COVID-19 restrictions have forced us to stay home, and many of those homes have benefitted from a makeover inside and out, but with a blast of lovely weather coinciding nicely, the outside for many, was the focus.
Many are looking for new ways to enjoy the space available to them and are seeing their garden afresh, as an extra room in their home, one worthy of as much attention, detail and personalisation as the indoors.
Landscapers and designers are increasingly being tasked with finding new and creative ways to inject personality and make a statement in gardens both private and commercial. Paul Clark, CEO of Spectrum PaintWorx, takes us beyond the flat greens of artificial lawns lined up against stark whitewashed concrete borders and explains how the many colours, textures and finishes of paint can be used in a myriad of ways to create a stunning and bespoke garden.
Beyond the garden fence
When looking at the structural elements of a garden, fences, summer houses and sheds are the obvious choices for injecting colour. But practically any surface can be coloured – when the correct coating is applied.
You could even have a beautiful bath if you’ve not got nosy neighbours – and relax under the stars in a little summer house-cum-bathroom!
A radiator can be added too, just to keep it all toasty and warm. If it can be dismantled and taken to the spray booth, it can have the Spectrum treatment – because some of the sprays and finishes can’t be released into the air when sprayed on-site, plus a sterile room is needed to ensure the paint remains pure, and nothing from the environment gets in that can cause it to perform any other way than intended – it’s more like a science sometimes.
Sculptures, ornaments, structures, mirrors, frames and pots can all be customised to create spectacular focal points. Spectrum Paintworx specialises in not only mixing bespoke colours but in creating bespoke textures by adding flakes, dyes and tints, creating metallic, iridescent or pearlescent finishes – each perfectly suited to the surface.
Accessories are an excellent way to not only introduce bold colours and finishes and allow clients to let their imaginations run wild but also upcycle old or uninspiring garden items. Garden furniture, statues, planters and pots can all be customised and turned into statement pieces. Dividing these items into sets to be coloured in a range of shades can provide a choice of matching accessories to complement the changing seasons – irridescents, brights and gloss for summer; for example, or sparkling greens and reds in the winter. Clients have the ability to create their own shades and finishes that simply won’t be seen anywhere else.
A kaleidoscope of colour
Whites, olive greens and soft navies remain popular in gardens, blending in with the natural landscape and creating a calming atmosphere. Adding texture to these shades introduces a modern twist on a classic and adds a tactile element to a surface.
Increasingly, homeowners are becoming bolder in their choice of shades. The days of neutrals are over, and bold is beautiful. Attention-grabbing colours and finishes, such as limes and fiery reds or metallics and pearlescents, are being used to striking effect in gardens. Many clients are keen to create a truly personal outside space by commissioning unique formulations. The beauty of bespoke coatings is that they can be matched to a favourite flower, object, or the interior design of the house to carry the theme right through to the outdoors, creating a unified and totally unique look.
Light the way
The variety of natural and artificial light and shade in a garden means that colours and finishes need to be carefully selected. It’s important to view an outside space at different times of the day to understand how the light can be utilised to maximum effect. A mostly shady garden will benefit from bright, metallic finishes that reflect and maximise the minimal light available. Pearlescent or sparkling pigments will create a spectacular effect when hit by the late, low afternoon sun. South-facing gardens can carry off more muted colours, or revel in the extensive sunshine with an outrageously bright palette.
Similarly, artificial light focused on key finishes can dramatically transform a garden from day to night – think of spotlights on a disco ball-style reflective plant pot!
Whether you’re designing for a hotel, restaurant, shopping complex or office building; replicating the tones and textures of a commercial premises in its outdoor space helps to create a strong brand identity. By creating coatings that exactly match the interior design and branding guidelines or formulating new and unique instantly-recognisable shades and finishes, the possibilities outside are endless.
What’s more, the widely-recognised mental health benefits of the natural world mean many businesses are keen to offer staff and guests beautiful, inviting spaces. Colours and textures can play an important part in creating a stimulating sensory environment – perfect for relaxation and enjoyment.
Professionally applied coatings can achieve stunning results compared to, and at a fraction of the cost of high-end materials such as metal, marble or stone. But durability is essential, particularly on outdoor surfaces. Consideration must be given to the porosity of materials – for example, MDF and other woods absorb primers and paints and, over a short time, the surface will fade.
Metal sprays are increasingly popular but must be skillfully applied in a layered coating to achieve the optimum result. This type of procedure needs heat and time and must be carried out in a studio, not cold conditions or on site.
Tarnishing is an obvious issue in gardens. Conventional clear coats can tackle the problem but do not adhere effectively to exciting new liquid metal surfaces, meaning the finish will delaminate.
Spectrum’s team constantly tests and innovates, creating its own solutions to many of these issues.
Clients both domestic and commercial are demanding more from garden design and looking for transformational solutions without the heavy environmental and monetary costs. Being creative with colour and coatings not only provides spectacular results, avoids unnecessary wastage and replacement of materials saving on costs, but also allows clients to put their own creative stamp or brand palette on their outside space.