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DIY December: Refresh your outdoor areas for summer

Summer is here and the silly season is fast approaching! What better time to give your home exterior a quick refresh before the end of year rolls around. While weekends are getting busier in the lead up to the holidays, the warmer weather is ideal for doing some essential home maintenance and DIY. If you’ve been tasked with hosting duties this Christmas, get your outdoor areas ready for guests to mix, mingle and dine al fresco. A little legwork and the right Resene products will have your place looking good as new in no time.

Wash up

Outdoor living areas can get neglected over winter and suffer from a build-up of dead leaves and mould. Start your seasonal spruce-up by trimming away any branches that overhang your house, deck or courtyard. Clear and sweep away the debris, along with any surface dirt. Next it’s time to apply Resene Moss & Mould Killer to get rid of all the build-up. Dilute following the package instructions, then apply and wait 48 hours to achieve a full kill. Rinse clean with water.

Once it’s all clear, use Resene Paint Prep and Housewash or Resene Bio-Cleaner to clean painted surfaces. A regular spring-cleaning cycle will keep your house looking great and will extend the life of your paintwork. Dilute the cleaner with the right amount of water, scrub vigorously using a nylon bristle broom or short handle scrubbing brush, then rinse with clean water for an instantly fresher surface. Use a backpack to apply it to make life easier.

Taking the time to clean your paintwork once a year not only keeps it looking good as new but will help it last much longer.

Prep decks for staining

If a good clean doesn’t quite cut it, an early December stain or paint will help your deck sparkle for Christmas. Re-staining a timber deck is recommended every two years. Just like any job, good preparation is the key to success. Resene paint expert Bryce McDermott says a good place to start is by using Resene Timber and Deck Wash to remove old stain deposits, as well as dirt and mould. 

“Mix it with water and then apply with a stiff nylon bristle broom,” says Bryce. This helps open up timber fibres and allows surfaces to accept stains more readily, “particularly with hardwood decks such as kwila”. 

Bryce also recommends it’s best to avoid water blasting. “You can actually damage the timber if you get too close or use too high a pressure. If you do want to use a domestic water blaster with Resene Timber and Deck Wash, use the rinse setting only,” Bryce advises.

Stain finishes are semi-transparent, so make sure the surface is well cleaned first otherwise marks will show through.

Once you have sprayed on your Resene Deck and Timber Wash, work it in using a stiff nylon bristle broom to help open the timber fibres, which will allow the stain to absorb better.

Stain timber decks and pergolas

Make sure your timber surfaces are thoroughly dry before you start staining. Resene Woodsman Decking Oil Stain is formulated for both weathered and new timber decking, pergolas and fences. Apply two coats, leaving the first coat to dry overnight before applying the second.  Or for a waterborne option, apply two coats of Resene Woodsman Decking Oil Stain.

“Make sure you read the instructions because spread rates can affect the finished product,” Bryce warns. “There’s a danger of overloading the surface with stain and it’ll deteriorate prematurely. Because wood stain is not opaque like paint, UV light can actually degrade it quite quickly.” The aim of a stain is to penetrate into the surface, not sit on top of it.  

Top tip: Use a Deck Master Deck Brush to apply the stain so you can get a satisfying, uniform finish. It’s easy to cut in any hard-to-reach areas and you can get down into all the grooves and edges of the timber.

Resene Woodsman Wood Oil Stain tinted to Resene Natural is being applied to this deck using a Deck Master Brush. This product is ideal for exterior timber surfaces such as weatherboards, decking and furniture, and generally needs to be recoated every two years.

Add some colour

Once your deck is dry, you may want to add some potted herbs and flowers as a finishing touch. If you’ve already got a good-looking garden, remember to protect it from cleaning and painting products. “Keep chemicals away from your mum’s prize petunias,” Bryce advises.

You can freshen up old plant pots with Resene testpots. Seal terracotta pots inside and out with Resene Aquapel & Terracotta Sealer before painting. This will help prevent water seeping through from the inside of the pot.

Clear the clutter

Look over your outdoor areas with a critical eye. Do the kids bounce on the trampoline any more or could you use that valuable space for something else? Donate or recycle any unwanted toys and garden furniture you have lying around, so you’re starting with a clean slate.

In the garden 

When it comes to what to plant in December, focus on your Christmas salads and vibrant garden displays. It’s best practice to water gardens in the early morning or evening, instead of during the heat of the day. 

Keep on top of your watering, weeding, feeding and spraying. It’s a great time of year to start planting basil, beans, beetroot, capsicum, tomatoes, sweetcorn, rocket, cucumber, strawberries and blueberries. 

In terms of flowers, go for pops of colour with bright blooms like cosmos, chrysanthemum, petunia, marigold and impatiens. 

Brightly coloured pots create an eye-catching display. These ones are painted in (from left) Resene Poppy, Resene Pink Ribbon, Resene Party Zone, Resene Lazy River and Resene Daredevil. Wall in Resene Safehaven.
A clear canvas and a riot of cheerful colour has transformed this courtyard. The chairs are in Resene Snap and Resene Wellywood, and the cobalt blue on the wall is Resene Decadence.
Fences in Resene Black are a great backdrop to this vegetable garden. The colour not only looks good and helps to accentuate the foliage, but it also radiates gentle heat onto the espaliered plants to help ripen the fruit. If you’re planning a dark colour, use the Resene CoolColour version to help reflect more heat.

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