Monday, July 6, 2009

thinking about painting

When we had the wall around the patio built I asked about tinting the plaster (it’s not poured in place, but rather cmu with a top coat). The idea was quickly dismissed by the contractor and I was told to just paint it later. We got a very affordable bid so I was never quite sure if he didn’t want to bother, didn’t know how, or there is really no such thing as tinting the plaster and I made it all up.

So it’s coming up on 2-years later and I haven’t painted. I can’t decide! Have you ever looked at a painted brick house, or fireplace, and wished it had never been painted? I am afraid I’ll regret it, it will end up looking bad, or it will be a constant maintenance pain in-the-backside. But then I see a dark charcoal wall or a vibrant orange or yellow wall and I think about how much character and pop it would add. If you are having trouble picturing what I mean take a look at the photographs from Scott Calhoun’s book The Hot Garden as shown on Pam’s blog Digging, she reviewed the book a while back.
Our patio slabs are light grey, there is a moat of blue/grey Mexican river rock around the inner edge, and the wall is grey. It’s calming; it looks good with everything, but is it also boring? My husband thinks that if we paint it then we should use the same color that we end up using on the foundation of our house. I kind of like that idea, after all they are similar in texture and height and would relate the patio to the house. There is also the orange of the shade pavilion to play with. Have you ever painted a masonry/stucco wall outdoors? How did it turn out? Did you love it? Regret it?


  1. We recently painted a new stucco wall. I toyed with the idea of a dramatic color, but ended up just painting it a light green to match the house. I already have purple shutters and a deep teal pergola so I decided enough was enough. You do have to put some sort of special primer on it -- you'll be able to find out at a paint store.

    You can see mine here before painting: and after:

  2. I vote for charcoal grey. It will "play well with others" and let the greens and the orange steal the show. Plus it will work on your house too.

  3. I don't think your garden is boring in any way, Loree! But of course I do love color in the garden. I really can't answer whether I would paint it or what color without being there (I'm getting on the plane right now!). Good luck with the decision. (I look forward to Germi's opinion.)

    By the way, you *can* tint plaster. A former neighbor and landscape architect applied tinted plaster to a front-garden wall he constructed. A few months went by, and then one day his crew came back and stripped the tinted plaster off. Turns out, he and his wife hated the color. Oops! Eventually they reapplied a new tinted plaster. Success--they loved it.

  4. We built a wall around our patio, and I always thought I'd paint it--but somehow could never make myself do it. I just looked at it so I could comment about how it's weathered, and OMG, I need to get out there and rinse that thing down.

  5. denise schreiberJuly 07, 2009

    I feel like green screams 'Loree' but with all the green of the plants it might be too much? I feel like you should stick with something similar to what it is now so it doesn't look to circus or draw attention away from the shade pavilion.

  6. Thanks Chris! I took a quick peek at your pictures (your wall looks fabulous!) I'll have to go back later and explore your blog.

    Deb,I like the way you think! Funny your husband seemed to be leaning toward not painting.

    Pam, come on up, oh we could have fun! Thank you for confirming that tinting is possible, it sounded like it should be. I would love to hear Germi's opinion but she seems to have gone missing as of late, no comments for over a week, maybe more...Germi are you still out there????

    Patricia, I've noticed a few spots already discoloring and was thinking about trying to clean it. Uhm...

    DS, yes I am pretty sure green would get lost, I want something that makes the plants pop not camouflages them. And what do you have against a circus?

  7. I love monochromatic, I wouldn't ever call it boring, and I envy that wall. My garden looks like such a mess all the time, I wish I had some structure like this. I could see it painted, too though. Charcoal grey is one of my favorite colors, but a hot vibrant color would be good too. You have a good eye. Whatever you do will look amazing. I am lazy about maintenance so I like the idea of a wall that never has to be painted, but if you have the energy and inspiration, go for it!


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