Five essential tips for your woodwork to create a great outdoors
As spring blooms it's time to give your shed, fence and deck a new look. Here are five essential tips for your woodwork.
1. Colours for garden wood have come a long way since you could get brown or green and little else.
Now you can choose from a myriad of different hues, so your outside space can be just as colourful as the inside. Cuprinol Garden Shades offers a wide range of colours that are currently on offer at B&Q - two 2.5ltr tins for £30, instead of £22 each.
My favourite combo is Pale Jasmine (a pretty pale creamy yellow) for the shed or summer house, and Urban Slate (a gorgeous dark grey) for the fences. These colours work together beautifully, but there are many more to personalise your garden with this spring, and Cuprinol Garden Shades promise four years of weather protection.
2. Before giving your garden wood a makeover, clean it thoroughly - unless it's new, it will probably need a good scrub with a cleaner designed for garden wood, such as Ronseal Decking Cleaner & Reviver (£9.83 for 5ltr, B&Q), to remove algae, dirt and moss.
Allow the wood to dry out before starting to paint, and consider applying wood preserver first.
3. One of the pitfalls of painting a fence is navigating nearby plants, which can make the job tricky.
Cover them with plastic sheeting as much as you can, or tie them back out of the way.
If the plants are growing against the fence and quite large, you may have to wait until they die back at the end of the year to paint the fence properly. In fact, you may find that fences you can hardly see now, and so don't need to paint, will be much more visible in winter.
4. If your fence has horizontal planks, paint in a horizontal direction, and if it has vertical planks, use vertical strokes.
Painting a fence or shed with a paintbrush can be very time-consuming and is much quicker with a paint sprayer. Not all garden-wood paint can be sprayed, but if you want to make life easy, choose one that can.
Cuprinol Spray & Brush (£30, B&Q) is a really innovative paint sprayer because it's a brush and sprayer in one, so you benefit from the speed of spraying and the precision of using a brush for the edges and fiddly bits.
5. Another good way to clean garden wood is to blast it with a pressure washer. The top-of-the range Bosch AQT 45-14 X (£279.99, Argos) is particularly powerful and designed to tackle larger, heavy-duty outdoor cleaning jobs quickly and easily.
This model has lots of special features and accessories and is brilliant for cleaning patios and decks.
If your deck's painted, start by doing a small tester patch because a pressure washer may remove the paint as well as the dirt.
Painting a deck will transform it, but ensure it's clean and dry first. Some decking paints, such as Cuprinol Anti-Slip Decking Stain with Pad Applicator (£39 for 2.5ltr, www.cuprinol.co.uk), come with a useful paint pad that can cover large areas in no time.
Unless they're non-drip, oil-based paints are prone to runs and drips that can ruin the finish. The best way to ensure a good finish is to keep checking over the paint you've just applied, so you can brush out any imperfections before they dry too much. If you're painting outside in direct sunlight or when it's hot, you'll have to work quickly because the paint will start to dry faster and won't be workable for as long.