Garden Design, Gardening, Make over, Outdoor Living, Uncategorized

As we enter the second lockdown of the year, our gardens and outdoor spaces come back into the spotlight. With shorter days and falling temperatures, it might seem like they’re done for the year – but that’s far from the truth. Getting outside is a key way to boost your mental health and get some exercise, even as we approach winter. Here are some top tips on how to make your garden as inviting in the winter and is it in the summer.     

Get Ahead Of Garden Maintenance

Gardening is great for mental and physical health, it can be physically demanding and it keeps your mind occupied. There is also something satisfying about setting a goal for the day and meeting it. These little wins are important when you can’t distract yourself by visiting friends and family and there is still plenty to do in the garden at this time of year. You don’t need a big space to keep your fingers green, and there are a lot of things you can grow on a balcony or in a windowsill. 

See our full list of November gardening jobs here.

Got a small space? – Find out how to get started with balcony or windowsill gardening.

Decorate for Christmas

In a year where a lot has been cancelled, there is one thing that never will be – Christmas. Celebrating may feel a bit out of place this year, but this is a time to focus on those relationships that have gotten us through,  let our hair down and enjoy ourselves.  A lot of people are decorating early to extend the festive season and end the year on a happy note. Why not join in the fun and deck your garden out with a festive display that will delight your neighbours and give you an oasis of festive cheer. 

Find the perfect decorations for your garden. 

Want to add the personal touch? –  We’ll show you how to make your own wreath this year.

Introduce Some Winter Interest Plants

Summer is the only time of the year where you can relax in a colourful garden, right? Of course not. The winter garden can be just as colourful and interesting as vibrant summer beds or trailing hanging baskets. This year the garden is the easiest to access space you have, so why not bring out its full potential in every season?  There are a lot of plants whose true colour only comes out when the rest of the garden has gone dormant. As leaves drop, colourful stems, textured bark and bright berries become more prominent. The effect is just like something you’d find on a Christmas card, and it makes your space unique

and relaxing – a great way to add a unique stamp to your space and bring it alive year-round.

Not sure what to plant at this time of the year? – Check out our guide here  or 

see all our favourite winter interest plants.

Create A Cosy Space

 

The patio is one of the best places to relax, but as we move closer to winter we often abandon it for central heating. This year, our need for more space should lead us to look at the patio in a new light. Can you relax outside when it’s cold? Of course, you can, and some of our top tips on how to get it right. 

Make it intimate – the key to getting that cosy feeling is to make space feel smaller. This is really easy to do with a balcony or courtyard, but if you have a larger garden use screens,  sail shades,   gazebos or arbours to section off the space and protect it from the elements. 

Add ambience – contrasting shadows and moving lights enhance the feeling of a small space. Add string lights or a fire pit or chiminea to the mix and space will instantly feel more relaxed. 

Heat it up – fire pits and chimineas bring atmosphere, but also heat to your space. If you don’t have the room or budget for one why not consider a heater. 

Accessorise –  The final touch is to add a few accessories to soften and fill the space. Throws and cushions are great for your garden furniture and outdoor rugs look wonderful if your patio of decking contrasts with the rest of your aesthetic.

Let us help you design your ideal cosy space here.

What are you doing in your garden this lockdown? let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram

 

 

 

Decoration, Decorative Features, Garden Design, Indoor, Make over

Painting furniture is a great way to add your own personality to your furniture. But it can be a daunting task if you’re not used to it; we’ve all had the worry of “what if I make it look worse?”. So we’ve compiled some basic tips and ideas to help guide you in the right direction so you can enjoy the process and have some success with painting your furniture. We’ve also got some decorative ideas to help get you thinking on how to make any furniture item your own.   

Prepare your furniture for painting

  1. Always give your furniture a clean before painting. Make sure it’s free from dust by going over it with a damp cloth and then a dry cloth before you start.
  2. Some items of furniture may come already varnished or treated in which case you may need to sand them before you can paint. For wooden furniture, a standard sandpaper will work fine but for metal items, you may need to purchase some special sandpaper.
  3. If there are areas of the furniture you wish to remain paint-free, cover these with masking tape or a special painters tape from a DIY store.

Prepare to paint

Paint choice 

Once prepared you can begin painting your furniture. The paint that you use will be dependent on the material you’re are painting so its best to consult your local DIY store to select the right kind. They will usually divide their paint shelves into sections for materials like wood and metal. 

Brushes

It’s a good idea to have a number of different brushes when painting. You can use larger brushes for covering smooth surfaces and use smaller brushes for getting in and around little details. Any patterns or designs that you wish to paint on top of the furniture will likely be best achieved with the smallest brush. You should feel free to experiment however and see the effects of different brush sizes, shapes and materials have on your furniture.

Start painting

When painting your furniture its best to take things slowly. Work systematically doing one section at a time and take the time to slowly cover the furniture in a smooth coat of paint. This will guarantee you a much neater finish than just throwing paint on quickly. If you’re using spray paints you can apply the same principles; start off with just a light layer of paint and slowly build it up to full coverage.  

Finish up 

Once your furniture is painted and dry you can leave it as it is or cover with a protective varnish. Applying varnish is probably a good extra step to take if your furniture will be outside a lot as it will protect your work from adverse weather. You should bear in mind that a varnish may adjust the final look of your furniture; it may make the overall look much darker or washed out, so it’s best to check this beforehand and buy paint that will work well with your chosen varnish. 

Decorative Ideas

Using tape

Tape can be used to block out parts of your furniture to achieve a certain design. Simply wrapping a strip of tape around the foot of a table leg before painting over it, for example, can give a simple line that will make your table look unique and special to you. You can experiment with blocking parts of your furniture off with tape to add simple line designs to anything. 

Colour blocking

This is a really easy way to make any item of furniture look personalised. Divide your furniture into sections and paint each section a corresponding colour. A chest of drawers, for example, you may wish to paint the outer casing one colour, the draws another colour and the drawer handles another colour. This gives you a colour boost whilst ensuring you still maintain a sense of continuity.  

Use a colour palette generator 

The web has lots of generators that can make you a colour palette for use in your designs or furniture upcycling. Our favourite is https://coolors.co/ You can even upload a favourite photo and extract a colour scheme from that.

Add other materials

Mixing materials is a great way to add a unique stamp on your furniture. Mixing natural materials like wood with some metal features like handles can really make your furniture stand out.

Paint on a design/use a stencil 

All you need is a printer and a craft knife and you can easily create a stencil from any image or pattern that you find online. This is a great way to get a consistent design on your furniture without having to rely on freehanding your designs. 

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 with a pool of water or 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 colour combinations .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. If you like these designs and want to see more, check out our website to see the full range of products we have picked out. 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

Awnings, Garden Design, Outdoor Living, Scott

Welcome to our ultimate guide to awnings. Read on for some great advice on choosing an awning, installation and set up as well as cleaning tips.

Awning for shade

What is an awning?

In its simplest form, an awning is a sheet of canvas or other material that is stretched across a frame to provide shade from the sun or protection from the rain. 

How can I benefit from an awning?

A garden awning can increase the comfort levels of a seating area by making it a location suited to all weathers. It can shield you from harsh sunlight but also keep you dry in the rain, allowing you to extend the time spent outside. 

You can also transform your planting options by introducing more shade. Shade-loving plants like ferns become a viable option when you can easily block out the strong midday sun. 

What types of awning are there?

By our simple definition, an awning could be interpreted as anything that provides shade or shelter on a frame; this could include gazebos, marquees and shade sails. For this guide, however, we’re going to be talking about mounted patio awnings. This is typically what we think of when we say an awning and is the variety you may often associate with shop windows, cafes and coffee houses. 

What kinds of mounted awning are there?

There are a lot of things you can consider when selecting a mounted awning. Size, material, special qualities like waterproof material of extra UV protection but the first way we categorise our awnings is how they retract.

Full cassette -this means that when the awning is retracted, all of the material will be concealed in the cassette case.

Half cassette – this means that when the awning is retracted, only the back of the sheet will be concealed in the cassette case.

Standard – this means that the awning will simply roll up on retraction, without being held in a cassette case. 

Primrose Awnings Certified Shop

How do I fit a mounted awning?

The preparation for installing an awning can usually be completed by one person. You will, however, require assistance when lifting the awning into position. 

You can install most of our standard awnings by following the basic instructions below. For specific instructions, you can find the required PDfs here: https://www.primrose-awnings.co.uk/instructions.php

Required equipment:

  • Step ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • Pencil or sharpie for marking the wall
  • Screwdriver (optional for starting screws off)

Basic installation guide:

  1. Determine the position of your awning on the wall. It’s best to position it between 8 and 11 feet off the ground. Bear in mind that the awning will extend out at a diagonal so the furthest end will be lower than the starting height.
  2. Measuring out the awning and mark the position on your wall for where the brackets will be positioned.
  3. Drill holes for fixing your brackets to the wall. Be sure to drill into brick and not the mortar as this will be too weak. Most awnings will only need 8 holes to be drilled with 4 on each side (large awnings may require more holes to be drilled)
  4. Attach your wall brackets.
  5. Lift the main awning into position and fix to the bracket. This is the step you should never attempt on your own and is best done with assistance. 
  6. Slowly extend the awning out to ensure everything operates correctly. 
  7. Enjoy your awning!

How do I clean an awning?

Washing Awning

Extending your awning when it’s raining will do a lot of the hard work for you but it’s good to give a regular clean once every 6 months or so. This will keep it looking fresh and new but will also help prolong its lifespan. With a step ladder you can clean your awning in 4 easy steps:

  1. Use a long-handled broom or brush to remove any debris from the awning fabric.
  2. Use a simple solution of washing up liquid and water in a spray bottle to lightly soak your awning fabric and brush with a soft brush.
  3. Rinse off with a hose and leave the awning extended to dry naturally in the air.
  4. Use a cloth and some of the liquid solution to clean the cassette casing. 

Do awnings need planning permission?

Residential properties generally do not require planning permission to install an awning. Commercial properties such as cafes and shops will usually need permission, however.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this ultimate guide to all things awning!