This gardener found a lavender blue that he loved and then used it extensively throughout the garden, painting doors, fences, pots, garden furniture, and even a small dead tree in the rich color.
Especially in a small garden, painting several items the same intense color creates continuity and punch. Even in deepest winter, the garden will be colorful and interesting.
Other colors that do well in gardens include magenta, teal, deep purple, spring or lime greens, deep sunny yellow, and brick reds.
Nearly any quality oil-based or latex-based paint will do, whether it's in a bucket or a spray can. Just be sure to choose an exterior-grade paint. And if you're painting metal, choose one that's rust-resistant.
A little fabric can work miracles. A piece of it stitched into a tablecloth can turn a decrepit picnic table or even an aged card table into an inviting dining spot. A few pillows can turn an old bench into a garden retreat. And a slipcover or two can revitalize world-weary garden furniture.
Too many people think it's a no-no to use fabrics outdoors, but that's not the case. Seek out inexpensive fabrics on clearance, remnants, or recycle sheets and consider the fabrics semi-disposable. Leave 'em out in the rain and then let the sun dry them again. They'll last just a year or two, but then you'll be free to start with a fresh look all over again.
The other alternative is to invest in good, rugged, exterior-quality fabrics, found at most fabric shops. They resists fading and mildew, and will be around for years.
A relatively new product, concrete paint has been the savior of many a boring concrete slab patio or ho-hum front walk.
It comes in a wide range of colors and adds interest and warmth to even old, cracked concrete. Paint, for example, a concrete-slab patio in a gray and green checkerboard pattern. Run a rich blue strip up your front steps, bordered in two deep red stripes. Or give your driveway a warm glow by painting it a deep umber.
Come up with any pattern you desire. You can patch cracks and chips if you want, but some of the most interesting projects incorporate those flaws into the design.
Painting concrete is just about as easy as painting a wall. First wash down the surface with diluted muratic acid, and use a stiff brush to remove all traces of dirt and grime.
Once the concrete is dry, mark out your pattern with masking paint and pencil marks. Paint with regular brushes, using small brushes for more detailed patterns. Allow to dry thoroughly for a day or two, then seal with an oil-based sealer. You can even tint the sealer, if desired, to add more richness to the color.
Continued on page 2: Group It Together