In a perfect world we’d all have money to build a picture-perfect outdoor living space. The reality is a down economy with many unemployed and everyone pinching pennies. Don’t let this discourage you from creating a beautiful space outdoors to spend the summer months. The key is paint — the ultimate cover-up and game changer for your backyard.
A gallon of outdoor paint costs about $25, which is a small price to pay for sudden transformation of your tired backyard patio. When you let your creativity soar, the results can be far greater than any other improvement you make. The beauty of paint is it’s cheap and easy to change, so if you didn’t get the color right the first time, just paint over with another.
Paint a wall
Indoors, painting one wall of a room with a special color can change the whole dynamic of the space. It proves you don’t have to paint the whole room to create drama and contrast. Plus, the paint color doesn’t have to be dramatically different, just different enough to change the spatial dynamic.
Painting a rear wall of the house or a masonry wall with a well-chosen accent color can really make a difference. It makes a stunning background to highlight special plants or art.
Background sets the tone of foreground planting, making it stand in dramatic high contrast. Lighting can extend this new perspective with spots and shadow after dark. Whether the contrast is the shape of the plant or its color, the results are instant and rewarding.
Stain the fence
Somebody decided long ago that spraying a wood fence with red stain makes it look like redwood. This is not an upgrade because everybody knows redwood fences weather to a lovely silvery patina.
Beware of using this red stain on anything in your yard because it’s so unnatural and not visually pleasing. It just makes the yard look like everybody else’s uninspired choice of phony redwood stain.
Older repaired or water-stained fences need unification for a more visually subtle boundary of the backyard. If wood stain is colored to coordinate with the color of your house paint or trim, it unifies the building and landscape.
Wood stains come in solid or semitransparent color in a huge range of hues. Semitransparent stain reveals wood stain while adding just enough color for vintage or country garden appeal. Where a more solid look is preferred, use an opaque stain to create even color throughout without peeling problems of paint.
Upgrade old concrete
Older homes have patios that are often badly stained concrete slabs. They can present a more fractured appearance due to cracking or where various slabs meet up. Explore stains that actually penetrate the concrete rather than sitting on top.
Professionals use a pump sprayer to apply the stains in an irregular way that lends a beautiful marbleized old world look. For more immediate changes or for tidy appeal, explore the outdoor concrete paints, which can unify the space by playing down the visible joints. Choosing just the right color will provide the foundation of a fresh new living space.
Using paints and stains can revamp your yard, deck or patio for under $50 over a single weekend. Try a muted gray for a simple contemporary look or a vivid hot color for really festive appeal. If you get it done before summer heat sets in, you can turn your attention to accessories and plantings that complete the picture.
When the budget is tight, create a whole new look and feel on your tired old patio with paint or stain. It’s the renter’s secret weapon to creating a personal look and feel outside. Because paint and stain are so forgiving, you can have fun with these projects. Take chances. Be bold and creative. The results will surprise you.