Painting a Mural Outside is an Awesome Project!

Now don’t just paint a mural anywhere outside, choose your spot judiciously so that it looks like it was meant to be there!

mural1My favorite painting partner, Matt, and I have painted nearly everything you could possibly paint in our 20 years of working together.  Everything from furniture to fabrics, walls, floors, window coverings, and exteriors have received at least a coat of solid color paint.  However, as we all know, when you can be extra creative and use more than one color, or paint a real landscape, even a fun clown or hot air balloon on a child’s wall, that’s when painting can actually be called “fun”!


One of the projects I remember with great fondness was a single exterior wall on a back patio that was part of an entire entertainment area.  The home was in Florida, and the patio had a screened in pool and several different covered areas to escape the midday sun.  The area we were working on was a small snack bar with a large window to the kitchen so treats could easily be handed outside and arranged on the built in bar.  The house was painted white, on a stucco surface, and even though the patio was full of tropical plants and flowers, the plain white was….well…plain.

During one of our shopping trips for accessories and do-dads to add to the space, we came across a lovely patterned napkin and place mat set.  The design was in irregular blocks, with bits of interesting geometric borders here and there.  And, in some of the blocks, a simple fruit or leaf design was stamped.  The colors were fresh and warm and we were so pleased with the spark of color they gave to the dining area of the patio.

Of course, Matt and I tend to go one step beyond normal, and I think we both had this idea at the same time.  Wouldn’t it be great to paint a similar design on just one wall of the exterior?  Maybe the window wall in the snack bar area would be an option?  Surprisingly, our homeowners were willing to give it a try.


So, Matt and I rushed out to the paint store with place mat in hand to start matching paint colors up to the design.  There were seven colors plus white on the place mat, and we matched each one easily and had quarts made in exterior latex satin paint.

Then, as you know, with most great teams, each person has their particular strengths, and mine was in the drawing.  So, when we arrived back at the house, I got started with a long level and a carpenter’s pencil and drew in the background of rectangles, borders and blocks of color.  As I was moving across the wall, Matt started filling in the blocks with the colors I had chosen.  The selection and placement of the colors was easier than developing an original design, because I used the place mat as a guide.  And why not?  A designer or artist had created a design of patterns and colors that was very attractive to all of us, so why change a thing?  Of course, because of the shape of the wall and the window and bar right in the middle, there had to be some alterations.


Once I was finished with the drawing, I stepped back and took a look at the developing design.  As soon as some of the blocks that Matt had painted were dry, I started drawing in the pear or leaf or cherries that would adorn certain spaces.  The selection of color allowed for some highlights or shadows on the pictures to give them a little depth. And, the use of white in the borders really helped tie the design to rest of the white on the house.


To even further tie the mural into the house, we chose one of the strong oranges to paint a flat part of the eaves all the way around the patio. The soffit in the dining area received a collection of border designs butted together to create a bordered effect that was visible from inside the house and just beckoned you to come out for further investigation.


When the job was complete, we presented it to our homeowner’s, and they were thrilled.  Since we’ve heard stories that golfer’s that pass by, (the home is on a golf course as well) will yell over their pleasure at the fun and colorful mural.

So the next time you’re interested in adding some décor to the outside of your home, consider more than just a flag or a fountain.  Try painting a mural in an appropriate spot.  Who says your outside walls have to be monochromatic?  Certainly not Matt and me!!



  1. dixie says

    I have a question… I have been asked to paint a mural on a stucco wall entrance. What should I use to draw out the design with? Crayon, pencil, or chalk before I apply paint?

    • Shari Hiller says

      Hi Dixie, when we painted the mural on stucco I used a pencil. I had a big eraser with me so I could change lines if I needed to and I didn’t draw too dark at all. Also, I was cognizant of the pencil lines and made sure to cover them with the darkest color paint from either side of the line. Living in Florida I have see quite a few mural painted on stucco walls, and sometimes I can see the pencil lines and they really don’t bother me. It lets me know this was done by an artist and I find it interesting seeing where they started! Good luck on your mural!

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