I love a good optical illusion. When you think about what a strategically-placed mirror can do for a dingy hallway, or the way in which a dark moody green can mind-bogglingly make a small living room look bigger (I know, it shouldn't be possible...), there's so much you can do to play with light, colour and perspective. You really can trick the brain into seeing what you want it to see!
This all makes sense indoors, but when I came to paint my own garden fence recently, I wondered whether I could use the same principles to help me choose the best paint colour for my outdoor space.
How could I give my garden the all-important appearance of breadth and depth, without actually having a lot of it in reality?
I love my garden, but admittedly, it is tiny. Now, I wouldn't change it for the world (I'm not a high-maintenance kinda gal!), but I definitely needed to think more carefully than most about how I could make the space I had work harder.
And the right fence paint was my first port of call.
If you too have a small outdoor space or are just looking to maximise the room you have, then read on for tips and tricks to ensure a more spacious feeling backdrop. We tend to think that a fence is a fence (how exciting can exterior fence paint be, I hear you ask). But actually, there are a lot of options to choose from and you can really have fun with it!
So without further ado, let's explore the best paint colours (+ those to avoid!) to maximise the visual space in your garden.
5 Fence Paint Colours to Make a Small Garden Look Bigger
When thinking about which paint colours will give your garden the illusion of more space, my general advice would be to stick to softer colours. A neutral colour scheme will help to bounce light around, ensure your colours pop, and not be too overpowering in a space that you want to feel natural and calming.
It makes sense that a green fence will make a small space look bigger. It will easily blend in with your greenery and camouflage itself exceptionally well.
With the right shade of light green, the once-harsh perimeter of your garden starts to blur and fade into the distance. However, a mid-dark green can also work in gardens with well-established tall trees or plants growing up a trellis.
Green is often surprisingly overlooked when it comes to garden fences, but it is a versatile paint colour which can create space and enhance feelings of tranquillity. It doesn't shout the loudest, but this means that your garden can really take centre stage and shine.
For a similar vibe but with a slightly more modern twist, consider a light blue shade. Cool blue tones evoke feelings of airiness, calmness and clarity, and further give the illusion of blending in with the sky.
Working with the colours of nature means that you can make the most of natural light in your garden design. Blue can be the ideal backdrop for small gardens because, like green, it is a subtle shade that doesn't draw too much attention to itself.
Blue can also take on a fresh, nautical vibe, which works particularly well for gardens with a coastal location or styling.
Not what you were expecting, I imagine. Pink is a little bit rogue, but if you're feeling brave with your paint colour choice, then a pastel pink hue could be a great option to try.
A lighter pink is a complementary backdrop against greenery and will help to pick out the delicate pink petals in your florals. It's also a particularly stunning shade in the late afternoon light and when the sun starts to set, creating depth and warmth.
Paired with rattan furniture, a fire pit and solar lighting, grey can be a paint colour which helps to blend all the elements of your garden together in a clean, modern finish.
Small gardens with grey fences look especially bigger when set against lightly coloured paving stones and a beautifully mown lawn. Clever garden storage can also work wonders in this setup.
A cool grey colour will likely work best, but experiment with darker shades if you want to create a cosier, more enclosed feel.
Last but not least, fences stained light brown will always be a traditional and elegant look.
Wood is a natural material and an on-trend option would be to simply not mess around with it too much! For a slightly rustic finish to your garden fencing, a quick varnish is an easy and effective way to elevate your garden space.
Natural textures and light woods are increasingly popular in interior decor, so why not carry this feeling of simplicity and calm into your outdoor paradise?
+ 2 Fence Paint Colours to Avoid!
Now we've discussed the colours that will work hard to make your garden look bigger, a word of caution! There are a couple of fence paint colours to avoid if you don't want to accidentally shrink your outdoor space! And they're not what you might expect...
I know, it's a surprising one! But a word to the wise: proceed with caution when it comes to white fence paint.
Of course, white was my first thought when it came to making a garden look bigger than it really is and maximising the space on show.
In fact, white is the colour I painted pretty much the entirety of my house in, and when it comes to interior walls and small spaces, I think it's very hard to beat! You'd therefore naturally assume (like I did), that this shade would reflect light and generally be a great idea when it came to your garden fence, too.
Well... I'll stop you there! Unless we're talking classic picket fences, white can actually be quite a jarring colour when it comes to your garden boundary. As it's such a stark shade, it will draw a lot of attention to itself and could even make your space feel smaller than it is.
Truth be told, black can actually be a stunning colour for your garden fence; it can really elevate and modernise a space, whilst making the bright colours of your flowers and foliage pop.
However, no matter how good it looks at night with just the right ambient lighting, you can't get around the fact that a black fence can feel oppressive and drawn in on itself during the daytime.
If you have a large enough garden, then a black backdrop may work perfectly for you. But be careful with black paint and small spaces. Dark colours are generally speaking tricky to pull off in a small garden.
Other Clever Ideas to Make Your Garden Look Bigger
Fence paint is a good place to start, but what other ways are there to give your garden the appearance of an abundance of space? Try these nifty tips and tricks for further small garden hacks!
- Create lots of visual interest with different zones and levels in your garden. For example, a patio seating area, trellis arches or raised beds. Water features can also make a lovely focal point.
- Try some of these ingenious garden fence decoration ideas. For example, you could create a vertical garden with hanging baskets, wall planters and containers. This maximises vertical space and helps to draw the eye upwards.
- Keep your garden maintained and tidy - just like an orderly room will appear more spacious to the naked eye, a freshly mown lawn and well-tended plants will make your garden look bigger.
- Experiment with garden mirrors to create clever optical illusions.
- Be smart with your garden storage if you want your space to feel clutter-free.
- Mow your grass in vertical stripes to draw your eye down the length of your garden and elongate the lawn.
- Incorporate curves and winding pathways throughout your outdoor space to soften harsh lines that can disrupt your line of sight.
Choose Your Fence Colour Wisely for Maximum Visual Impact
It's true that you can't change the size of your garden, but there's certainly plenty of ways in which you can maximise the potential of the space you have!
Remember that softer colours blur into the distance, so opt for generally lighter shades when it comes to choosing your fence paint colour. And for longevity and an even application, don't forget to choose the right exterior fence paint when you start this DIY project! We have all the information you could ever need in our handy and complete guide, which you can refer to here.
Pro tip: When painting your fence, invest in a paint sprayer for maximum results!
So what are you waiting for? Give your garden fence a much-needed refresh with a lick of paint and make the most of your relaxing natural haven this summer. If you're willing to give us a sneak peak, we'd love to feature your garden transformation before and afters!