Blog Series, Clocks, Decoration, Decorative Features, Garden Design, Gary, How To, Outdoor Living, Planters, Water Features

A well designed outdoor space can be just as satisfying as a new kitchen or cosy living room, but getting a complete look can be difficult when decorating outside. You can easily redesign a space with a few simple changes, without having to hard landscape or make changes to the structure of the garden. We’ve pulled together three classic garden designs to inspire you to recreate your space with minimal effort.

Moroccan Riad 

The Riad has been a feature of Moroccan architecture since the Roman era. Typically a riad is a small tiled courtyard dotted with large plants and a pool of water of a fountain in the middle. It’s a space to relax and escape the trials of the day, and it’s an easy look to achieve in a few simple steps. 

  • Choose the right colours – the backbone of the RIad is vibrant, but cool colours. Combinations of white, blue and terracotta should form the backbone of your space, with some splashes of yellow and turquoise to tie the look together
  • Keep it symmetrical – these gardens are a mixture of a personal oasis and formal garden, keep it as symmetrical as you can to achieve an authentic, and impressive look
  • Make use of rugs – this is a space to relax and entertain in comfort. Traditionally, soft furnishings like rugs or cushions are dotted around the space to soften it.
  • Pick the right plants – space-filling plants that give off strong perfumed scents are the key to getting this kind of space right, lavender and rose bushes mixed in with olive trees and ornamental grasses would be a great selection for the authentic feel.
    Shop the look : 

We’ve put together a selection of accessories that we think would be the great jumping-off point to creating your own Riad garden. This combination of planter, water feature, rug, and chiminea all compliment each other well and could be enhanced with Moroccan style stool

 

Italian Riviera 

 

The tightly packed villages, stone facades and well-manicured gardens of the riviera were the inspiration for some of the finest artists of the renaissance and the ideals of the enlightenment still shine through in their design today. These gardens are refined, elegant and relaxing. They’re also deceptively easy to create: 

  • Make the air smell of citrus – Sicily and the Italian coast are known for their lemons and oranges as much as they are for their tranquillity. Plant a few lemon trees in containers to get the look and smell of a summer on the shores of the coast of Genoa 
  • Select tough plants –  this area of Italy is known for the muted green colours of its plants. Rosemary, Cistus, and myrtle are great options to plant in containers alongside olive trees and pink climbing roses to get that refined look 
  • Don’t overlook statues –  evoke Italy’s romantic and classical history by adding some statuary to the garden. A few well-placed statues amongst your plants really create the look of a formal garden on the grounds of a large manor
  • Build the space around a pergola – shaded areas and canopies are a staple of Mediterranean garden design. If you can why not fill the centre of your garden with a pergola wrapped in wisteria that brings that grand touch to your design 

Shop the look : 

Our version of this classic garden design brings together all the classic elements of statuary, large planters, citrus trees and ornate wall decoration together to create that classic cool style. We’ve chosen to shade our garden with a sail shade rather than a pergola to make this design achievable in any space. 

Spanish Garden

Spain is the number one holiday destination for the British, so why not bring that feel and style into your garden.  A Spanish garden is a place to eat, entertain and relax with friends. The look is simple to achieve and can be made to work year-round if done correctly: 

  • Plant to impress – flowering vines and climbing roses are must-haves for the authentic look. Train them to climb a wall, fence or pergola and you’re off to a great start. For added fragrance, plant jasmine, oranges and  scented heirloom roses to complete the effect
  • Create a shaded space – the siesta is an important part of any day, and if you can it should always be done in the garden. Put a small shaded area into your space with a pergola or sail shade, hook up a hammock, and you’re ready for your midday nap. 
  • Combine the old and the new –  Spain has one of the oldest cultures in Europe, and the old country villages that dot its countryside are familiar to anyone who has visited. Capture this traditional look by adding aged or distressed pieces into your garden. 
  • Make use of railings – small window boxes edged in cast-iron railings are a common sight

 

These are just a few ideas on simple ways to improve your outdoor space. We’d love to see what you’ve done with your space on Instagram or Facebook

 


Images Courtesy of:

 

Ruth, S | Gill, L | Rosemary, B | Rachel, E | Diane, R | Trisha, S | MR Evans

Decoration, Decorative Features, Gary, Indoor, Planters, Scott, Water Features

One in eight British homes has  no access to a garden or private outdoor space. Being outdoors is great for both your mental and overall health. So, how do you get all the benefit of having a garden when you don’t have one? Here are some of our top tips for bringing the outside in.

Add More Houseplants 

Bringing the outside in

This is a quick and easy way to liven up your space. Houseplants come in all shapes, sizes and colours and a good combination of succulents, trailing and upright plants will have an immediate effect on bringing a space to life. You can easily find a plant suitable for every room in your house and when compared to outdoor plants, houseplants can be easier to look after.  Combine this with some pots that match your decor and you have an easy win.

Grow Herbs 

Herbs On Windowsill

If you want to grow plants that are a bit more functional then herbs are a great place to start. Not only do they live longer indoors, but they can be used to add new flavours to your cooking. They also look great and if you plant thyme or rosemary will add some great scents into your home. 

Be Creative with Planters 

You don’t just need to limit yourself to terracotta pots, and there are loads of options you can use to make the plants in your house a design feature. 

Wall Mounted 

Taking your plants off the floor or tabletop is a great way to add green without taking up a lot of space. There are lots of varieties available from simple glass vases to trellis-style planters and they come in all styles and designs. These planters can be used to house all kinds of plants, but look particularly great when used with succulents.  

Hanging

Wall-mounted planters might not be an option if you are renting, but if you still want to add a green feature to your space then consider a hanging planter instead. These planters can usually just be attached with a D-ring and don’t cause any damage. These are a great option for trailing house plants like the devil’s ivy or a monkey leaf monstera.

Balcony Planters

A balcony planter or is a great option if you want outdoor only plants and you have a small or Juliette balcony. These planters are easy to install and either just hook onto the railing or slot over the top. This is a perfect way to grow herbs if you have limited space or bring the smell of some traditional flowers into your house. 

Make Use Of Mirrors

Using mirrors to make space seem larger is a cornerstone of interior design. They bring more light into the home to make it feel fresher and more inviting. Placing mirrors where they can reflect greenery is a great way for making your space feel bigger, fresher and more vibrant. It’s also a great way to work with a limited plant budget; you can double up for the price of a single mirror!

Install A Water Feature

tabletop water feature

The sound of running water is incredibly relaxing and water features don’t have to be limited to your outdoor space. In fact, having running water inside has a host of benefits:

  • Relaxing sound to make a calm atmosphere
  • Better circulation of air in your home
  • Help tackle any noise pollution from the outside

Not having a garden doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy nature and the benefits that the natural world brings. These tips are just the start – we’d love to see what you’ve done to bring the outside in on social media:  Instagram, Twitter or Facebook

 

Animals, Megan, Ponds, Wildlife

Whether you have a pond, or you’re thinking of building a pond in your garden, you may be wondering about the wildlife ponds attract. Pond are rich habitats for all sorts of wildlife. To find out more about the pond wildlife you may spot in your garden, read on.

Pond Wildlife

Frogs

The common frog is one of the most recognisable types of pond wildlife you will find taking a dip in your pond. Long, striped legs and smooth, moist skin characterise the common frog, which are found throughout the UK in damp habitats. They are active throughout most of the year, only hibernating during the colder winter months. Frogs are carnivores and their diet consists of insects including flies, mosquitoes and dragonflies.

Pond Wildlife - Frogs

Toads

Toads are distinguishable from frogs by their skin, which is dry and warty in appearance. They travel by crawling rather than hopping and are larger than the common frog. Although especially found in wet locations, toads can also inhabit open countryside and other dry areas well away from standing water. Toads are nocturnal, so you are unlikely to see them until dusk, when they venture out often travelling great distances to hunt. A toad’s diet consists of insects and they have even been known to consume small mice.

Pond Wildlife - Toads

Newts

There are three species of newt that are native to the UK: the great crested newt, the palmate newt and the smooth newt.

The great crested newt is the largest, measuring up to 16 cm in length. Appearing almost black, they are actually dark grey-brown and covered in darker-coloured spots. You are most likely to spot them during the spring breeding season, as they spend the rest of the year in woodland and grassland. Great crested newts are the least widespread of newt species in the British Isles, and are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Pond Wildlife - Newts

In contrast, the palmate newt is the smallest of UK newt species. Olive-brown in colour, they prefer shallow ponds and are active during the daylight hours. Fascinatingly, the females lay their eggs individually and wrap them in leaves of aquatic plants to protect them.

Very similar in appearance to the palmate newt, smooth newts are species you are most likely to spot in and around your garden pond as they are the most common newt in the British Isles.

Invertebrates

Harder to spot because of their size, garden ponds can be home to a wide variety of invertebrates including:

  • Dragonflies
  • Mayflies
  • Snails
  • Water fleas
  • Pond Skaters
  • Water beetles

Pond Wildlife - Dragonflies

All of these species are important parts of the ecosystem, playing roles as both prey and predators. Many feed on algae and aquatic plants and others, such as dragonflies, are carnivorous and feed on smaller insects.

Birds

Most smaller garden ponds are too small for wetland birds such as ducks, swan and geese. However, you may spot wild birds using your pond to bathe in or take a drink from. You can introduce sloping sides and logs to your pond to make it a safer environment for these birds. Adding pond plants and keeping up with general pond maintenance will also make sure there’s bountiful amounts of insects for insect-eating birds.

Wild Birds

One feathered visitor that may not be welcome to your pond is the heron. They mainly feed on fish, and often visit garden ponds looking for an easy meal. If you want to deter herons from your pond, you can take a look at our post on how to heron proof a pond.

Ponds are home to a wide variety of wildlife. If you are particularly fond of observing wildlife in your garden installing a pond is a no-brainer.

 

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

Bird Baths, Charlie, Decoration, Water Features

Why Doesn’t My Water Feature Have a Plug?

Plug or no plug, always take care when installing the electrics for your water feature.

Many of our water features are supplied without a plug. While it might seem counterintuitive this is actually done to make installation easier. Many people prefer to install their water feature by threading the cable through an external wall and from there into the mains electricity supply, to do this the plug must be removed – so for simplicity’s sake we often opt to supply without a plug to make this process easier, especially in the case of larger water features. While it is still possible to plug your water feature in conventionally using an extension cord, even this, with an outside feature, has to involve a fully weather resistant plug casing or box for the connection for safety reasons. Primrose supply such boxes from Dribox which offer a good solution.

Please Note:  Primrose always recommends getting a qualified electrician to do any electrical work that may be needed when installing a water feature.

How Much Water Does a Water Feature Use? How Often Should I Top It Up?

Another running cost associated with water features is water usage, especially if you are on a metered supply. However – all our water features are either designed for pond use or self contained, which means none of them need to be connected to a mains water supply. While they will need topping up occasionally with fresh water, especially in hot weather when the water evaporates quickly, the water use associated with most of our water features is minimal.

Please Note: With all water features containing a pump it is important to keep the water feature topped up when running – this is because the pump must remain submerged when switched on. If the pump emerges from the water due to evaporation, this has the potential to cause damage to the pump and reduce its lifespan.

How Much Electricity Does a Water Feature Use? Can It Be Left On?

How much will running a water feature set you back?The amount of electricity a water feature uses is generally dependent on the pump type and size, specifically the wattage of the pump attached to the water feature. On most of our product pages for water features we have the wattage indicated under the specifications.

To calculate how much a water feature will cost to run per hour, simply enter your pence per kWh electricity rate, found on your electricity bill, and times it by the wattage on the product page. For example if we take one of our larger water features, the Stone Effect Regal Three Tier Fountain we can see it has has a Pump Wattage of 12W, so times that by the average UK electricity rate of roughly 13p per kWh and we get a cost of 0.16 pence per hour, or 3.7 pence a day if left running constantly. This translates to less than a fan or electric heater, so it doesn’t cost as much as you might think to have the sound of running water going constantly.

Of course, if you opt for a water feature from our solar range, you won’t have to worry about running costs at all!

What Steps Should I Take to Care for My Water Feature in Winter?

Please see this guide for tips on protecting your water feature against frost in winter.

When Will a Solar Water Feature Run and Not Run?

Solar water features are great in that they are entirely self contained, however due to their reliance on the sun’s rays, there are certain situation where they won’t run, for example on overcast days or at night. You can extend the period time a solar water feature will function by purchasing one with a battery back up, this can store up to three hours of pump life in the battery, however it is important to note that in order to charge the battery the features must be left in prolonged sunlight for a period of time, so even solar water features with a battery backup may not have much life in the winter months.

A stunning solar water feature – just best not left too long in the shade!

CharlieCharlie works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.

When not writing for the Primrose Blog, Charlie likes nothing more than a good book and a cool cider.

See all of Charlie’s posts.