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!

Birds, Gardening Year, Planting, Scott, Watering, Weeding

June Gardening Jobs

In June we have the longest days of the year in the UK, which means more sun and more growing time for your garden plants. You can achieve a beautiful abundant outdoors in June if properly managed and planned. Be wary, the extra hours of light will also be helping weeds, so it’s important to keep on top of things to enjoy the best of what June has to offer your garden. 

General

garden lawn

  • Water your lawn
    • An inch of water a week on your grass will be enough to keep it from going brown. Deep watering once a week is much better than regular watering every day.
  • Control weeds 
    • Use a handheld fork to remove individual weeds from the root.
  • Plant summer beds 
    • Get your summer bedding plants into the soil so they can take advantage of the extra hours of light.
  • Check and water 
    • Check the soil around your plants regularly, digging your finger into the soil to see if there is moisture underneath. Water accordingly when the soil appears too dry. 

Plants

summer bedding

  • Protect from pests 
    • Most aphids can be dealt with using a spray bottle filled with a simple solution of water and a little washing-up liquid. This will deal with greenfly and aphids without damaging your plants. 
  • Plant out summer bedding 
    • Fill your flower beds and borders for a colourful display. Discover our selection of summer bedding plants. 
  • Grow sunflowers 
    • Now is a great time to grow sunflowers from seed; a fun project for getting the kids involved with the outdoors. 
  • Sow Nigella seeds 
    • Also known as love-in-a-mist, these unusual looking flowers can fill an area of your garden with charming blue whilst providing pollen for bees and butterflies.
  • Sow Nasturtium seeds 
    • These colourful plants are fast-growing and will quickly fill any gaps you have in your bedding. They can also be trained up trellises and arbours to provide interest at different heights. 

Animals

Blue Tit on a branch

  • Top up birdbaths 
    • Keep your birdbath topped up to provide a place to drink, wash and cool down. For birds, not your family
  • Top up bird tables 
    • This time of year most birds will be collecting bugs for their young (a bonus for pest control), but bird tables and feeders are still needed for a quick energy top-up for hard-working bird parents.
  • Avoid trimming hedges 
    • Be careful when trimming hedges as birds can be nesting inside.
  • Allow some weeds to flourish
    • Letting a small part of your lawn to grow wild will be incredibly beneficial for all sorts of wildlife. It can provide a habitat for insects which in turn will support the growth of birds. Just be sure to mark it separate from the rest of your garden to keep it in check! 

What June gardening jobs have you been up to this month? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

Scott at PrimroseScott Roberts was a copywriter making content for the Primrose site and blog. Nowadays he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.