Painting projects: how to revamp outside space over a weekend — from prepping surfaces to choosing colours

Painting outdoors has never been easier thanks to colorful, water-based surfaces that are effortless to apply. Lockdown taught us to value our outside space, no matter how small it is.

From balconies and courtyards to patios and gardens, every inch is important. Front yards have become a venue for families and for conversations with neighbors at a safe social distance.

B & Q, Homebase and Leyland SDM DIY stores with 61 London branches are back in operation to enable immediate deliveries.

Designer brands deliver on your doorstep (,;

Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director at Little Greene, says, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create an outer harbor.”

Before you start: a few basic rules

You’ll need to match your color to what you’re painting and see if you need a primer to start with. Some colors sit happily on multiple surfaces, others are more picky and specialized.

Second, you need to do your preparation.

“Make sure older surfaces are dry, clean, and in good condition,” says Craig Collins, B&Q paint manager. “Get rid of mold, algae, or moss. Remove rust and sand smoothly. “

The B&Q website has an excellent guide to exterior painting, while Leyland SDM has all of the clever cleaners and primers a perfectionist could possibly need.

Also take the weather into account. Aim for a nice two day window so the surfaces can dry out and then dry off. If possible, avoid working in full sun.

Cuprinols Sweet sundae on the table, £ 20 for 2.5L, fence in Ducksback, £ 11 for 5L (

Choose your quick drying color

Cuprinol is quick drying, water-based and now available in super-seductive colors.

You have two fresh palettes: the neutral colors of nature – think of landscape, water and minerals – and the lights of nature in flowery tones.

Try using neutral colors as base colors and then adding lighter “pops,” says Marianne Shillingford, creative director.

Visit for ideas. It is priced at £ 25 for 2.5 liters at B&Q.

For small jobs, Ronseal Garden Paint is available in 24 good colors for wood, brick, metal and terracotta, £ 4 for 250 ml, also from B&Q.

Small projects

“Style is what our customers want,” says Stephen Pitcher, Home Garden Manager at Homebase.

Easy-to-grow plants are key in boxes or tubs that you can spice up with color. Then add nice furniture – great fake rattan, shiny metal, classic wood, or your old, repainted items.

Finally, you renew surfaces, from patios and fences to walls and sheds.

Outdoor decor combinations can be subtle monochrome for a sophisticated, natural, relaxed effect, or Miami-meets-the-med zingy.


Color tricks

Use a single shade to unite a hotchpotch of surfaces by tying together brick, concrete, and fences, for example.

On the Homebase website you will find useful painting tips and simple DIY ideas for paintable “pallet” furniture.

“Make your garden an extension of your home,” says landscape architect Tom Howard, an expert on small London spaces. “Painted fences and plaster can bind together inside and outside.”

Like many pros, he loves Farrow & Ball by using eggshells for smooth wood and metal in colors like Mole’s Breath, Worsted, and Mouse’s Back.

“But don’t use expensive paint on rough wood that it just absorbs.”

Paint a shed the same color as a fence to insert. Add chic blocks of paint with masonry paint on rendered raised beds that can easily be made from blocks of concrete.

Black is surprisingly useful, adds Howard. “It makes borders disappear, with the illusion of a larger space. And a dark background makes the plants burst. “

Reliable and inexpensive, Cuprinol’s matte black ducksback, £ 11 at B&Q for five liters, is enough to cover about 10 fence panels.

Or use light shades as focus

Use color for focal points, says Joa Studholme, Farrow & Ball color curator.

“First, have the lights ready for moving pots, watering cans, or a single chair. Then you can experiment. “

You could even use tester pots. To reflect the color of your planting, Studholme recommends Brassica and Cinder Rose with soft green tones like Vert De Terre on garden chairs.

OutsidePaints-10.jpgScree and yellow-pink walls, £ 71.50 for 2.5L eggshell outside at

Get creative with the screening

London-based Katharine Pooley, recently named Interior Designer of the Decade, dresses up “empty, unloved walls” with painted trellises, which also work well for screens if you’re overlooked.

She again suggests Farrow & Ball’s low-key Pavilion Gray or Cornforth White: “Classic neutrals are good in an urban setting.”

Then wait for your climbers like wisteria, jasmine or roses to grow.

Special colors

However, designer paint is expensive. Farrow & Ball costs £ 29 for 0.75 liters.

There are special colors for certain projects. Fortress satins and gloss finishes can rust outright, £ 19 for 0.75 liters, as can Hammerite for £ 19. both at B&Q.

Rust-Oleum Garden Furniture Paint from Homebase with a chalky finish in six low-key neutrals could upgrade cheap plastic chairs. Or try chalky French colors.

Zinsser primers block stubborn stains like smoke damage and prepare virtually any surface for painting, says Nick King, color expert at Leyland SDM.

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