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From Habitat magazine - issue 34, bright ideas

Now is the ideal time for projects that transform garden and outdoor spaces.

As the temperature drops, and the last tomato plant starts to curl up its toes, it’s time to give the garden and outdoor areas a little TLC. Autumn and winter are the perfect seasons to get to work, cleaning up exterior spaces and completing those tasks that never seem to get finished during the hotter months.

Without flowers and vegetables, the winter garden can also seem a little drab. Thankfully, pops of bright Resene paint, such as the shades used in these outdoor features, can add a welcome vibrancy.

Get fired up


A colourful firewood stacker

This firewood stacker brings colour to this garden with the base painted in Resene Red Oxide and planks in Resene Amulet and Resene Bush. It looks striking against the dark fence stained in Resene Waterborne Woodsman Crowshead.

› For instructions on how to make this stacker, visit

The classic DIY materials, concrete blocks and planks of wood, are all right up there with No. 8 wire for usefulness – able to be transformed into practical items such as bookshelves, fences, outdoor seats and firewood stackers. A neatly stacked pile of firewood is not only immensely satisfying but will go a long way in transforming an outdoor space. All that is needed to make this stacker is a concrete cinder block, four fence palings (1500mm length x 150mm width x 19mm depth) and your favourite Resene paints – no hammer, nails, screws or drill required. To make this project, we first applied two coats of Resene Lustacryl to the cinder block and to the planks. Our cinder block is painted in Resene Red Oxide with two planks in Resene Amulet and the other two planks in Resene Bush. The stacker becomes sturdy and holds its shape when you start placing the logs. Consider creating several different stackers to store wood at varying stages of drying, colour-coding them to assist you in remembering when the wood was cut.

How to know if firewood is dry

  • The wood will be lighter in weight and most likely also whiter in colour.
  • Dry wood will no longer smell like sap.
  • Knock two logs together. Dry wood makes a hollow sound.

Tips for storing and drying firewood

  • Firewood needs at least six to eight months to dry. It may require longer if the pieces are large or from hardwood trees.
  • Keep the wood facing the prevailing wind and elevated from the ground to prevent contact with water. Firewood can be left uncovered, but a length of wood over the top acting as a roof will help keep out large amounts of moisture.
  • Firewood stored outdoors will dry faster than wood kept inside a shed- air and sunlight speed up the drying process.
  • To increase airflow, stack the wood so there are small gaps between the logs.
  • Cutting firewood into smaller pieces creates more surface area and will help it dry faster. Cut wood to the size of the wood burner to save time later.

Three ways with screens

Outdoor screens are incredibly versatile. They create privacy, hide unsightly everyday items such as rubbish bins and create zones for entertaining.

These three screen ideas use a variety of new and upcycled materials. Paint them the same colour as your home with a colourful accent, or make a statement with bright contrasting colours.

Rusty-look screen
Rusty-look outdoor screen

An easy pallet screen
An easy pallet screen to hide rubbish bins

Rusty-look screen: This trellis screen creates privacy at the front of this villa. The screen is painted in Resene FX Faux Rust Effect to give the look of weathered steel.   An easy pallet screen: This pallet screen is painted in Resene Zircon with Resene Aviator on the sides and Resene Morning Glory on the street number detailing. Corrugated fence painted in Resene Gravel, gate in Resene Half Tapa.  Top tip: Use a stencil to paint your house number on the side of your screen. You could even paint a matching number on your bin if your council allows it.

Rusty-look screen

A standard piece of timber trellis becomes a vintage-style feature using Resene FX Faux Rust Effect coating. Use this product to create the look of aged steel on surfaces such as wood and concrete. The colour of the coating changes and ‘weathers’ over time, similar to real steel but at a more budget-friendly price. To create this look, apply two coats of Resene FX Faux Rust Effect basecoat, then Resene FX Faux Rust Effect activator which creates the weathered steel rust effect.

Top tip:

  • Just like with real rust, Resene FX Faux Rust Effect can discolour surfaces it touches. It is best used on non-contact areas. You can finish it with Resene Waterborne Aquapel for added protection.

An easy pallet screen

Rubbish bins can be an eyesore but need to be close to the house and driveway for practical reasons. A pallet is just the right height for hiding a standard rubbish bin. For this project, three pallets were screwed together and painted with Resene Zircon, Resene Aviator on the edges and Resene Morning Glory for the street-number detailing. Pallets come in different sizes, make sure your pallet is tall enough to hide your bin.

To create the screen:

  • Stand two pallets side by side vertically and at a 90 degree angle. Screw them together at the top, bottom and in the middle. Line the third pallet up to create the third side of your ‘box’, screw together at the top, middle and bottom. Paint all three pallets in Resene Zircon.

  • To create the blue Resene Aviator edges, cut fence palings to the height and width of the two side pallets (our pallet was 1225mm in height x 1005mm width x 145mm depth). Sand and paint in Resene Aviator, allow to dry. Nail these to the front and top of the two side pallets.

› For instructions on how to make this pallet screen, visit

Top tip:

  • Use a stencil to paint your house number on the side of your screen. You could even paint a matching number on your bin if your council allows it.

Pallet power

There is a myriad of ways to upcycle wooden pallets in an outdoor area. Transform them into vertical garden walls, outdoor benches, potting tables or even outdoor furniture. When creating garden beds or vertical walls using pallets, make sure you use untreated pallets to ensure chemicals don’t leach into your soil. While untreated timber pallets will deteriorate over time, coats of Resene paint on the outside will help them last longer.

Hinged privacy screen

This sturdy screen, built from six timber planks (2400mm length x 90mm width x 45mm depth) and 8 fence palings (1800mm length x 150mm width x 19mm depth), is a striking garden feature painted in Resene Bali Hai and Resene Coast. Hinges allow the screen to bend around objects, making it ideal for creating garden rooms or entertaining zones. It can also wrap around objects you’d like to hide.

Blue hinged privacy screen

Resene Bali Hai and Resene Coast are a bold colour duo on this screen, which hides a broken water feature.

Cut plan:

  1. Vertical sides: cut six planks of 2400mm long x 90mm wide x 45mm deep timber into six lengths of 1800mm. These will make the vertical sides of the screen. Make sure you keep the offcuts.

  2. Horizontal sides: from each of the offcuts above, cut a 480mm length. You will be left with six 120mm offcuts (not used in this project).

  3. Privacy slats: using the fence palings, cut each 1800mm length fence paling into three lengths of 600mm (final measurement will be 600mm x 150mm x 19mm)

To create:

  • Cut all the timber planks and fence palings to size.

  • To build each frame, arrange the pieces together laying them in a rectangle with the top horizontal pieces (2) for each frame flush inside the vertical side plank pieces (1). Fix the pieces together with wood glue and screws. Secure the lower horizontal side 360mm from the end of the vertical side.

  • Place the first privacy slat (3) 50mm from the top and nail in place. Measure 20mm between each slat and place remaining slats, working your way down the frame.

To assemble:

  • Line up your three finished frames on the ground. Connect the frames with hinges.

› For full instructions, visit

Rainy days

Water shortages are becoming an issue in many regions with councils placing restrictions on watering gardens during the summer months. A rainwater barrel or tank connected to a downpipe diverter is a simple way of collecting rain from the roof for future use on the garden or outdoors.

Painted rainwater barrel

This concrete rain-barrel stand is painted in an ombre effect. From top to bottom: Resene Onahau, Resene Morning Glory, Resene Fountain Blue and Resene Hippie Blue. The rain-barrel is connected to a Marley Twist water diverter and hose. Weatherboards painted in Resene Half Mondo and gate in Resene Half Tapa.

Autumn and winter are the ideal time to set up a rainwater harvesting system and prepare for the times of the year when your garden needs the water the most.

This simple system uses a 200-litre food-grade plastic barrel, a downpipe diverter (we used Marley Twist) and a concrete-block stand decorated with Resene paints. The stand, strong enough to take the barrel’s weight when it is full of water, is made of eight concrete blocks, a paver and timber to make a wooden platform where the barrel sits. We’ve worked with the plastic barrel’s blue colour creating an ombre blue effect using Resene Onahau, Resene Morning Glory, Resene Fountain Blue and Resene Hippie Blue.

Don’t put this project in the too-hard basket – it’s straightforward and only takes a few hours to set up. The combined cost of the barrel, stand and diverter was under $500 – it could be even cheaper with upcycled materials.

For instructions on how to make this rain-barrel stand, visit

Outdoor project checklist

  • Give concrete paths, patios and decks a refresh with Resene Deep Clean. This long-lasting product keeps outdoor areas free from moss, mould, algae and lichen, which can thrive in wet weather. Apply direct to the surface – no scrubbing required or use a Resene Deep Clean trigger pack attached to your hose for quick and easy application to large areas.

  • Collect seeds from your favourite heirloom vegetables and store in envelopes in a cool dark place for planting in spring.

  • Collect falling leaves from trees for compost. Prune branches from trees that may cause damage in storms.

  • For slippery concrete, timber and bitumen surfaces, clean, prepare and then apply Resene Non-Skid Deck & Path. This finish has a light grit texture to give feet and shoes something to grip, reducing the risk of wet weather accidents.

  • Clear the decks and pack away outdoor furniture that might get damaged in wet weather. Use the opportunity to give your deck protection with Resene Furniture and Decking Oil or stain with colours from the Resene Woodsman range. If staining a dark colour, consider choosing a shade from the Resene CoolColour range, which reflects more heat, keeping the deck cooler on feet in summer than the standard colour.

  • Plant bulbs such as tulips, freesias and daffodils ahead of spring. Add pops of colour to your garden by planting bulbs in terracotta pots painted with complementary shades of Resene paint.

projects and styling: Sacha Wackrow
images: Bryce Carleton


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