STAIN IT UP!
Two cans of $50 stain have gone a long way in our front yard!
We have flower beds in our front yard that were overgrown with old plants. So we started by using some elbow grease to rip out a lot of overgrown plants that were not going to work in our vision for this front yard. Check out that post here.
All of the original flower beds and stair steps were built using wood that is still in pretty good shape after 30 years, but oh so badly needed a couple coats of stain to freshen things up.
Here's a before photo:
When picking out a stain for fences and decks, you can get transparent, semi-transparent, or solid stain. We wanted a transparent stain, which has less colouring added enabling you to see a lot more of the character and grain of the wood.
The 'Chocolate' Behr transparent stain had a hint of brown in it that looked great with our exterior paint colour choices so that was the one!
Here's a photo of the stain display that Behr had in the store:
The final result of the stain was much darker than the samples that were in the store, but still looks beautiful.
We used the same stain on our new cedar front fence as we did for the 30 year old pressure-treated stair steps and flower beds so the results varied between the two, but we expected that. Even if we had built the fence out of pressure-treated wood, the new wood on the fence would have taken the stain differently than the aged wood on the flower beds as well. Also, the new pressure-treated wood would have needed 6 months to a year for the wood to dry out before staining it and we simply didn't want to wait that long. A solid stain or paint would have helped to keep a consistent look between the fence and the flower bed, but we really wanted to be able to see the wood gain so we went with the flow on this one and used the same transparent stain on the fence and the flower beds and we're happy with the results.
How did we go about staining the flower bed and fence you ask? We used a palm sander with 240 grit sandpaper, which is very fine and provides a nice smooth result.
I made sure the wood was clean and dry before proceeding to sanding. I moved the palm sander with the grain. I passed over each area only about 2-3 times, unless there was a spot that still looks like it was rough or had splinters, then I gave that area a little more focus.
For example, these spots still had splinters and required further sanding:
Once I was finished sanding, I used a dry paint brush to brush off the wood to remove the dust.
Read through the instructions on your stain can before application - stains are a little fussier than paint in regards to the application temperature and weather conditions. Do not shake the stain can - open the can and stir with the wooden stir sticks that are provided by the paint store. I used a paint brush to apply the stain, as I find the little foam rollers splash the stain around. Apply the stain moving in the same direction as the wood grain. I used cardboard in front of the flower beds to protect the sidewalks from drips. Apply two thin coats of stain to complete the project.
The flower bed:
This was after one coat of stain on the flower bed:
We also stained our front entryway deck. I love how the stain colour on the deck is almost the same colour as the existing front door and really incorporates the door into the overall colour scheme so well. Here's a couple photos of the deck in progress:
And we sanded and stained the post on the corner of the deck as well:
And we stained the new cedar handrail on the patio with the same stain as well:
We ended up using 2 cans of stain to complete 2 coats of finish on the fence, flower beds, front entryway deck, the post in the front entryway, and the handrail on the patio. The total cost was $100. I feel like this is a really great investment, as this $100 did a wonderful job of tying the various aspects of our front yard together and making everything look richer in colour.
And here are the final photos after two coats of stain on the fence, flower beds, front entryway deck, and the post on the deck: