Feeling like Elmer Fudd – PVC to the rescue

26 03 2012

I was walking through the yard the other week, admiring the plants in our winter yard, when I noticed something unusual with my blueberry bushes. Did somebody prune them?  I saw all buds below 1 foot were cut off! Then I remembered the rabbit… The fat, nasty rodent was smirking at me that very morning. Have you ever wanted to kill over a bowl or two of tasty berries? I sure did.

Well, I could have gone the Wild West / Loony Tunes route and brought out the shotgun. But I am out of ammo– and the neighbors in the closely spaced lots won’t appreciate gunfire in their back yards.

What to do? What to do? Well, until I find a way to “send bunny on a trip”, I had to stop the damage. My half-assed bird netting from last year needed an upgrade. I got a great roll of new netting, but I needed a frame to put the netting on. Let’s go with cheap. How about using PVC? Yes, that works, but it’s butt-ugly. White plastic ducts look fine in a lab, not so much in a back yard.

But how do you make PVC not look like PVC? Apparently in most cases you don’t. It’s made to look like crap, so deal with it. At least that was the early information I had. But I have a top notch research team, and they suggested making it look like wood.

(Actually not wood, more like what wood looks like in PVC Land.)  I thought what could it hurt to try?

PVC- dark wood stain

pvc heavily sanded and soaked in stain almost looks like wood

I found one link with the suggestion to use wood stain to color the pipe. Brilliant! The only drawback is the hours of sanding required if you do not have a power sander. Dave does not have a power sander. I had nothing else to do on a particular Saturday, so I had at the PVC with 60-grit coarse sandpaper. I followed up with a light coat of stain on one set of pipes. I came close to dunking the other sets in the stain. Results are in the pictures left and below. I can say that it does look like wood from a distance, and it doesn’t look too bad up close. A few zip ties and the netting was looking sharp.

PVC- normal staining process

PVC doesn't soak up the stain. It looks much lighter if you try to stain it like it is wood

There are other ways to decorate PVC for a garden-friendly appearance. Many techniques require the use of primer, which surprisingly is located near the PVC aisle at your local big box home improvement store. One coating of this and you should be ready to paint with your favorite earth tones (or your favorite lawn elf colors, if you’re into that thing). Alternatively, some people have had luck with the spray paint for plastic I will let you know what happens when I try them. And I will let you know whether I can take Mr Rabbit on a long trip…

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