Sheds and Summerhouses for the Allotment

Having a shed on your allotment plot is an essential, and one of the most useful additions to your plot. Before considering size, style, and costings you must check your tenancy agreement first or ask a representative from your Allotment Site's Society or Organisation. The last thing any grower wants is to erect a new shed and then be told they cannot have it for whatever reason! 

Many acquire their allotment shed from the previous tenants when they take on the plot. You could be looking for an upgrade or making repairs to an existing one but here is what you need to factor in for the ideal allotment shed: 

1.Security - Bolts, padlocks 
2.No leaky roof, holes. 
3.Sturdy, no rotting wood 
4.Big enough to house your essential tools 

If no shed has stood on your plot previously, you will need to ensure a flat surface to stand the shed on such as level paving slabs. 

Sheds are traditionally made of wood, and you can also buy metal sheds and plastic ones, which all come with their advantages and disadvantages. 
A wooden shed is cheaper but will require regular treatment. 

Metal sheds are low maintenance but do not always come with the flooring. 
Plastic sheds alike metal sheds are also low maintenance but sometimes do not include the flooring. 

Cost will obviously depend on your budget, and they can vary a lot with wooden sheds being generally cheapest. Shop around and compare what you are getting for your money in terms of size, materials, features and if delivery and assembling is included in the price. 

Many traditional shed designs have a window, which is good if you are growing anything inside, but it is worth adding a curtain or blind; real or make-shift for security and privacy. 

You might have room for a potting table although the smaller, more traditional allotment sheds will not have adequate space, but you can add shelves and hooks to maximise storage space. The size you buy will depend on your budget, the size permitted by your Allotment Site rules and how much storage space you need. 

If you can squeeze in a chair to shelter from a rain shower, then that is a bonus! 
It is a good idea and good practice to add guttering that runs to a water-butt for rain harvesting. You will be thankful of it when you are watering your plants during the hot summer evenings. 

We have looked at the basic shed requirements and now for the more luxurious sheds and summerhouses! Do not forget to check with your Allotment Society first. Larger sheds and summerhouses are inevitably more expensive and vary a lot in price. You can spend thousands on a deluxe model! 

Those who are all year-round growers and allotment holders who spend a lot of time at their plot find it worthwhile to invest in a summerhouse or a shed big enough to be both; for storage and leisure. You can buy combination sheds too.
To be able to enjoy a tea break in comfort with accessories to make it homely is bliss when its cooler as well as being able to throw open French doors during the summer or sit on a veranda/porch outside. Remember that it is against the rules to sleep overnight in an allotment shed, so do not get too comfortable! 

Its common practice for allotment holders to use camping stoves for boiling a kettle or even cooking up a bacon sandwich before the work begins! 

You might want to add a table and chairs as well as some cushions and soft furnishings and decor, and even a log burner. Just bear in mind that you cannot have electricity or running water in any sheds or summerhouses at the allotment. Camping equipment works well using gas cannisters. (Store responsibly). 

A light and airy summerhouse also provides an ideal space for growing too. 
If you can house all your tools with added comfort, you will be more inclined to tend to your allotment plot more often or for longer without the need to lug items back and forth to your plot and having somewhere to relax when the digging gets a bit much.  

It is wise to have your gardening wellies there to change in to as well as some spare clothing layers to change or put on to save bringing home the mud and dirt - with exception of harvested vegetables of course! Containers for taking home produce is also an essential. 

In Summary, you need to weigh up your allotment needs in terms of a shed/summerhouse and your budget. Maybe you can stretch to some added extras and a bit of luxury. Think about those tending your plot and their needs too. For example, a family plot might need more space to shelter or for small children to sit and eat or play.

Essentially you need to be able to lock away your essential tools and equipment safely, but you can also consider other practicalities like seating for a break, potting and growing indoors and what other priorities you may have. 

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