Paint a picket fence white, and you'll produce a classic cottage garden icon. But the traditional approach is not always best for your landscape. Take a look at it during the cold months when plants lie sleeping, and assess how color works in your garden. This idea also applies to arbors, gates, and even benches. Ask these questions to see if you should be thinking outside the color box.
This color epiphany came to me one day while driving down the street toward my house. From a distance, my tiny front garden--bordered on three sides by a white picket fence--looked like a stark fortress. All I saw was fence. The soft green shades of the house and trim appeared warm and inviting, but the fence loomed over the garden, bleak and cold. Hidden under flowering vines in the summer, it looked fine. But in winter's harsh light and lacking leafy cover, it appeared naked. Then came the aha moment. It needed a new look--an untraditional shade, something rich, dark, and warm like the color of chocolate.
Where White Works
This isn't to say that white structures aren't appropriate in the garden. If the house or trim is white, this can be the obvious and correct choice. Use color to tie your home and garden together. Assess your style, and stick with it for a unified, great-looking landscape. And don't be afraid to try something new. Paint is an inexpensive way to get a fresh new look, even in the garden.
If you're after a more rustic look, consider staining your picket fence. The experts at Lakeview Paint in Birmingham offer these points.
"Painted Garden Fences Add Impact" is from the February 2006 issue of Southern Living.