Choosing Garden Shades With Cuprinol

Compared to my house, my garden has always been a bit lacklustre. I’m not a gardener you see, not that I wouldn’t like to be! I just don’t know where to start and it scares me a little if I’m honest with you! We have grass, yes, but we even managed to kill that after paying the GDP of a small country to have a new lawn laid. We also had a new fence put in after our old one fell down when a cat tried to balance on it and some decking put in which wrapped around the house, but that was about it.

How our garden looked after we moved in. The fence was a shocker and a pond right in the middle of the lawn. Not good with a 1 and 3 year old running around!

How our garden looked after we moved in. The fence was a shocker and a pond right in the middle of the lawn. Not good with a 1 and 3 year old running around!

Not a pretty sight!

Not a pretty sight!

Levelling the lawn and filling in the gaps in the fence

Levelling the lawn and filling in the gaps in the fence

My love of colour and pattern was completely missing from our garden. It was like my taste and style stopped at the bifold doors and I was always apologising to guests when they came over, saying I liked the garden neat and tidy (devoid of character) and was going to let it grow wild (which was obviously a code word for I’m lazy!)

A blank canvas! Just the way I liked it :)

A blank canvas! Just the way I liked it :)

This was pretty much how I was going to leave it, however, this grass lasted one Summer! Note to self, water the grass!!!!

This was pretty much how I was going to leave it, however, this grass lasted one Summer! Note to self, water the grass!!!!

During the Spring, I was invited to a Cuprinol event (the wood care partner of Dulux) as they were showcasing their Garden Shades range in the stunning location of the Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings in London. We had a fabulous lunch whilst the Cuprinol (and Dulux) Creative Director, Marianne Shillingford, talked us through the latest garden trends and how their Garden Shades are inspired by nature. Marianne explained how they liked to look at their colour shades as Nature’s Neutrals and Nature’s Brights, explaining that the Neutrals were best used on large items such as the fence, decking and sheds and the Brights were fabulous for furniture, plant pots and other decorative items. Marianne was extremely inspirational and it got me thinking about how I used colour in the garden.

The stunning Cuprinol event held at the  Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings  in Clerkenwell

The stunning Cuprinol event held at the Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings in Clerkenwell

Waiting for Marianne Shillingford to talk about the latest Garden Shade trends

Waiting for Marianne Shillingford to talk about the latest Garden Shade trends

A cute miniature display

A cute miniature display

Cuprinol’s  Natures Brights Garden Shades

Cuprinol’s Natures Brights Garden Shades

Cuprinol’s  Natures Neutrals Garden Shades

Cuprinol’s Natures Neutrals Garden Shades

After the lunch, we had a go at making our own Bug Hotel with Cuprinol paint. This involved using an old wine box and painting it with Cuprinol Urban Slate and White Daisy, adding plenty of bug friendly materials such as straw and moss and covering it with wire mesh. It made me realise how overly manicured our gardens can become and there is no safe “hiding” place for bugs like solitary bees, ladybirds and woodlouse.

The lovely Marianne Shillingford and our tools ready to make our own Bug Hotel

The lovely Marianne Shillingford and our tools ready to make our own Bug Hotel

Getting ready to paint with Cuprinol’s Urban Slate and White Daisy

Getting ready to paint with Cuprinol’s Urban Slate and White Daisy

After the event, I was thrilled when Cuprinol asked if I would like to work with them over the summer months on their #foryourgreatoutdoors campaign. They sent me over a colour chart to choose some tester pots and a leaflet with promotional ideas on how to use their paint. I was instantly inspired by the colourful creations and was immediately drawn to my favourite colour palettes, blues, greens and pinks.

A  Cuprinol  promotional photo, I love the dark fence and pops of colour

A Cuprinol promotional photo, I love the dark fence and pops of colour

Bug Hotel ideas. The beautiful colours of the “bedding” stand out wonderfully against the Black Ash paint

Bug Hotel ideas. The beautiful colours of the “bedding” stand out wonderfully against the Black Ash paint

Some sample pots

Some sample pots

I went with Black Ash, Seagrass, Pink Honeysuckle, Iris and Sage

I went with Black Ash, Seagrass, Pink Honeysuckle, Iris and Sage

For my first project, I knew I wanted some paint for my fence. Since we had it erected, we had not painted or protected it from the elements and it was already showing signs of damage. The fence was currently light tan and I wanted a dark backdrop to make the plants and flowers pop against it. I was drawn to Black Ash, Iris and Sage. Once I received the testers, I set about painting the fence to see which colour I preferred and was instantly taken with Iris! I thought Black Ash was a little too dark and Sage wouldn’t have let the plants stand out like I wanted them too. Iris was a beautiful contrast to our lawn and so I spent the next couple of day painting my fence whilst the weather was good.

I present to you my fence! And patchy grass (we’re working on it!)

I present to you my fence! And patchy grass (we’re working on it!)

See what I mean by liking my garden wild? :)

See what I mean by liking my garden wild? :)

Here we have Iris on the left, Black Ash in the middle and Sage on the right

Here we have Iris on the left, Black Ash in the middle and Sage on the right

Thankfully, I only needed to apply one coat as it applied really well and easily. We have concrete bollards holding up the fence panels and I did consider painting them as well, but in the end, I went with painting a pattern onto them with Iris to create a bit of a feature. I am extremely pleased with the results and the plants and trees really do pop against the colour. It provides an amazing backdrop to our garden.

What an amazing back drop to our garden. Fence painted in  Cuprinol  Iris.  Lanterns  from lights4fun.co.uk.  Rattan furniture  from Argos Home.  Rug  from La Redoute.  Fire Pit  from Von Haus.  Knitted throw  from Cox & Cox

What an amazing back drop to our garden. Fence painted in Cuprinol Iris. Lanterns from lights4fun.co.uk. Rattan furniture from Argos Home. Rug from La Redoute. Fire Pit from Von Haus. Knitted throw from Cox & Cox

Such a beautiful colour!  Lanterns  from Lights4fun.  Tableware  from Argos Home

Such a beautiful colour! Lanterns from Lights4fun. Tableware from Argos Home

The painted pattern on the bollard.  Lanterns  from lights4fun.co.uk

The painted pattern on the bollard. Lanterns from lights4fun.co.uk

I then hung my Bugz Hotel from one of the tree to encourage wildlife to make a home in our garden, the children are fascinated by it!

The Bugz Hotel

The Bugz Hotel

With matching bollard pattern. How fabulous does the green look against the fence?  Lantern  from lights4fun.co.uk

With matching bollard pattern. How fabulous does the green look against the fence? Lantern from lights4fun.co.uk

Can you spot any bugs in there?

Can you spot any bugs in there?

I was also asked by Cuprinol to add some colour to my garden by using their Garden Shades Nature’s Brights and initially I was going to paint a little wooden bistro set that sits under our pear tree in Pink Honeysuckle. Unfortunately, our pear tree got blown over by the high winds at the beginning of August so I had to find another way of adding bright colours to my garden. I had an unloved planter already in the garden that was painted a bright blue with paint not meant for the great outdoors, so hadn’t weathered very well. I decided to paint this Pink Honeysuckle and it looks fabulous sat on our grey decking!

The unloved planter

The unloved planter

Adding a splash of pink to the garden with  Cuprinol’s  Pink Honeysuckle

Adding a splash of pink to the garden with Cuprinol’s Pink Honeysuckle

I wonder how long I can keep these plants alive??

I wonder how long I can keep these plants alive??

My Pink Honeysuckle Planter and Willow storage bench

My Pink Honeysuckle Planter and Willow storage bench

I also managed to pick up a little storage bench which was perfect for our outdoor dining table and could house all our outdoor tableware that was taking up valuable space in my kitchen cupboards. Initially, I was going to paint it Seagrass but I preferred the more natural tone of Willow. Both the planter and the storage bench only needed one coat of Cuprinol and have already lasted well through several downpours.

Our storage bench painted in Willow

Our storage bench painted in Willow

Goes perfectly with my hydrangeas and the plant pot

Goes perfectly with my hydrangeas and the plant pot

So, there you have it! My garden is now full of colour and ready to use… for winter! Haha. I love the fact that even when the plants and flowers start to hibernate for the colder months, my garden is still a colourful little haven thanks to Cuprinol and their Garden Shades.

Mel x