Decoration, Garden Design, George, How To

Can You Put Mirrors Outside

Taking the indoors outdoors is a long running trend, and many of us are constantly looking for fresh ideas to make their outside space more homely. From garden furniture to outdoor lighting and cooking, transforming your patio into an open air room is great for socialising and relaxing in comfort. A question we’re often asked is: Can you put mirrors outside? The answer – of course you can!

But what’s important is obviously how the chosen mirrors will fair in the conditions outdoors. If you take regular mirrors out, they will generally weather and stain over time. You can, however, buy a range of specially made garden mirrors which are weatherproofed to survive the wind and rain.

The next question is why would you want to put up mirrors in your garden? Particularly for smaller gardens, mirrors reflect back so much light and space it can make them seem much larger, brighter and airier. Besides that, there are so many ornate and decorative mirrors that simply enhance your garden by being there on a fence or wall.

Acrylic Sheet MirrorsSheet mirrors

The simplest form of outdoor mirror is the acrylic sheet, similar to what you might see in a gym or dance studio. These are much stronger and more durable than glass, and can often be cut to the perfect size or shape for the spot you desire. Coloured versions are also available if you want to jazz up a corner of your patio.

 

Illusion mirrorsGate Illusion Mirror

Of course, a garden mirror can be a purely decorative feature. Some of the most intriguing are illusion mirrors. These are cleverly designed to look like slightly ajar windows or gates, with the mirrored surface behind appearing to lead to another part of the plot. You’ll find these more effective than you’d imagine once in place, with the glimpse of an unreachable garden opening up your outdoor space.

Which material is best for outdoors?

Garden mirrors can be made from either glass or acrylic. Traditionally mirrors are made from glass, which is a very hard material and resistant to minor scratches – useful when exposed to the weather and wildlife outside! But acrylic can actually produce mirrors that are 10 times stronger than glass, making them much more shatterproof. They are also a lot lighter, so perfect for attaching to fences without straining them. Acrylic mirrors can be glued or screwed to a flat surface, and it’s often possible to cut them to any desired size or shape yourself.

So what are you waiting for?

The great thing about outdoor mirrors is how flexibly you can use them. A small arched mirror could be a subtle reflector on the fence, brightening up a corner patio, while a dramatic illusion gate could become the talking point of your garden. We’d love to see how you’ve used mirrors outside in inspiring ways!

Read our follow up article: Are Garden Mirrors Safe?

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Garden Design, Garden Screening, George, How To, Sail Shades

If you live in a city or terraced house, you know how difficult it can be to relax in your garden without the feeling you’re being overlooked by neighbouring windows or passers by. With summer fast approaching, now’s the time to prepare your outdoor space so that you can make the most of it without the fear of prying eyes. We’ve put together a list of garden privacy ideas that you can easily try out at home to stop your garden being overlooked – without compromising on the natural aesthetics and your outdoor designs.

Garden Privacy Screen

1. Garden privacy screens

Garden screening is a simple, quick and attractive way to shield off part of your garden. It’s great for terraced houses with low fences or wire dividers between gardens. Choose the type of screening that suits your taste – bamboo, willow or artificial to name a few – and attach it to an existing fence or trellis for a privacy boost. Creating a beautiful enclosed area to relax in has never been so easy!

 

 2. Hanging sail shadesSail Shade

Of course, often you won’t be exposed necessarily by the fences in your garden, but by overlooking windows from the houses next door. This is especially common in city streets, where the houses are packed so tightly together that it’s hard to find somewhere to sit in your garden where you don’t feel watched. Hoisting up a sail shade or two over you patio is an ingenious solution. The best part is you can easily just put them up for the summer months, when you want to sit outside under a little shelter from the sun – and any prying eyes.

 

Living Wall

3. Living wall

It’s a classic solution but one of the best: put up a border of trellis and allow some climbing plants to grow up it. This will create an attractive, organic barrier between you and any gaps where people can peep through into your garden. If you’re overlooked by any upstairs windows, then combining the trellis with a pergola over your patio, decking or seating area will give you a perfect private enclave once the plants have grown across. Clematis or ivy are good climbing vines to choose.

 

Hedge

4. Privacy planting

If you need a free standing barrier to shield off part of your patio, try making a wall out of tall planters. Choose any such pots in the style you like and fill them with big plants or trees for maximum shelter. Growing your own screening is another age old solution to the problem of being overlooked. Add height to your fences with an additional border of fast growing hedges like the evergreen yew. Or for an alternative that lets in a bit more light, plant some bamboo. Of course, bamboo can often spread out of control but clumping varieties are known for being more contained, or just plant the bamboo in containers.

 

Water Feature

5. Sound barriers

In the modern age of urban living, we are often so crammed that when you’re outside in the garden you end up hearing every word from your neighbours – and knowing they can hear you too. A great way to create some psychological shelter is by using a water fountain or two so the sound of their running water will mask your conversation as well as the noises from next door.

Let us know if you have any more suggestions for making your garden more private and we hope you find these tips helpful!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Callum, Garden Design, Gardening Year, How To, Planting, Ponds

Daffodils 2

Lawn

Britain’s climate allows us to grow the very best grass in the world so wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t make the most of this wonderful opportunity? Start by removing all the dead leaves, sticks and any other unwanted debris to give your lawn a chance to breathe. Then it’s time to get your rake out, dethatch the lawn and remove all the dead roots and grasses.This process will clear the way for watering, mowing and planting seeds. For larger areas you can seek a scarifier with a motor. The debris will still have to be raked up and removed. Now if you want your lawn to have the best drainage system then a good old fashioned forking wouldn’t go amiss. Simply push the fork into the lawn every 12 centimetres and wiggle it around to break the soil and reduce the compaction.

Lawn

Alternatively, if forking isn’t for you, an aerator can be used instead. This is a very simple tool that pushes into the lawn like a fork and will remove small plugs of soil which can then have lawn sand brushed into them. Your final step is to add lawn feed and place seeds wherever there are bare patches. I’m sure it goes without saying but it is vital you stay off your lawn as much as possible until your lawn has finished its growth period to give your grass the best chance to prosper.

Soil

Sadly your soil just isn’t the same as it was a half a year ago. Months of rain and numbing temperatures will inevitably take their toll. Now you’ll need to really show your ruthless characteristics at the start of this process. Give your beds a thorough cleaning, remove everything except for perennial plants. This will make it easier to maintain your soil and help you to determine what to plant this year.

Soil

The next step is to test your soil. Get a baseline of your soil’s PH by using a testing kit. Test several places in your garden as results can differ across different areas. The ideal P.H is between 6-6.5, if it’s below that then your plants will have a hard time absorbing nutrients. If the P.H is below the magical 6.5, then add some garden lime and use according to the packaging directions. It is unlikely it will be above this, but if it is then add some pure sufler to these alkaline areas or alternatively you can just plant alkaline loving flowers. Finally add an inch or 2 of compost, either homemade or purchased. I would recommend commercial compost as it has a finer texture than homemade, and then simply rake over the surface of soil to even it out across your bed.

Pond

Ponds provide a beautiful sense of sound, movement and reflection in the summer months which many of us like to exhibit to our close friends and families. If you ignore your pond however, then the urge to boast this potentially beautiful spectacle might disappear and regret will sink in. Now (unfortunately for some) it’s time to clean your pond and work that elbow grease. If your pond is murky with no sign of life, start by giving it a good clean. Bail out the water with a bucket and remove any plants, standing them in bowls of water in a shady spot. Scrape the sludge off the bottom of the pond with a spade, being careful not to damage the liner, then scrub the sides and floor with a stiff brush.

I would then recommend supplying yourself with a pond vacuum. This neat mechanism attaches to your hose. The water pressure creates a vacuum venturi effect which sucks up any dirt and debris, collecting in a reusable bag allowing the clean water to pass through. The brush attachment then has special rollers which glide easily over the pond bottom, gently removing the dirt whilst protecting pondlife and fish.

Pond

By following all of these steps your garden should have all the essentials to produce the frameworks for an aesthetically pleasing garden ready to show off to all your fellow friends and family. Happy gardening everyone!

 

Callum is currently on his placement year here at Primrose with his parents being huge garden enthusiasts.Callum

In the time he has free from his parents rambling on about the garden, he is being a typical university student experiencing life to the full and supporting his beloved Reading FC.

See all of Callum’s posts.

Garden Design, Garden Edging, Gardening, George, How To

Crisp, precise borders can really take your garden design to the next level. They’re tricky to get right and maintain by hand, which is where plastic or metal edging strips can be incredibly useful. It’s crucial to put your edging in properly to ensure turf borders resist erosion and your flowerbeds are free from weed and grass roots for many years to come. So we’ve put together a guide for how to install lawn edging in simple, clear steps.

How to Install Lawn Edging

1. Plan

Mark out the border that you want to edge – whether for a new flowerbed or to smarten up an old one. Measure it to work out what length of edging you’ll need to buy.

2. Dig a trench

For standard size in ground edging, you’ll need to dig a trough about six inches deep along the entire border. A regular trowel or spade should suffice for moist soil, but if the earth is dry then you may need a specialist border tool. You want sharp cuts without the dirt crumbling away from the turf.

3. Lay the edging into place

As rolled up, the strip should curve away from the lawn side of the trench. If there is a V-shaped lip at the base of the edging, this needs to be on the flowerbed side. Use a utility or serrated knife to cut the strip to size. If you are joining multiple strips, make sure each connector is evenly distributed in both pieces of edging, rather than being pushed into one during the connection. The strip should sit in the trench with only the very top visible. When it is set, this will be enough to prevent grass and weed roots crossing into the flowerbed, but not so high that it will get caught on your lawn mower. It will be obscured when the grass grows longer.

4. Pull down the soil

Use your hands to shift loose soil up against the edging from the bed side. The edging may not sit flat against all the curves in your lawn. Pull down more soil and stomp it into the edging with your feet to make sure it is held firmly in place to the turf.

Lawn Edging Pins

5. Hammer in the stakes

Starting three inches from the end of the strip, hammer the stakes into the edging from the flowerbed side. Make sure they are as close to a 90 degree angle to the edging as possible. This is to make sure they’re stable – if you pound the stakes straight down then the frost will eventually heave them upwards. You may need to scrape away some of soil to get the hammer and stakes in. Place the stakes every seven inches along the strip. If there are connections then also put them three inches on each side of the join.

6. Compact the soil

Push and stomp soil on the flowerbed side up ⅔ the height of the edging strip. Fill in any gaps on the lawn side with a bit of soil – eventually new grass should grow the cover these. Water the soil on both sides to compact it even more. Finally, top up with earth so that both sides are flat and level.

Hopefully this guide to using garden edging makes things clear. If you have any trouble, please get in touch.

Browse our range of lawn edging or get inspired by some lawn edging ideas.

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

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