Jazz up your outdoor space with a homemade piece of wall art, says Justin Newcombe.

During spring I embarked on a deck and screen project that has proven to be a great hit with all the family. The area has remained peculiarly uncluttered and I've actually enjoyed looking out on the quite minimal, linear view.

But I found that I wanted to add something else, another element, just to galvanise my interest. I wanted to maintain the horizontal lines I established with the continuous screen and I didn't want to take up any deck space, so pot plants were out.

I've added a simple table to the deck and wanted to give the whole space an outside room feel, so I decided to make a piece of wall art.

I use the term "art" loosely, of course; there is no advancement of the human condition here, no challenge to the status quo and nothing approaching the cerebral Olympics I find so stimulating in our more avant-garde galleries.


Without wanting to sound like an art ponce, I've added a piece of wall decoration rather than wall art.

The idea is simple enough. I used a whole lot of small off-cuts left over from the year and a handy a 2.4m, 300mm wide length of tantalised ply I also had left.

I cut all the off-cuts and scraps into 300mm lengths, painted them a bright colour and glued them on to the ply.

Once it dried I hung the whole thing above the table, where I can see it through the doors.

It might not be everybody's cup of tea but if you choose your colours to suit, you'll find this is a versatile and easy-to-achieve project.

Just the thing to brighten up an uninteresting corner in your courtyard this summer.

Step 1: Cut and prepare the strips and off-cuts. They can be all different widths but should be the same length. Shorter lengths can also be used and joined with pieces of the same thickness.

Step 2: Choose a colour palette and accent colour. The basic colour palette will be mixed, so each piece will gradually change tone and hue as you move from piece to piece. The pieces will then be mixed up and rearranged to create a random but cohesive panel.

The accent colour is usually a much stronger colour. which provides some negative space and helps the panel avoid a banal flat look.

The accent colour should be used sparingly but adds a dynamic element to the basic colour palette.

Step 3: Glue each piece on to the plywood using liquid nails. I used the stronger Floors and Decks liquid nails just to be on the safe side that the pieces wouldn't slide off when I hung the art.

Make sure the ply is flat - use quick-grip clamps to hold it down if necessary.

Step 4: Once each piece has dried, move the panel carefully into place. Attach the panel to the fence, making sure to use strong fixings. I used 100mm batten screws, which are galvanised.