleased.

Chris Ellis, Topsham   ref 2008 garden studio building

The “Team” was fantastic. It’s more than a shed, it’s a mini home.

G. Friend

21st anniversary

Celebrating 21 years 

1991 - 2012

1991 – 2012


Established in 1991 and boasting one of the most comprehensive ranges of bespoke sectional buildings in the South West, independent Devon company John Shields Woodwork based near Okehampton, celebrates its 21st anniversary with a new corporate brand.  Working for the community, domestic and commercial markets, blue-chip clients include The National Trust.  And the new company brand was created to reflect the three main areas of the business; ‘Shields Buildings’, ‘Shields Studios’ and ‘Shields Commercial’.

John Shields, Shields Building says: “We have developed a loyal following over the last couple of decades with a proven track record for manufacturing high-quality bespoke buildings in both contemporary and traditional styles. Whether you enjoy arts and crafts, hobbies; work from home or just need extra storage space, then a bespoke garden studio/office is just the ticket to turn a house into your perfect home.  This is a very exciting time for the business and celebrating this special anniversary seemed the right time to create a new company name and brand to more accurately reflect the services we offer to very different clients.”


There are further milestone celebrations as the innovative and expanding company responds to customer demand by launching its first architecturally-designed garden office studio.  The stylish new contemporary studio incorporates highly efficient year-round insulation and the latest advances in building technology with extensive glazing and energy saving materials.


John Shields comments: We are moving into a new era and the market is constantly changing with more and more business owners and professionals choosing to work from home rather than face the daily commute.  Using the garden is a great way to expand your living space − I am very excited about our newly developed range of contemporary studios designed by architects, incorporating eco-friendly green products which not only look stunning but are fully-functional all year-round.”

Additional storage space on side of garage

When Mr P. asked us to build a storage shed for garden equipment, we were pleased to help.  John Shields did a site visit to discuss building this bespoke lean-to shed . After discussing the options with the customer, it was decided on a suspended floor, using douglas fir posts concreted into the ground. Floor joists were installed, with 150×32 floor boards on top, making it a strong construction and having minimal timber in contact with the ground.

Plastisol box profile roof sheets were used for the roof, on top of 11mm board and membrane.  The building has no gutters on it, with the roof sheets overhanging the building approx 200mm.  We decided that leaves would block the gutters, (see Autumn & winter timber building maintenance).