Wish your back garden had been?in better shape for our so-called'summer? Well, there's still time to give shabby sheds, exterior walls and garden furniture?a lick of paint for next year. Rain or shine, a splash of chic colour?can transform your outdoor space into your own getaway, so?top up those coats while it's still dry...
1 Learn from nature
?Really successful exterior colours always have a connection with their surroundings,? explains interior architect Suzie McAdam. ?Every area has its own vernacular palette. Start by looking at your local landscape for the basis of the tones you might use. ?The best inspiration is literally outside your door,? Suzie continues. ?Every street in Ireland hosts a microcosm of colour so instead of whizzing by, really have a look and take a quick picture of any colours that really appeal to you. Don't be afraid to ask in your local paint shop, as often they would recognise a particular colour from an image or be able to suggest similar.?
2 Play with dreamy darks
?I am currently loving the move away from white windows and doors to dark and moody shades,? says Suzie.? This works particularly well on period homes where strong contrasts can really make a dramatic pavement statement and create a totally refreshed look.? Be brave and go for the surrounds, windows and doors in the same shade to create a striking look. ?For those opting for something a little more delicate I am currently coveting a dusky pink front door in Farrow and Ball Calamine and it works surprisingly well with brick homes.?
3 Plan ahead
As painful as it is, don't forget to take the shift in seasons and our Irish climate into consideration. Neon yellow may look great on bright summer days, but, come November, a peeling fluorescent shed may not be so attractive. This can easily be prevented with a little forward thinking, and by opting to paint larger areas of wood and masonry in more neutral tones, complementing these with pops of colour, such as on window frames and gates. Some tones are also more suited to the Irish weather - think lavenders, cool greys and silvery metallics shimmering in summer, but also nicely muted for autumn and winter. Many paint companies now have colour visualisers on their websites, which are extremely useful: simply upload your image and test out some colours with no commitment.
4 Keep it simple
It's important to prepare the area to be painted, but don't get so hung up on this that it discourages you from ultimately doing it. We love Colortrend's simple and practical approach on this, with three 'musts?: the surface must be dry, the surface must be clean and the surface must be sound.
5 Little and often
If you're spying signs of wear and tear or peeling, now is the time to strike. ?A regular refresh will avoid a costly and bigger project,? advises Noel Browne of Crimson Painting, Decorating and Signwriting, ?especially around wooden doors and windows, which are prone to rot.??