April 6th, 2023 by
As we embark on the spring season and months stretch ahead of us of longer days and (hopefully) warmer weather, our thoughts will undoubtedly be turning to our gardens and how we can make the most of them. Spending time outdoors is good for the soul and there are physical benefits too, such as soaking up some vitamin D and taking advantage of the fresh air.
While we can fill our gardens with shop-bought items, nothing really makes them your own like some homemade embellishments and creative endeavours. Here are a few garden DIY projects you can have a go at that can really make your outdoor space unique.
Transform hard surfaces
If you love a Mediterranean terrazzo or a Frida Kahlo-style Mexican courtyard full of colour but baulk at the price of buying and installing patterned garden tiles, how about transforming your existing patio and paths with a bit of paint and a stencil? This is actually much easier than you might imagine and doesn’t even require you to have much artistic skill.
There are hundreds of stencils available in a wide range of patterns that just require a little bit of patience and care to apply and if you end up with a slightly blurry line or a blob of paint where it shouldn’t be, that’s all part of the rustic charm (plus, you can usually clean up the edges afterwards).
You can do this on a range of hard surfaces, including paving slabs, concrete, and stone. Start by cleaning them up first with a patio cleaner. If you have dark spots that look a little like ink spatters, you will need to use a product that gets rid of black lichen (all are easy to apply). When your surfaces are free of dirt, lichen, mould, and algae you can start applying your paint. Use an outdoor paint that is suitable for stone and always start in an inconspicuous area (if you have a spare slab, that’s perfect for practising your technique). Plan your design in advance; you may wish to cover the whole area or just apply patterns to select sections. You may even want to paint the whole area a background colour first and then adds a pattern on top.
Use the stencil, stipple or roller paint on and start from one end and work your way over so you don’t risk smudging areas you have already done. Obviously, this only applies when the surface is dry and when no rain is forecast. Once the paint is dry you can then add a seal to protect it from the elements. The results can look really impressive and much cheaper than their tile equivalents.
When your garden furniture starts to look a bit tatty, faded and perhaps a bit wobbly, you may think its useful lifespan is drawing to an end. However, this may not be the case. With a little TLC and some creativity, it could provide useful service for many more summers.
Start by dealing with any minor repairs, such as tightening screws, replacing any odd areas of broken or rotten wood and giving it a good clean and sand. Then, it’s the fun part; painting it up! You could, of course, go with a simple stain or throw caution to the wind and apply vibrant colour. Knowing that this furniture was probably destined for the tip gives you a certain amount of freedom to try something different.
A paint sprayer is a really useful tool here, as it allows you to apply an even coat and will do the job really quickly. Complete the look with some outdoor cushions and it could be unrecognisable by the time you are finished.
Make some feature planting
Most gardens include some kind of planting and it’s what gives your space lots of colour, texture, and fragrance – as well as doing its bit for biodiversity. While borders and planting containers can be lovely, you have an opportunity to create a real feature in the garden by thinking outside the box a little.
How about repurposing all kinds of objects as planters? Old prams, tin baths, wheelbarrows, bicycles with baskets, barrels etc can all be reimagined as planting containers. Vertical planting can also look really good and is brilliant for small gardens as you plant upwards rather than outwards. Create a frame and add pots to a wall or fence or how about cutting some holes into some drainpipes? Simply fill with soil and insert plants into the holes.
Playing with height can be really interesting. Stack up rocks and stones or create a terraced effect by building up layers of planting. Adding a water feature brings another level of aesthetic appeal as well as a calming and tranquil sound effect.
Give the shed a glow up
If you have a shed or summer house that looks a little boring, why not give it a glow-up? Painting it a fresh colour, adding curtains to the windows or applying decorative privacy film to the glass can make it look completely different and create a real focal point for the garden. You can even add some solar lights or garden wall décor to finish the look.
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