Ultimate outdoor living handbook

28 min read

OUTDOOR LIVING

43 WAYS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR GARDEN THIS SUMMER

1 MAKE A FUN AREA FOR KIDS

Up the fun factor for smaller children by staging a dedicated play area. Sacrifice a section of a raised bed and create an area of deck with a giant blackboard and a covered sandpit for sunny-day play. Fix a peg rail to the underside of the sandpit lid for hanging toys. For safety, position this area a safe distance from any outdoor cooking areas and ideally in shade, but in clear sight of seating spots so grown ups can keep a watchful eye them while they play.

PHOTOGRAPH FUTURECONTENTHUB.COM/TIM YOUNG

2 HOW TO PAINT A SHED

The weather can be hard on our garden buildings, so they will need re-painting or re-staining every few years or so.

Giving our sheds, summer houses and outdoor dens a lick of paint not only ensures a fresh look, but helps protect them from the weather, too. And there are lots of lovely paint colours to choose from.

n Check the weather before you start. You need a dry day where the temperature is above 10C (any lower and the paint will take ages to dry) and no higher than 29C or the paint might blister. Tie back any plants, tree branches or grasses so they don't get damaged. Cover the surrounding ground and any nearby plants with dust sheets to protect from paint splashes.

n Next, check your shed for signs of damage, such as rot or loose slats. Fix any slats with nails or wood glue and pin down any loose roof felting, too. Using a stiff or wire brush, remove any dust and loose dirt from the surfaces to be painted. Cover any windows, hinges, locks and handles with newspaper and masking tape.

n Give your paint a really good stir using a stick or an off-cut of wood and start applying it at the top of your shed using a wide brush. Use long, steady strokes that go with the wood grain, and be careful not to let it drip too much. For tricky, hard-to-reach areas use a smaller brush. With large, flat surfaces, you could use a paint roller to speed up the job.

n When it comes to colour, be as bold and adventurous as you want, and if you fancy using two shades to create a striped look, then you go for it! Leave it for the recommended drying time, before applying a second coat if required.

n Once your shed is completely dry, remove the masking tape and newspaper, and uncover the ground and foliage surrounding it. If paint drips have come through onto brickwork or patios, use warm soapy water and a hand-held brush to scrub it away. Then step back and admire your newly painted shed!

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