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Protecting & painting timber Planters

Thorndown Wood Paint_750mlMaintaining Timber Planters

Timber planters can last a lifetime if they’re looked after and maintained.
When they’re new it’s best to paint them externally with a good quality wood paint like Thorndown and line them internally, making sure that the soil doesn’t come into contact with the wood. Old plastic compost bags make great liners as they’re durable and are a great way of re-using un-recyclable plastic rather than sending it to landfill.
We recommend applying two coats of wood paint for full exterior protection. A third coat on horizontal planes will make it last longer as a thicker coating takes longer to wear down.
Thorndown Wood Paint comes in 72 colours and a UV Clear, and over 1800 RAL Classic and Design colours making it quite easy to match to old colour coatings.

Thorndown wood paint coatings can last up to 8 years, depending on the levels of wear and tear and exposure. Horizontal surfaces wear a lot quicker as rain pounds down and sits on the coating. If water freezes it can also accelerate erosion of the coating.

When it’s time to carry out maintenance, the first thing to do is clean the old coating. I had two Hutton timber planters that were a bit neglected and overdue some maintenance.


Wash down the old coating with soapy water. A scrubbing brush may be required for very dirty areas and sometimes a bleach solution is required to get rid of algae. I used a pressure washer to blast off the old dirt and algae that had formed on the old oil-based paint coatings.

We then used a power sander to get rid of some stubborn algae and loose old coating. The planters were then left to dry thoroughly before painting.

Hexagonal Planter

This planter was in a bit of a state as the feet hadn’t been painted and it hadn’t been lined, so soil was in direct contact with a lot of the wood, causing rot to set in. Although it was quite beaten up the construction was sound and most of the wood solid, so it still had some life left in it.

I took it inside the house so I could paint it without having to worry about rain. Normally for maintenance you only need one coat but in this case I applied two coats to protect the areas of rot and the sections that had been stripped back to bare wood.

After each coat I went on ‘drip patrol’ to tidy up any runs. As this planter had lots of sections and joins, and I slapped on a lot of paint, drips were a lot easier to occur. A 150ml tin was all that was needed for two coats.

Rectangular Planter

The coating on this planter was quite sound so it just needed the one coat. I raised the planter up on stones so I could get to the bottom more easily and painted it in situ as climbers in the top were well established and entwined in trellis.

One coat took less than a 150ml tin and both planters were painted in Bergamot Grey to contrast nicely with the Anthracite Grey on the decking and Zinc Grey on the trellis panels.

A cheap, quick and easy job to carry out that transformed the planters back to beauties.

Tutorial Videos

We have put together a couple of tutorial videos showing you how we carried out maintenance on the old small hexagonal planter and the large rectangular planter.


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