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

Garden Design, Garden Edging, George, How To

Lawn Edging Ideas for Perfect Borders

Borders shouldn’t be boring.

Whether you have unruly flowerbeds, weeds creeping out from the grass or simply want a designer divider, edging is a great addition to any garden. It’s easy to add a swish surround to your lawn for decoration or just to keep things in check. The hard part is choosing which option to go with. So we’ve made a list of lawn edging ideas to help you lay down the law on your lawn.

Lawn edging ideas

1. Hidden edging

When you want to hide the divide between the lawn and flowerbed or path, inground edging is best. Dig out the shape that you want and bury the edging strips in line with the surface. Roots and weeds cannot grow through, leaving you with crisp curves or straight edges to your lawn. Most inground edging is made from metal or plastic, and can be mown straight over – saving the need to strim!

Inground edging

Shop inground edging

2. Mini fences

If you’re less excited by weed transfer and more interested in finishing off your flowerbed with an attractive surround, then fencing is worth thinking about. Low-height hazel hurdles or a pocket-sized picket fence will make an adorable addition to your garden.

3. Recycled materials

Look no further for cheap lawn edging ideas than the bin at the bottom of your garden! Recycling unwanted objects into borders is not only eco-friendly but opens up unlimited options for innovation. You can use almost anything to cordon off your patio or beds – from old glass bottles, bricks and pallets to rocks, logs and shells.

4. Wooden borders

A solid roll of wooden edging jutting out of the ground offers both protection from plants growing out of control and an appealing aesthetic. Bamboo edging is a great finishing touch for an oriental garden, while willow would suit a classic English countryside design.

Wooden border edging

Shop wooden edging

5. Plastic edging

Plastic is one of the easiest materials to bend round and create flawless curving patterns in your lawn. Sitting above ground, plastic edging strips can be slotted together to flexibly fit just the right area. A solid piece of plastic should be durable enough to keep the lawn in check and survive against weather, damp, rot – and your lawn mower. Some makes are even made from recycled materials.

6. Flat border strips

A simple way to get the flush ground-level divide of paving is with flat edging strips. Available in metal and terracotta effects, these lock into place on the ground, forming a barrier against encroaching growth on either side. Surprisingly, you can also position them in curved formation.

Flat border strips

Flat edging strips

Hopefully these landscape edging ideas will give you some thoughts for your own garden. From inground barriers to rolls of wooden borders, there are plenty of flexible options. Learn how to edge your lawn and let us know if you have any more tips or inspiration!

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.

Alice, Gardening, How To

The lawn acts as the backbone to your garden, providing space to relax, sunbathe, play games with the kids and pets, and entertain guests. It’s important to keep your lawn in tip-top shape, to provide an aesthetically pleasing backdrop, while being sturdy enough to withstand rough and tumble. The lawn can make or break your garden, and acts as the base for any flowerbeds, trees, or features. So here is our guide to how to create the perfect lawn. 

how to create the perfect lawn

Plan out your space

Before you start sowing your lawn, you need to plan out the space it is going to fill. Consider what you will be using your garden for. If you have children, a full lawn is best for allowing plenty of space to play; others may prefer to have more patio space and features with a smaller lawn; and if you host regular garden parties, a patio and lawn combo will be perfect. Plan where you are going to have your flowerbeds, borders, patios, and any trees or features. Bear in mind that grass flourishes best with plenty of sunlight, however it is possible to grow a lawn in shady areas.

Check out our guide to garden design.

Prepare the soil

Lawns flourish best on deep, well-drained soil, so once you have you have decided on your lawn area, dig the ground thoroughly and deeply, making sure to break up any compacted soil. Remove any weeds or stones. Digging in some sand or grit will be beneficial. Rake over the soil very carefully as lawn tends to accentuate any dips or hollows. Tread over the area to flatten the soil, then rake again. 

Sow your grass

There are two options to choose from when laying a new lawn: turf or seed. Lawn turf is ready-made rolls of grass that provide an instant lawn and require less maintenance in the first couple of months. It should be moist, green, and reasonably thin; long rolls are better than shorter slabs as they don’t dry out as quickly. Try and lay your turf the same day it is delivered, but if that is not possible make sure to water well.

Check out our selecting lawn turf.

Lawn seed is a much more cost-effective option and is perfect for smaller areas, but will need a bit more maintenance to begin with. Ryegrass is great for withstanding family wear and tear and can survive shady areas, while Chewings fescue provides the perfect green lawn you see on golf greens. Choose a non-windy day and spread the seeds evenly across the ground.

Check out our guide on how to grow the perfect lawn from seed.

Maintain your lawn

The key to a good lawn is sun, moisture, and drainage. Cutting back overhanging branches can help ensure your lawn has good access to sunshine. In the UK, there is usually enough rain not to have to water your lawn, however if you wish to water it aim for around once a week, and water early in the morning so the water can penetrate the soil before it evaporates in the heat. 

To maintain good drainage, aerate the lawn every autumn and spring. You can do this by using a garden fork to make holes in the soil to allow in moisture and nutrients. Make sure to regularly remove weeds; you can use a chemical weed killer if you are dealing with large numbers. 

When mowing, take care not to mow your grass too short; the grass should be around an inch or higher, and avoid taking too much off in one cut. From spring to summer, you can mow once every one or two weeks, reducing mowing to as and when needed during the winter. 

Reseed sparse areas

If parts of your lawn have died or gone thin in areas, you can reseed to give it a new lease of life. Remove any dead grass with a garden fork or take, then take and aerate the soil underneath. Add lawn seed, flatten the ground gently and water the area frequently as it gets growing. 

If you need to replace the turf on your lawn, cut out the existing turf with a shovel, rake and aerate the soil underneath, then measure and fill in the gap with new turf. Keep watered to ensure it establishes well. 

Let us know how your lawn is doing on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!