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Dallas Morning News - September 26, 2019

Black is Beautiful - also in the Garden


Some gardeners think that using green paint on metal and plastic items in the garden makes them blend in better and less visible. That's often not true. Most green paint colors don't blend nicely with plant colors and actually stick out worse. There is one exception to that general rule.


In the early 1900's Joe Lambert arrived from Shreveport and, in addition to setting the quality standards for landscaping in Dallas, he created and patented, a unique green-gray paint called Lamberts Green®. Its subtle color blended beautifully with plants and natural settings helping create a soothing feel.


Chainlink before

Chainlink before


Next time you see camouflage attire, you can thank Mr. Lambert, because his paint was the green used by the U.S. government during WWII. This famous shade of "natural" green is still available but you might have to shop around some. It is primarily used on structures or parts of structures to help them recede into the landscape.


On the other hand, sometimes you want fences, utilities poles and boxes, value box covers, pool filters and other metal or plastic stuff in the garden to just vanish. The color that virtually disappears is black.


Chainlink after paint

Chainlink after paint


I use a flat latex black paint because it’s easier to clean up and I like the matte finish. I apply it to chain link fabric with a long-nap masonry roller. I use cheap paintbrushes for posts and various other objects. It’s easy and the effect is kinda amazing. Spray painting is easy but wastes a lot of paint and usually ends up at least partially covering nearby trees, cars, buildings, windows and anyone walking by.


One related story is about is a local contractor planning to paint  a chain link fence by spraying. I advised him that brushing and rolling would be better, using less and not wasting paint. No problem - he had that figured out. He would have a helper hold plywood behind the fence to catch the paint as it came through the fence.


I'll let that just let that sit there for a minute. No comment needed.


Lambert's green on fence

Color chip - Lambert's green


One of the tricks I often use is to make a paint mix that ends up between Lamberts Green and black by mixing just any dark green paint with black paint - 50-50. It appears black in the garden but is just a little subtler. So - whether it's Lamberts Green, dark green mixed with black or just flat black, paint the silver, gray and white fences, utilities, value box covers, etc. with a darker color. The items will blend into the landscape and create a much more pleasant environment. If you can buy black stuff to begin with, that's a good plan too, but try to avoid the vinyl coated fences and utilities even if they are black. They don't hold up well in the sun and heat.


Drain and valve covers - painted

Inexpensive think look classy with paint




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