Guest Posts, How To, Outdoor Living

Building The Ultimate Back Garden Bar

What’s not to love about a back garden bar? Think about it: you save money on a trip to the pub; the only punters are invited guests, and you decide when it’s last orders.

Ready to get building? Follow these steps to construct your own secluded socialising spot, and don’t be surprised when your garden is the place to be this summer!

  1. Choose your theme
  2. Choose your materials
  3. Set up your seating
  4. Consider cover
  5. Get the grill
  6. Keep it cosy

Choose your theme

Mexico Tiki Bar

Everyone’s favourite bar has a theme; why should your bar be any exception?

Maybe you’ll opt to build a tiki bar. According to Little Lovelies, that’s an “exotic-themed drinking establishment used to serve drinks like rum and cocktails.” Sounds good to us! Or maybe you’d prefer something more traditional. You could easily recreate the experience of going down your local in your own back garden.

The options are endless when it comes to a theme for your back garden bar. Why not consider a retro vibe, a nod to the nautical, or a straight-up sports bar?

Choose your materials

Wooden wall, or maybe a floor

Now you know your theme, it’s much easier to choose your materials. For example, wood and thatch combined create a very convincing tiki effect. Stone might be the right material for a homely pub vibe, and metal has a modern, industrial aesthetic that’s ideal for anyone who wants to emulate the look of a hip craft beer brewery.

Be careful! You may need planning permission for building your bar, according to S Jones, though it really depends on the materials you use. If you choose to convert a shipping container for a back garden bar, which would function as a real escape from the elements, you should check with your local authority first.

Set up your seating

Primrose Living Bistro Set

There are many seating options to choose from; it’s all about your personal preferences and what’s best for your particular bar. Do you dream of romantic nights spent under the stars with a delicious drink and your loved one? A bistro set provides an intimate seating arrangement that might work well for you.

Maybe your bar is a place for all the family to relax. In that case, you may wish to explore garden sofa sets: they accommodate the whole family in comfort! Of course, for an authentic bar atmosphere, you could always invest in some bar stools. They’re perfect for your pals to perch on as they sip their pints.

Consider cover

Green triangle shade sail over a deck

As we all know, British weather can be unpredictable. That’s why it’s a smart idea to consider some coverage for your garden bar. You might consider a permanent roof; for example, Bushbury Cladding recommends a metal structure that allows you to socialise outdoors whatever the weather. If that’s a little too industrial for your taste, consider an elegant wooden gazebo instead.

Your roof doesn’t have to be permanent, though. You could always have a party gazebo in storage, ready to be assembled at the first sighting of a grey cloud. Sail shades are also an option: they provide shelter from the sun’s harsh rays as well as the rain.

Get the grill

Pizza Oven and barbecue

What’s a beer without a burger? When entertaining family and friends at your new back garden bar, you’ll want to offer them something to eat. A masonry barbecue isn’t just practical; it’s also pretty – you can make it a real focal point of your outdoor set-up. Portable barbecues are another good option if you’d rather store your grill elsewhere when it’s not in use.

Remember, these days, al fresco dining isn’t limited to meat on the grill. Your guests are sure to be impressed when your bar serves freshly made pizzas baked in your own wood burning pizza oven.  The only problem is that they might never want to leave…

Keep it cosy

Firepit surrounded by Hadleigh furniture

Even long, hot summer days can get pretty chilly at night. That’s why you might choose to invest in outdoor heating for your back garden bar. That way, a drop in temperature won’t be able to stop your fun! It could be good to end your evenings gathered around a firepit – a perfect place to share jokes and tell stories. Alternatively, you might copy the very best beer gardens by installing some electric patio heaters around your place.

By following these steps, you can build an amazing back garden bar that perfectly suits your needs and reflects your style. All that’s left to do is invite your loved ones over and make a million happy memories there. We’ll leave that part up to you!

By Olivia Wood, an Avid Book worm and social bean whose best decision in life was building a bar in her back garden!

Tiki photo by Ellen Auer on Unsplash
Wood photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash
Header photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash  

Fathers' Day, Gardening, Pest Advice, Stuart

Dad’s Top Gardening Tips

It’s Father’s Day, we’re a gardening specialist, so naturally we’re going to do a blog post about Dad’s best gardening tips.

We’ve reached out to our Instagram followers, we’ve reached out to our colleagues, and now we’ve collected our Primrose community’s fathers’ tips right here so you can learn something new – or want to find out who in our team had fathers with sadistic gardening styles.

Don’t poison slugs – prep them for predators

A Slug
Uh-oh

If you find you’re collecting slugs on your plants, don’t poison them or salt them – put them in a copper tape or wool pellet pen and let the birds and hedgehogs go crazy for them. It’s a bug buffet!

Plant 3 runner beans per cane

Runner beans

This one comes from @allotment_in_the_shire  with a touch of folksy wisdom. One’s for you, one’s for the slugs (or the bug buffet), and one’s for adverse weather. It’s like saving for a rainy day, except with beans instead of rubbish pennies.

Patience, patience and plenty of watering

Ornate clock in the garden
Patience-reminding ornate clocks optional

Even though it’s father’s day making this handle a bit off-brand, this tip came from @allmumstalk . Patience is a virtue, and that’s as true in the garden as it is when one of the kids drops a brick on your foot. Gardening is done on the plants’ time rather than yours, but they still need your attention – don’t let them dry out!

 Always garden with a beer in hand

Garden beer
As if he isn’t drinking straight from the bottle

It’s a little bit stereotypical, but what are dads for if not being totally predictable and unpredictable in equal measure. Socka, sandals, a brazen disregard for the possibilities of skin cancer, and a beer in hand – gardening glory. Bonus points if you also fall asleep in your chair while doing this, then afterwards claim you weren’t asleep.

From the same dad, ‘plant lots of purple plants to attract bees’. One of these tips is much more useful than the other, but the beer thing’s more eye-catching.

Don’t touch that thorny rose

Someone holding a rose
“What did I *just* say? Go wash your hands.”

The other half of the tip, ‘I can’t have blood on my plants’, might be situation-specific, but the importance of avoiding rose-based sepsis can’t be understated. Pre-Alexander Fleming that kind of thing could spell the end of your [gardening] days, but you should still take care around spiky things to save a trip to the doc’s. Thanks for the pearl of wisdom Dad.

Slug Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash
Garden clock photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
Garden beer photo by Jon Parry on Unsplash
Rose photo by Meghan Schiereck on Unsplash

Events, Stuart

Virtual Cocktail Making with Kocktail and Primrose

Kocktail‘s mission is to bring fresh cocktails to our homes, ideal for these covid times where we’re kept from/wary of socialising at the bar. It’s a mission we at Primrose could get behind, and one we thought tied in nicely with our new luxury Primrose Living range.

Comfy chairs, crisp cocktails and conversation, all from the comfort of our own homes. Read on for some cocktail-making tips and a secret little discount at the end – perfect ahead of Father’s Day (20th June) if your dad likes to tipple!

The Set-Up

Our Kocktail boxes arrived on the morning of the event, perfect for preserving the fresh ingredients contained within. I took a sneak peek ahead of the evening, which meant I had plenty of time to gather/make ice, lime juice and a shaker together with four glasses for each of the bottles in the box.

Strange though it felt to set up cocktail stuff in the ‘office’, I was more than ready to get tasting come  5 o’clock.

4 Kocktail bottles in a row
Four 5 o’clock cocktails calling

The Event

An exclusive guest list kept the strain on our home routers to an acceptable level, with four colleagues from Primrose, the presenters and cocktail experts from Kocktail, and eight guest bloggers and writers from the world of home interior and garden design. After some brief introductions it was on to the main event and our first cocktail: The Sunflower.

Sunflower

Sunflower cocktail bottle by Kocktail
The photographer’s double-parked

A smooth summery Sunflower started off the evening to a fruity start, packing a punch with its equal parts Hepple gin, Cointreau, lemon juice and elderflower liqueur. And a dash of absinthe for good measure.

Not having a bar jigger for the measures didn’t hold us back, as  all we had to do was vigorously shake the Kocktail bottle our Sunflowers came in. That got the lemon juice well and truly mixed in, which paired well with the lemon wheel provided in a foil pack for freshness.

Starting with an absinthe-containing cocktail certainly set the tone for the rest of the evening! Next up: the Banana Cognac.

Banana Cognac

A banana cognac by Kocktail
Iceberg ahead – or a tiny glass

BaCognanac to its friends, the banana cognac was a smooth follow-up to the Sunflower, reminiscent of a late-night closer to the Sunflower’s early-evening flavours. You could picture sitting in a dusky bar while drinking it, though the banana chip makes it more modern and metro than 20’s-style private-eye musing.

George was the man taking us through how to make these fruity masterpieces, carefully crafting and pouring measures while taking us through some of the backstory and reasoning for the ingredients. Andrew then took us through the cocktails’ origins and inspirations, which you can find on their website should you want to know more about Kocktail’s cocktails and what they’re about!

Suitably inspired, it was onto the last Kocktail of the evening (4 cocktails might have been a bit much to put away in one go on a Thursday!): the Spicy Flamingo.

Spicy Flamingo

Spicy flamingo in a bottle next to a glass filled with same
Spicy fruity salty goodness

Ideal for a summer evening, with a hint coming from the chilli salt reminiscent of the finest Mexican foods. Picture a fruity tequila shot, add some watermelon and you’re on the right lines, then rim the glass with fire and you’re good to go!

Coupled with a chat about the greatness of Primrose Living, that last fiery glass brought our little event to a close. We saved the Andalusia Calling for another sunny evening, filled as it was with lemon and peach – perfect for a weekend tipple!

Not only did we have another cocktail to enjoy, but Kocktail left us with a little treat to share – use code PRIMROSE30 to get 30% off you next Kocktail order, great as a gift or to treat yourself to cocktails at home!

Want to get involved in our next event? Reach out to @Primrose.co.uk on Instagram to let us know why you want to be on the guest list!

Gardening, Planting

What To Plant In June

With the weather finally warmer, and the bees bustling away, now’s the time to do some June planting. There’s still other June jobs to do, but if planting is your focus then you’ve come to the right place! If you’ve not done your brassicas yet – get cracking. But if you’re ahead of the game, read on for what else to plant in June.

June (Sun) Flowers

4 Sunflowers in pots on a windowsill

You can still plant the flowers we talked about in May, but one of the biggest new ones for June is sunflowers. Great for growing with the kids, or to feed the birds once the seeds are ready, there’s handful of varieties to experiment with. 

Giant Single sunflowers are the most classic kind, where they’ll produce one single flower for each seed you plant. This makes them excellent for adding some standalone focal points to your garden. If you’re after heaps of yellow blooms, look for Hallo seeds which form multiple sunny flowers per plant.

What-to-plant-in-June

Did you know that sunflowers don’t have to be yellow? While still on the same side of the colour wheel, Sunburst seeds are perfect for embracing some more fiery tones – where you can expect to see shades of red, orange, and even pink! 

June Vegetables

What-to-plant-in-June

Hopefully you’re all brassica’d out by now, so we won’t retread that ground (though if you still want the tips head to this section of our last post). Now we’re moving onto celeriac, courgette, cucumbers and some other vegetables that don’t start with C.

The Cs: Celeriac, Courgette and Cucumber

Celeriac stalks, a man holding courgettes and a pile of cucumbers

Celeriac Planting Tips

Celeriac needs rich, moisture-retentive soil and loves a sunny spot. Water generously, and keep an eye on the forecast so you can provide a nourishing drink ahead of any drought. Look out for any slugs or snails as the seedlings grow, the telltale signs include a glistening trail around the plant or on their leaves. 

Courgette Planting Tips

With any luck you already started your courgettes in a seed tray or propagator, and with the chance of frost now gone, it’s time to plant them out. Give them plenty of space (nearly a metre between each plant) and keep them moist but not overly wet as they’re susceptible to rot. If you didn’t prep them before now, there’s still a handful of courgette plugs available, but they won’t stay on the shelves for long!

Cucumber Planting Tips

Cucumbers are grown in almost exactly the same way, but you need to look out for the difference between indoor and outdoor varieties. The smooth ones tend to be indoors, while the bumpy ones are outdoors. The latter will also like a bit of acclimatisation rather than being plonked straight into the patch. For a few days, harden them off by putting them outside in a pot in the day and bringing them indoors each night. 

Nip off the male flowers when you see them (which are simply a flower), and let the female ones grow into fruit (they will resemble a miniature cucumber growing).

How to Grow Beetroot from Seed

Beetroot seeds can be sown throughout June – we suggest sowing some in early June and more at the end of the month. This will provide a steady supply of crops that will see you through autumn! The wonderful thing about growing beetroot is that, unlike other vegetables, they can be sown directly into your garden’s beds. This makes them a good choice for the beginner gardener (or anyone who is feeling a little lazy…we won’t judge). 

Before you sow, make sure your chosen site has fertile, well-drained soil. Add plenty of well-rotted compost or other organic matter, and rake over every square metre with a handful of Growmore. Don’t worry if you don’t have any of this, as all-purpose fertiliser will still do fine. 

Try to sow three seeds at a time: 

  • 10cm (4”) apart
  • 2.5cm (1”) deep
  • Organised in rows that are 30cm (12”) apart 

Once each seedling has reached about an inch in height, you can now thin them out. Try to leave one for each four inches of space with the strongest plant remaining. 

You will find that your beetroot plants won’t need too much watering – just make sure that their soil doesn’t dry out completely. If they’re growing at a slower rate than you were hoping, supplement with a high nitrogen fertiliser and water in. 

Extra Tips – Leeks, Pumpkins and Sweetcorn

  • Plant your  leeks in little drilled holes, preferably in a nice and neat row.
  • Pumpkins should be started off in a pot, but when planting out, separate them by 2  – 3m .
  • Plant sweetcorn in blocks so they can protect each other from the wind. Still do what you can to protect them however, like using fencing/screening, and digging in lots of compost before planting the seedlings.