Our boundary fences have silvered beautifully since they were put up a few years ago.
Sadly, however, unless we want them to deteriorate structurally as their colour fades, it is necessary to protect the wood – something we really should have done when it was new, but somehow never quite got around to.
As another winter staggered into spring, we finally decided that we must apply protection to the fences, and began the surprisingly harrowing process of trying to choose a colour. Given the lovely range of pleasing colours that natural woods boast, I was confounded that of all of the dozens of stains available in the usual DIY outlets, they were all brash and rather outlandish shades of russet red, bright orange-yellow or almost black. There was an even wider choice of colours available if we wanted to stray from these ‘natural’ colours, but while they held some lovely choices, none would be suitable for our rural location adjacent to farmland.
A greater surprise for me was how hard it was to find a real example of these product colours other than the illustrated panel on the tins themselves. With no test-patches in stores or real-life pictures available online, it was impossible to know what we were buying. We made an abortive attempt with a tin labelled Acorn Brown, whose lurid orange-brown on the test piece of wood was nothing like either the gentle square depicted on the tin, or indeed any acorn I’ve ever seen. We were rather dejected at the whole thing, with the weeks continuing to fly past, when Wellywoman helpfully directed me to the protective stains sold by the Green Shop.
What a relief it was to find a protective fence and garden stain, available in two shades that were a far cry away from the day-glo colours elsewhere; even better, using the protective properties of the woad plant rather than biosynthetic ingredients. We selected the ‘Garden Green’ variant, thinking that a greenish tinge would settle in well to our rural environment, and a few weekends ago I set to work on the long stretch of fence separating us from our neighbour – somewhat later in the year than we’d originally hoped, but still optimistic.
The stain was a thin dark oily green in the tin, looking more like the contents of the brush jar after a heavy watercolour session; though as I applied it to our fence, the wood became richer in tone without turning overtly green. We did not achieve the coverage that the tin claimed; partly due to the extra surface area created by the exposed edge of each slat in our overlap fence, and also the rough nature of the wood, but otherwise it went on smoothly, and the brush easily washed afterwards in warm water, with no clinging film left.
We’re thrilled at the result so far, although I still have quite a stretch of this fence to complete, not to mention the post and rail fence that runs across the front of our garden and down the other side. The wood that I have painted looks healthy and natural, and continues to blend well into the landscape. I just have to do battle with the long border to complete this section without trampling too many plants, as the border is still filling out more each day.
I have no link with this product, or indeed its manufacturers or suppliers, but after such a battle to find something suitable for us I thought it was worth sharing, in case anybody else is struggling to find a more subtle product to protect garden wood than those most commonly available.