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Variant Techniques and Ideas for an Outdoor Art

People were decorating walls of their houses from the times they lived in caves. Very many beautiful decorative techniques came to us through the centuries:  from classic old style frescos, to stone and glass mosaic, sgraffito and colored concretes, stained glass and metal decor.

Technologies changed the way our world works now, new modern materials appear on the market almost everyday, but techniques of an outdoor wall art stayed the same.


Wall murals are the most popular and is one of the best ways to decorate a single wall or whole building. This technique of the outdoor wall decorations offers you the widest range of possibilities with the minimal budget. Depending on a climate and wall condition murals can last for a very long time, as ancient frescos. The amazing 3d imitations: ‘trick of the eye’, huge whales, astonishing landscapes in the middle of a city concrete jungles: all this is possible with the mural art.

Pros: can be done anywhere, inexpensive, eye-catching, endless styles and varieties

Cons: none, if done properly


Mosaic is one of the best technique for a large wall art. It’s very durable and can last for ages if made properly. Mosaic wall decorations are very eye-catching. Smalt (colored glass) mosaics are very bright in colors, they are perfect for kids playgrounds, in schools as a wall art. Mosaics that are made from natural stone have a very subtle exquisite look, delicate color palette and rich texture. Any type of mosaics can be used as on a flat wall or cover reliefs and sculptures.

Pros: never fading, durable, gorgeous

Cons: expensive to produce,  labor intensive

Metal Outdoor Wall Decor

Wall decorations made from metal are quite often used as an outdoor wall art. Such decor is very long-lasting and durable, doesn’t require much maintenance, only painting it to protect from rust or polishing if the stainless steel  is used. Very often, metal is combined with mosaic, stained-glass or covered with enamel in the outdoor decor. Commonly metal decor serves the role of protection: wrought iron window grilles and gates.

Pros: durable and long-lasting, sturdy

Cons: heavy, expensive to make

Relief in Exterior Wall Decorations

Relief is a great way to enhance and decorate the outdoor wall. It can be made of concrete, cement or ceramic. Concrete reliefs are often made straight on the final wall by applying the layer, carving and shaping the design while the concrete is still wet. Ceramic relief decorations are made in studios to fire the ceramic and enamel, and then installed on the wall piece by piece. Very often, relief is combined with other decorative techniques like mosaic, mural, and sgraffito.

Pros: durable and long-lasting, sturdy

Cons: heavy (not every wall can bear the weight), labor intensive


Sgraffito (Italian: “scratched”), is a wall decoration technique produced by applying up to five layers of plaster tinted in different contrasting colors and then scratching the upper layers off, while it is still wet, to produce an outline drawing by emerging the color of the lower layer. Wall decorations using sgraffito method have muted colors, usually black and white with shades of gray, very graphic and decorative look. Though it is very old technique, but due to it’s unique capabilities and beautiful relief surface sgraffito is coming back into the modern world of wall decoration techniques.

Pros: durable and sturdy, unique classi look

Cons: limited color varieties, labor intensive

Wall Decor with Color Concretes

One of the least known and forgotten techniques of an outdoor wall decoration is the use of color concretes. It is often confused with sgraffito, but the technology of its application is completely different: the image is made of concrete tinted in different colors instead of paint. There are two variations of this techniques: “opposite” and straight application. In the first case the image is “painted” with colored concretes on the glass, then the color layer is covered with usual concrete. After drying glass is removed and blocks of the image made of concrete installed together on the final wall. In the case of straight application, watery concrete is used instead of paint on blocks of usual concrete. After drying blocks being installed on the wall. The difference between two techniques is that in the first case the “mural” is glass smooth (first images) and in another case it has a relief (sometimes up to 6 inches – as you can see on the second image of wall decoration).

Pros: unusual look, bright colors (compare to sgraffito).

Cons: not as strong as other techniques, hard to find artist who knows the technology