House Beautiful

Colour experts and garden designers on how painting a wall, fence or furniture can transform your outdoor space.

For best results tackle outdoor painting jobs when the weather is dry and fair. Never paint wood when it's damp as the paint will blister and flake off, and avoid painting in direct sunlight or when temperatures exceed 30°C. Exterior surfaces also need to be prepared before painting. Treat bare wood surfaces with a knot and resin blocking primer, then prime before painting with an exterior eggshell. Any surface that has previously been painted will need sanding first to remove loose and blistered paint.


Choosing paint for a shed, patio wall or window frames is just like choosing a colour for inside. Don't grab the first pot you see, look at the colour of the plants in your garden and work out what will tone or contrast with those. Also consider other external surfaces. If you have warm-coloured brick walls, then cooler grey-greens work well, but if it's all-white render, then stronger punchier hues can create a statement. Start with tester pots and look at the colours in different light.

'As a mother of two girls, I've been hormonally reprogrammed to love pink. My favourite shade is a deep, dusky rose stain, which is quintessentially English and green foliage stands out beautifully against it. I've used it to paint an arbour, providing coloured support to climbing roses in traditional white and cream. It also looks gorgeous painted on the girls' playhouse.' Caroline ​​Thornborough, Protek​ 


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