Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

THE QUICK FIX; Do the Inexpensive Garden Projects Now and Leave the Fun of Planting for Later

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

THE QUICK FIX; Do the Inexpensive Garden Projects Now and Leave the Fun of Planting for Later

Article excerpt

Byline: Pattie Barron

NOW is the perfect time to renovate and reinvent the garden's winter-weary floor, furniture and fences before you buy so much as a spring-flowering primrose. The weekend multiple makeover starts here: ' Fix fencing, or the whole garden will look shabby. Uneven fences with different shades of wood can be made uniform with a dark woodstain, which has the effect of "knocking back" the fence, making it less obtrusive.

Right now, before climbers spring to life, is the time to do it. Slap on a few coats of Cuprinol's Garden Shades in Rich Berry -- you will need at least two as wood soaks it up -- and marvel at how the deep burgundy flatters every plant in the border. It also protects the wood.

' Update the garden shed: leave the Swiss chalet to the slopes and the deckchair stripes to the seaside. It should blend in with the surroundings, not stick out like a sore thumb, so stain the wood a subtle shade. Try Elizabeth's Plum Jam, a deep aubergine mauve, or George's Chimenea, a perfect sage green, both from Sadolin's new faderesistant My Garden range. Then show the neighbours your high-level eco status with a no-maintenance sedum roof from Enviromat -- lay it and leave it -- and give the shed door gravitas with a potted box lollipop on either side.

' Rusted structures and ornaments lend a sense of timelessness to even the new garden. Companies such as Secret Gardens sell fashionably rusted arches and obelisks for hundreds of pounds, but why pay a fortune if you have a piece of scrap metal to upcycle as a plant support? Patches of rust on modern metal furniture, however, would be better banished, so paint over the whole chair or table with Hammerite's Garden Metal Shades, which need no primer; best shades are Wild Sage and Gunmetal Grey.

' Teak furniture, along with other FSC hardwoods, needs a spring scrub with soapy water to remove algae; teak oil will help restore the original colour. Revitalise tired wooden furniture by sanding, priming and painting with an exterior-grade paint. …

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