In recent years, when it comes to the patio, we really have turned what once was just a concrete slab on a small plot of land into backyard vacation retreats.
Homeowners are outfitting their patio with furniture worthy of being indoors. What was once only seen in resorts – outdoor accent rugs, lamps, pillows and draperies – are now found in many suburban backyards. These days, almost every department store has an outdoor living section, and the items found in them are designed to rival their indoor cousins in quality and style.
Too Soon for Blooms
Early spring can be a frustrating time of year for outdoor aficionados because outdoor temperatures can fluctuate by 30° on any given day. While flower beds can be cleaned out and roses can be cut back, most plants are just waking up from winter- meaning, flowers in bloom are a long way off. With the ground still partially frozen and freezing temperatures still a threat, spring bulbs can’t be planted for another month or so.
Sure, there are plenty of outdoor cleaning chores that need be done in the backyard but with some, you may be better off waiting until after the pollen season or you’ll have to repeat the process.
Brush off Your Brushes
Boho chic, English garden, comfy cabin…when it comes to decorating the patio, there are outdoor accessories in every style and theme. But if you are looking for something truly unique, why not try making something yourself?
Stenciling is a budget friendly and fun way to add something uniquely yours to your backyard space. And here’s the best part- you don’t need any artistic talent. Just a few craft store items and you’re off and running. Outdoor rugs, (even inexpensive home improvement store varieties) can become works of art in just one afternoon. Table tops, flower pots, and patio umbrellas can all easily be transformed with stencils.
What You’ll Need:
- Decorative Stencil(s)
- Painters Tape
- Dense Foam Roller and Tray
- Stencil Brush
- Ruler or Measuring Tape
- Pencil or chalk for measure marking
*paint should be purchased depending on the material you are stenciling on. Outdoor acrylics or fabric paint (both found in any craft store) come in a variety of colors and come in both matte and gloss finishes.
If you are new to stenciling you may want to start with a large and less intricate design until you get a feel for how much paint to use. When it comes to the paint, less is definitely more. The aim is to get clean, sharp edges and to not allow the paint to bleed under the stencil. It helps to imagine that you are lightly pushing the paint through the stencil, rather than painting the item itself. Practice on paper first to get a feel for how much to use. Always blot off any extra if you are using a stencil brush, and don’t overload your roller. You can always go back and add more if the saturation is too light.
One of the easier projects you can try is an outdoor rug. Of course, you’ll need to plot the design out before you begin. Search the internet and you’ll find loads of ideas. One of the easiest designs to create is a large center medallion with a coordinating, repeated border on the edges. After finding the center you can apply the paint by either stippling (this method offers more control) or by rolling it on with a firm foam roller (which is much faster).
After you complete your center design you can edge your rug with a matching border design, or by using parts of your larger stencil. (block off sections with your painters tape)
One of the great things about stenciling is that you can build onto the design by adding different designs and colors.
This 6 x 8 foot outdoor rug can be found at The Home Depot for under $20.
So break out the paint and roll up your sleeves – and before you know it, you’ll have your very own backyard masterpiece!