The garden shed, once an exclusively male domain, is being colonised by women.
Women move into the garden shed for use as a home office or just to "get away from it all"
The best thing about the garden shed for the majority of women is that it takes them out of the domestic orbit. In the house a women is at everyone's beck and call. In the shed, she can escape from all of that as her family will think twice before trundling down the garden to ask where their missing items of clothing, or the dog's lead might be.
A survey of 1000 adults has found that 40 per cent of women now regard the garden shed as a space where they can "do their own thing" compared with only 38 per cent of men.
The news may strike fear into those men brought up to believe in the shed as the male bolthole but, to many women, it will make perfect sense.
It they are living and working more like men, they might as well start pottering around in the garden shed just like men.
This move reflect the growing popularity of TV makeover programmes and DIY as a hobby for both sexes, encouraged by the trend for garden sheds to be elevated to become extra outdoor living areas in their own right.
"Shedites", as the new shed dwellers are often referred to, are using their garden sheds as a means to extend their property wothout the need for planning permission, creating an alternative living area and entertainment space housing home theatres, galleries, bars, home offices and more.
The role of the garden shed
As the role of the garden shed expands, it is only natural that its appeal should expand to include more women.
More than 1/2 million garden sheds were built in Britain last year and a well kept shed can add as much as 5 per cent to the value of a property, according to the British Institute of Surveys. The online insurance firm Esure has even gone so far as to say "The garden shed is the must-have accessory for the modern home".
The future of the garden shed
B & Q the home improvement retailer confirmed that sales of garden sheds are rising steadily with women often in the forefront in oruchasing garden buildings as they are the major decision makers behind many home improvements projects
The new generation of garden buildings, some of which even include saunas, provide a comfortable space for the family to enjoy and are a good way to expand a home as planning permission is seldom needed.
The garden shed - a creative use of space
- Philip Pulman wrote the bestselling "His Dark Materials" trilogy in his shed
- Daphne du Maurier wrote "My cousin Rachel" in a shed in Cornwall in the bitter winter of 1949
- Garden sheds range in price from £99 for a standard 6ft by 4ft timber box with a solid sheet floor and roof to £2,200 for a 12ft by 8ft summer house with glazed windows and double doors
- The web site www.readerssheds.co.uk features garden sheds from members of the public around the world