Shed sales boom as homeowners can't afford to move

Fall leaves surround the summerhouse at the bottom of the garden

Sales of posh sheds have rocketed, as homeowners try to avoid moving house because of record property prices and crippling stamp duty.

According to online shed and garden storage website, Brits bought more than twice as many sheds, cabins and outbuildings costing £2,000 or more in the last year than they did the year before.

Indeed, demand for one of the company's most high-end cabins - the 26-by-16-foot Palmako Penelope - is up by over a third, despite the £13,000 price tag.

Tracey Hartwell, sales manager of Shedstore, believes the reason is a set of financial pressures that makes upsizing an impossible dream for many.

"With stamp duty, house prices and the cost of living so high, more and more people are turning to high-end sheds, cabins and outbuildings as a more affordable way to create extra space in their homes," she says.

"A shed can be so much more than simply a place to store garden tools. The more luxury products on the market can easily be turned into an office, workshop or occasional room for guests kitted out with electricity, heating and even water."

Such buildings have the advantage that they can generally be put up without planning permission - and, usually, without disrupting life in the house too much.

However, there are other ways to make more room at home without breaking the bank: here are four more.

See also: Families living in squalid garden sheds for £80 a week

See also: Eight houses with fabulous sheds

Build a conservatory
A conservatory has a lot of the same benefits as a garden studio - but still gives access from the house. It's easier to install utilities too. They come in a wide range of styles and prices, from elegant orangeries down to off-the-shelf PVC models.

Convert your loft
A full loft conversion with a bathroom can cost around £50,000. However, you can get away at a fraction of the price if, for example, you do away with the bathroom and have Velux windows instead of dormers. Even just boarding the loft and adding a sturdy drop-down ladder can give lots of useful storage - although you won't be able to use a loft conversion as a bedroom unless you satisfy fire regulations.

Rent a self-storage unit
This won't actually make your house bigger - but it'll probably feel that way. The costs of self-storage vary around the country, but can be as little as a couple of pounds a week. And moving out all your little-used stuff may allow you to get rid of a cupboard or two.

Convert your garage
Few people keep a car in their garage these days, and it often ends up being a repository for junk. Converting one into a living space can be much cheaper than building from scratch, and generally comes in at under £10,000.

Hotels with glorious gardens
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Hotels with glorious gardens

Hotel Endsleigh can be found on the banks of the River Tamar in Devon and has a fantastic 108-acre estate featuring woodlands, streams, waterfalls, grottos and trees from around the world. Designed over 200 years ago, the gardens are open to the public for a £5 entry fee as well as for free to hotel guests.

Tylney Hall Hotel is home to 66 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens, lakes and woodland. From the Italian and Dutch Gardens to the tranquil Water Gardens, there are plenty of picturesque spots to enjoy. The hotel produces handy maps with walking routes to follow and its team of gardeners and estate managers are often on hand for a chat. On Sunday 7 May, Tylney Hall is opening its doors to non-guests for its Garden Appreciation Day.

Located in the Ashdown Forest, aka the 100 Acre Wood from Winnie The Pooh, Ashdown Park Hotel has beautiful gardens, a landscaped golf course, lakes, forest and woodland trails to explore, with plenty of local wildlife to keep an eye out for. The hotel is dog friendly so you can enjoy long walks around the estate with them too!

One of Berkshire’s sparkling gems, Cliveden House is nestled in 376 acres of National Trust parkland which guests can enjoy as part of their stay. There’s a tranquil water garden, magnificent formal gardens, a fitness trail, woodland walks, riverside rambles and a children’s play area. The gardens are also home to the impressive Cliveden Maze, which is a re-creation of a maze originally designed and built in 1894 for Lord Astor, the former owner of Cliveden. 

Congham Hall Hotel in Norfolk is famous for its herb garden, where almost 400 varieties are grown. The collection includes rare medicinal herbs and many that are used in cooking which can be enjoyed in the hotel’s restaurant. The hotel also offers a garden-inspired spa treatment using herbs from the gardens, a special two-night stay gardens package with tickets to the nearby Pensthorpe Natural Park and is part of the Magnificent Seven Trail of gardens in Norfolk.

Bodysgallen Hall is surrounded by 200 acres of parkland and gardens, both manicured and wild. There are many gems at Bodysgallen including a rare 17th century parterre of box hedges, a walled garden, lily pad ponds, a rockery and limestone outcrops. The head gardener and his team offer guided tours throughout the year. There is one tour a month in April, May and June, costing £34.50 per person including a two-course lunch.

In its 55 acres of parkland, woodland and meadows sits Cowley Manor’s beautiful Grade II listed garden. The gardens have several natural springs, which have been used to create water features including a chain of lakes which are home to swans, ducks, brown trout and crayfish, which feature on the hotel’s menus. Visit in the summer months and you can make the most of the gardens with a hamper of food, comfy beanbags and blankets supplied by the hotel.

Gidleigh Park’combines traditional English gardens full of flowers and herbs with wildflower meadows, ancient woodland and water gardens. Visit early in May and you’ll experience the seven-acre bluebell woodland. The hotel’s estate manager can take you on a guided tour of the gardens with the monthly Gardens Tour and Lunch running in April, June and July for £77.50 per person and on 16th May the tour will be a bluebell woodland special.

Luton Hoo Hotel boasts a 1,000-acre estate including parks, woodland, lakes, nature trails, landscaped gardens and an 18-hole golf course. Its gardens were landscaped by famous architect Capability Brown. The hotel makes the most of its outdoor areas with a weekly courtyard BBQ in the summer and an open air cinema in August, as well as a National Garden Scheme open day for visitors to go and take a look around.

Found in the Highlands of Scotland, The Boath House in Nairn is known for its gardens and the local wildlife found there. The hotel’s 22 acres of lawns, wildflower meadows and streams are home to swans, wild geese and ducks. The hotel encourages wildlife and they also have an orchard, vegetable pottage, herb parterres, greenhousing and herbaceous borders.


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