3 chic, clever outdoor hacks to make your entrance gorgeous

DIY expert Tara Dennis creates a welcome home with three easy outdoor projects
Chris Warnes

DIY supremo and style-savvy renovator Tara Dennis reveals the elegant handmade touches outside her riverside home – and shows you how to steal the look. Here, she creates a smart doormat, shows you how to give plain pots a rustic finish and makes some pretty pot markers.

Welcome home (Credit: Chris Warnes)

Project 1: Welcome mat

You will need:

• Large natural fibre doormat

• Printed design or house number

• Cardboard

• Craft knife

• Cutting mat

• Tape

• Stiff bristled paintbrush

• Exterior paint in black


Use a stencil for a neat finish (Credit: Chris Warnes)

1. Search the internet for a font and design you like for your house number and print out, according to the size of your mat. Alternatively, try The Stencil Gallery (stencilgallery.com.au) for a store-bought option and go to Step 3.

2. Trace your design on to cardboard and using the craft knife, cut design out entirely to create a stencil. 

3. Place stencil on mat and tape down. Gently apply the paint with brush in a dabbing motion.

4. Remove stencil when dry.

“While there are plenty of lovely door mats around, personalising your own really makes a statement”

Give plain pots a chic finish (Credit: Chris Warnes)

Project 2: Lime-washed pots

You will need:

• Terracotta pots

• Garden lime

• Artist’s acrylic paint in white

• Paintbrush

• Sandpaper, if required



1. Mix a little water and white paint with the dry lime. (Available from the gardening section at hardware stores). It should feel like wet sand.

2. Using brush, apply lime wash around pot, dabbing here and there to create a slightly patchy effect.

3. Once pot is dry, either leave textured or, for a smoother finish, use fine sandpaper to lightly rub over and remove the excess lime.

“I use this easy lime wash finish on terracotta pots to speed up the ‘ageing’ process and make them look as though they’ve been in a garden by the sea for years”

Create pretty pot labels (Credit: Chris Warnes)

Project 3: Pot markers

You will need:

• Polymer clay (we used Sculpey, available from craft stores)

• Rubber letter stamps

• Rolling pin



1. Soften the clay, and then roll and mould into lengths of about 15cm each.

2. Using letter stamps, imprint herb names by stamping on clay.

3. Cover oven tray with baking paper and bake markers, according to pack instructions. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

Pop into pots, stand back and admire! (Credit: Chris Warnes)

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