If you've ever painted a room inside your home, you'll already be familiar with using plastic sheeting. These large pieces of plastic sheeting are invaluable for protecting your furniture and flooring from any paint that might escape from your brush before it's applied to the wall. When painting outside, you might think that you won't need to place any kind of protection down before you get started. This is not the case. Plastic sheeting can be extremely helpful when painting outside as well as inside (because you might not necessarily want to recolour your plants). Here's what you need to know.
Wooden Decking and Paved Areas
Any outdoor furniture should be moved out of harm's way. Your potted plants should also be moved away from the area where you're painting. Apply plastic sheeting over any wooden decking or paved areas. Treat these areas just as you would the floors inside your home. While you could waterblast any paint off these outside areas, this is an added hassle. Taping the sheeting into place will not be feasible when using it outside, and it's generally easier to weigh the sheeting down with bricks or rocks. Be mindful of these tripping hazards while you paint.
If there's a danger of paint dripping onto your lawn, you should also lay plastic sheeting over the grass in the splash zone. This is arguably less of an issue since you could wash any paint away with your garden hose. But this should be avoided if possible, since that paint could then run into your local stormwater system, and it won't be good for the grass either.
Plants and Trees
Plastic sheeting can be loosely wrapped around small shrubs and held in place with twine. Be careful not to smother the plants since the painting job might take longer than you planned, and the plants will need to remain under that plastic until you're finished. Are there any larger trees that could be splashed with paint? Simply wrap plastic sheeting around the trunk and any prominent branches of these trees to protect them. A little bit of paint is unlikely to harm an established tree, and yet a paint splash can certainly be unsightly.
If you intend to use this plastic sheeting again for a future paint job, remember that it has been used on the ground. So please make sure that you shake the plastic sheeting thoroughly to remove any dirt before you put it into storage.