How to Use Paint For an Instant Autumn Refresh

Painted Garden Shed

As we head towards winter, a splash of paint will instantly add some colour and interest to your outdoor space. I’m not much of a fan of the fallow garden (who is?) and try to use my garden all year round. But even if we are in the grips of a winter storm, it’s nice to look out of the window and see some colour, with the promise of better days ahead.

Whilst we can select plants that will bloom well into autumn (and even winter), an injection of man-made colour will brighten up any outdoor space. And with autumn already upon us, the perfect time to make a start is now.

Paint and the Autumnal Garden

Painting walls, structures or objects is a cost effective technique to refresh and add some much needed colour. A lick of paint or wood stain applied at this time of year will also serve to protect against the harsh weather conditions over the coming months. Time to get those brushes out!

Painting Walls

Your garden’s walls always act as the backdrop to your space and are an integral part of your garden’s design. During the summer months, strong, bold colours often compliment the surrounding foliage. Darker shades such as plum, and even black, give an amazing contemporary feel. But during the autumn and winter months such colours can make your space feel a little harsh.

Personally, I would be a little less bold and opt for safer, lighter hues such as creams, off white, or perhaps a lighter shade of orange or yellow. You should also consider the levels of natural light in your garden, and the positioning of the sun during the winter months. Painted Garden WallA plain whitewash might sound unoriginal but is the best colour for reflecting light. If you are stuck for inspiration, there’s a never ending resource of ideas on the web, or try this excellent guide to basic colour theory. Remember, you can always revert to a darker colour in spring!

If your walls have architectural interest, I would steer away from painting them altogether. Rough, flint type walls don’t take too kindly to paint and the effects of painting are of course irreversible. I would prefer to light them up, and have produced this guide to outdoor lighting basics if you are interested in doing the same.

When it comes to choosing the actual paint type, the key consideration is the type of wall you are painting. Textured masonry paint will give a strong, robust finish to a smoothly rendered wall, whilst for rough surfaces smoother masonry paint will be much easier to apply.

Painting Structures and Objects

Painting structures such as fences or sheds, and objects such as benches and containers, are also a great way to instantly update and brighten the autumnal garden.

painted garden benchLet’s face it, garden fences tend to be boring and monotonous, which is why I’m such a big fan of using Corten Steel as an alternative. Similar to walls, fences for a backdrop to your garden and careful consideration should be given to how the colour of your fence interacts with the plants and shrubs closest to it. However, unlike walls, fences don’t take too kindly to strong colours so I would be tempted to keep any paints or stains close to the wood’s natural colour. Certainly avoid painting your fence white, as it is unlikely that the paint will take well without numerous coats, and will look dirty and ragged in no time.

Garden sheds, on the other hand, take kindly to the use of more daring colours. I think that a taupe or olive finish works very well for sheds, and is certainly on-trend at the moment. I’m not so keen on strong primary colours, which could leave your shed looking like a child’s playhouse.

When it comes to painting objects in your garden, you need to think carefully about how the object will be ‘framed’ by your plants. Again, strong colours can intensify the surrounding foliage, though darker colours may be a little overbearing during the winter months. Have fun and experiment – try spray painting some old containers!

Looking for further inspiration? Why not incorporate some garden ornaments or garden decor into your space?

  1. Mark Falconer said:

    I love how the door colour picks up the Acer’s tone…great synergy!

  2. Nick said:

    That’s right Mark, just shows what a well executed lick of paint can achieve:)

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