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AU Shrinking backyards and expanding houses swallow up the old garden shed

Property Here - Sunday, June 30, 2013

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Blake Samuels built his home two years ago but wasn't able to install a garden shed because the block is too small. He is pictured with his wife, Leanne and kids Cooper, 3, and Elyse, 15 months. Photo: Simon Bullard Source: News Limited

GARDEN sheds are fast becoming a thing of the past as backyards shrink, houses expand and apartments dominate the skyline.

Once the humble home of the lawnmower, the wrench and the worn-out bloke seeking refuge from the wife and kids, a man's tools now live alongside the fabric softener and dirty undies, or worse, aren't even there at all.

In 1992 apartments and townhouses made up one in four of all new home approvals.

Now, almost half (40 per cent) of all new homes are multi-unit dwellings, Housing Industry Association figures show.

Meanwhile the size of houses has increased nine per cent since 2000, swallowing up the backyard and the garden shed with it.

Domenic Vitalone is the managing director of Wisdom Homes, which builds more than 400 homes every year.

He said as land becomes more expensive families are increasingly looking to downsize to homes that are more manageable and affordable.

"Garden sheds are a thing of the past," he said.

"People are starting to make their garages 1m wider to accommodate or simply having a low maintenance garden.


Aussies axe the old garden shed

Aussies axe the old garden shed Source: News Limited

"In the new estates the smallest lots are the first ones to sell."

Between 2000 and today the size of new detached houses has risen from around 230sq m to just over 250sq m, HIA figures show.

Between 2002 and 2012 the average block size in Australian capital cities shrunk by around 127sq m (or 20 per cent) to 491sq m.

Bunnings national hand tools buyer Paul Bailey said there has been an increasing trend toward storage products to save on space.

"There is a growing demand for not only tool storage products, but storage products in general," he said.

"Some of the reasons behind this are people wanting to better utilise their space and people are becoming more time-poor and organising everything makes it easier to find what you are looking for."


Blake Samuels with his toolbox/tools in his backyard. Photo: Simon Bullard

Blake Samuels with his toolbox/tools in his backyard. Photo: Simon Bullard Source: News Limited

If any man was going to have a garden shed in his backyard, surely a horticulturalist would be first in line.

But like so many of his 21st century Australian brothers, Spring Farm resident Blake Samuels has buried the idea of the garden or `man' shed in favour of a supersized garage, larger house and small backyard.

Together with his wife Leanne and kids Cooper and Elyce, the 29-year-old bought a 410sq m block and built their dream home.

"I keep all the tools in the garage. Garden sheds take up a lot of space,'' he said.

"We've also got a water tank out the back and that takes up a lot of space as it is.

"I would rather keep everything in the garage and keep the yard clean and tidy.

"Garden sheds are also an eyesore to be honest.''


 Blake Samuels with his toolbox/tools in his backyard. Photo: Simon Bullard

Blake Samuels with his toolbox/tools in his backyard. Photo: Simon Bullard Source: News Limited

His wife has just started a home-based family day care business and so their place needs to always look spick and span.

She said with their small backyard they simply don't have the room.

"I wanted a garden shed but because we have the business at home now we would have to get approval from the council to have it there,'' Mrs Samuels said.

"We do not have the space.''


Source: Housing Industry Association


2002 592sq m

2012 505sq m



2002 606sq m

2012 439sq m



2002 675sq m

2012 519sq m



2002 534sq m

2012 365sq m



2002 600sq m

2012 452sq m


Greater Hobart

2002 699sq m

2012 669sq m


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