Turning a dull garden into an all year fun, bright and colourful one

adding colour to your garden

Guess what? You do not need loads of money to decorate or add colour to your back garden. I used recycled terracotta pots, normal house emulsion and enamel paints left over from Nick’s airfix sets.

What materials you will need to paint your terracotta pots

Here is a list of the recommended materials you will need:

  • Bucket and wire brush to clean your pots
  • Acrylic paint 
  • Clear acrylic spray paint  (Or varnish from £1 shop?)
  • Paint brushes or foam pads
  • Paper plate for your paint if needed

Even though I could not buy these items during lock down, I hunted through the garage and found the following and they worked just as well.

  • Matt emulsion paint for base paint
  • Small assorted pots of acrylic paint
  • Everyday paint brushes and small artist brushes

So you see, you do not need to spend a fortune.

1 - Preparation of your clay terracotta pots

You do not need new terracotta pots. I recycled all of my old and worn outdoor garden pots which are a combination of shapes and sizes. But it is important that you clean them thoroughly and allow them to dry before you begin decorating them.

If you are using old pots brush off any excess soil inside and out. Fill a bucket with hot soapy water and use a wire brush to scrub them. If you do not have a wire brush, use an old kitchen brush (OR TOOTHBRUSH??) or anything that has an abrasive side to it. This will help you to thoroughly remove any dirt.

Once they are cleaned, refill your bucket with water and add a small amount of bleach. You do not need lots, just a cupful.  Clean each pot – I left mine overnight and then another  couple of days to be sure they had dried out.

2 - Base coat for your terracotta pots

base paint using emulsion for garden pots

So, I used plain white matt emulsion paint for my base coat.

I did not think it would work at first, but it did. You simply need to apply several coats, especially if you are using a white base. This is frustrating, but worth it and it does give you a good base to start your design.

Turn the pot upside down, and work on the main section of it first before you paint the edging.  Make sure you work with the grain of the pot as this will avoid missing sections and streaks.

Remember to paint about 2 inches inside of the pot, as you will want to paint over this when you create your final design.

3 - Creating your design on your pots

Lightly  pencil your design on each pot or,  if you prefer, create your design on paper. 


We decided to create our design freehand. What the hell. We just wanted to have fun. 

4 - Painting your pots

At first we created flowers using our thumb prints, very messy but lots of fun. Kids love this and it is also ideal for making personal gifts for family members birthday, or get ahead with your Christmas gifts.

After that we decided to go a bit more hard hitting with the colours, using bold colours and we went mad  just painting strips that merged into other colours. We even dabbed the paint onto  one pot to create a mottled effect using a paint brush and the stippling method.

5 - Waterproofing your pot

I do recommend that you waterproof your pots using clear acrylic spray paint. Although I have not waterproofed mine and they have kept their brightness during harsh weather conditions.  

Although If you are creating a gift for someone  then I would suggest you waterproof your design.

So, why not create your all year round colourful garden and keep busy during 2020!  Find us on Facebook and Instagram and show us your pots.

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