Before and After: A Grimy Outdoor Wall Gets a Beautiful Summer-Ready Redo

published May 23, 2022
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‘Tis the season to refresh your outdoor space! Although adding new plants and new patio furniture are great ways to make a backyard, balcony, or deck more inviting, you can also spruce up your surrounding surfaces. Power wash a porch or a fence — maybe even paint a mural on it! Stamp a fun pattern on a jute rug, or install stepping stones and gravel overtop of a boring dirt patch.

The possibilities for your next outdoor project are as vast as the outdoor world itself, and this brick wall plus exterior door revamp from Jack Reading of Emperor Paint will serve as major inspiration. Before, “the wall was suffering from large organic growth on the masonry,” Jack says. In addition, the paint on the wall and the door was faded and peeling.

Jack says his goal for the project was “to bring a new lease of life to the area and to protect the masonry from weather damage.” Here’s how he did it:

First, he used a paint peeler to smooth out the chipping paint, and then he hosed off the wall and scrubbed it using a fungicidal wash to eliminate the mildew buildup. “The key to painting exterior surfaces is the preparation,” Jack explains.

With the stone surface clean, he spot-primed the areas where he’d removed paint back to bare stone. “Not applying a primer could cause the paint to soak into the brick and leave a patchy finish,” Jack says, but he says that primer doesn’t need to be applied to the areas where the paint is still sound — only the bare, unpainted areas.

Next, using a thick-pile roller, Jack applied two coats of waterproof white masonry paint to the cinderblocks to prevent any further dampness. He painted the adjacent wood gate royal blue with a Zinsser all-coat paint that did not require primer.

Jack’s other outdoor painting tip: Make sure you’re painting in the right weather and keeping sunlight exposure consistent, if possible. If it’s too warm, paint will dry too quickly, and if it’s too cold, paint will dry slowly. “If some paint dries quicker than others, you will get a patchy finish,” Jack explains.

To complete his refreshed backyard corner, Jack added a matching royal blue trellis and plants to fill out the space and match the large door. He completed the project with square motifs “to create a Greek feel” that matches his blue and white color scheme. Jack used leftover bathroom tiles and a weatherproof adhesive to get the look, but this could be easily replicated with peel-and-stick tile or a stencil, depending on how exposed to the elements your space will be.

Jack says he’s proud of the quality of his finished product, and he loves “the style and the protection the wall has” now. His project cost him  £100, or about $125 — not bad for a stylish, summer-ready outdoor space.

This piece is part of Get Outside Month, where we’re covering all things out-of-the-house, from curb appeal tips to al fresco hobby ideas. Whether you have a backyard, a patio, or 1 square foot of a fire escape. Head over here to read more!