Well, we may not be in for a summer filled with the kind of temperatures we all enjoyed last year, but since when has that been a factor for the UK's die-hard garden lovers and BBQ enthusiasts?
The weather is improving though (albeit slowly) and as we begin to spend more time enjoying our outside spaces, one thing that can often be overlooked is the shed.
Whether it's a simple lean-to used for storing tools and your bike or a full on 'Man Cave' complete with bar, widescreen TV and games consoles, a well-maintained garden shed is a thing of beauty and needs the attention it deserves.
Experts from outdoor building specialist Tiger Sheds share their top tips on how to look after your shed and get the best out of it all year round.
1. Treat your building
You treat yourself occasionally, why not your shed? When you buy a new shed, it is vital to apply a treatment as soon as possible to help protect it from the elements. To keep in tip-top condition, remember to regularly treat the wood. You can also buy these treatments from most good DIY stores.
Check the weather forecast and apply it when no rain is forecast for a few days, so it has time to soak into the wood properly. Try to apply a fresh coat each year.
If you like the colour of the wood, use a clear treatment, or you can use different colours of treatments, as well as wood oils, or paint to protect your shed.
2. Seal your windows
It is important to make sure the windows are sealed inside and out. This should be done as soon as possible after installation, using silicon, timber beading or any other suitable ‘watertight’ solution.
Sealing the windows helps to avoid leaks that can shorten the life of your garden building. Be sure to keep an eye on the windows year-round, especially during the colder,damper months.
3. Ensure nothing is in contact with your building
As much as possible, try to ensure there is nothing heavy touching and putting any pressure on your outdoor building. Before construction, choose a location for the building that is not too close to tree branches or fences/trellises that aren’t permanently secured.
Once the shed is up, be sure to keep on top of trimming any nearby branches, and keep an eye out for anything that may come in contact with the building and could damage it.
4. Paint your shed
Painting your shed can be a really easy way to bring a new look to your garden and give it some originality. Of course, the choice of colour and design is completely up to you, so enjoy getting creative with your roller, brush or sprayer. Aside from looking lovely and showing off your personality, paint also gives protection to the wood, lengthening the life of your shed.
5. Give your shed a purpose
To make the most of your garden building, think about what you actually use it for, and how you can get the best use of it. Is it for storage? If so, add in some shelves to help keep it organised. Is it a workshop? If so, maybe you could install some wall-holders for your tools. Is it for relaxing? If so, would it benefit from some comfortable seats with nice blankets and soft furnishings.
To make it as easy as possible to keep your shed at its best, here is a maintenance checklist to work through over the course of a year:
Yearly Maintenance Checklist:
1: Reapply treatment once a year
2: Periodically check shed for damages, and make sure the felt is still fully intact
3: Keep an eye on the hinges and lubricate with suitable oil as and when needed
4: Reapply and touch up paint when necessary
5: Periodically check and, if applicable, reseal windows
6: Ensure nothing has come in contact with your shed such as an overgrown tree
7: After extreme weather, such as heavy rainfall or strong winds, inspect for damages and repair where needed
8: Remove any leaves from the roof
9: Periodically check underneath the shed to ensure it still has ventilation