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Saving the Bees Wins British Firefighter Shed of the Year

With nearly 3,000 entries and 16,000 public votes, an eco-friendly bee haven has been crowned “Shed of the Year.”

Handmade by British firefighter George Smallwood, this Sheffield, England, shed pipes a converted black cab and an Irish pub to an esteemed position. Plus, it’s a gardener’s dream–self-watering, self-sufficient home for vegetables, herbs, and insects.

Bee Shed
(The Bee Eco Shed, the 2018 Shed of the Year)

The shed features two beehives, a vegetable patch, a “bug house”, and on the roof is a wildflower garden. It took Smallwood and a friend two months of building, and the prize of £1,000 cash ($1,299.70 USD) and the 2018 title was a welcome surprise. “We hope our shed will inspire others around the UK to create spaces for wildlife in their gardens,” says the firefighter. “We’re so proud that our shed has become a habitat for nature in a small urban garden, showing you can always do your bit for making a home for nature.”

The annual competition features eight categories. These include eco-friendly creations, budget outbuildings, and historic style structures. Although the Bee Eco Shed took the top spot, competition was fierce. This included a Legoland inspired haven, an outdoor bedroom made from a black cab, and a literal glass house (made out of glass bottles.)

“The competition was extremely tough this year, from a musical shed on the water, to a taxi, to an authentic Irish pub. George’s shed stood out due to it’s impressive, handmade structure but also because of its unique story and special purpose,” says competition founder Andrew Wilcox. This Cuprinol-sponsored contest is now in its eleventh year. Cuprinol is a British brand of paint made specifically for outdoor structures such as fences and sheds.

Some of this year’s competition included:

bee eco shed competition
The Boat Pod, shortlisted in the unique category
bee eco shed competition
The Shed and Breakfast, shortlisted in the Eco category
bee eco shed competition
The Big Top Den, shortlisted in the Cabin and Summerhouses category
bee eco shed competition
The Tudor Playhouse, shortlisted in the Budget category
bee eco shed competition
The Rainbow Dream, shortlisted in the Workshop and Studio category
bee eco shed competition
The Temple, shortlisted in the Historic category
bee eco shed competition
The Taxi, shortlisted in the unexpected category
bee eco shed competition
and O’Smithers, shortlisted in the Pub and Entertainment category

Last year’s winner was The Mushroom Shed. This quirky hangout, hand-built by Ben Swanborough and his 12-year-old daughter features a trap door, hidden treat shelf, and glass floor that overlooks a stream at the bottom of the garden.

bee eco shed
(The Mushroom Shed, the 2017 Shed of the Year)

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