Evie, Garden Design

Shuttered_Mirror

Extending interior decor into your outdoor space is a rising trend, and this includes the art of reflection. Using decoration in your garden isn’t only limited to your creativity with plants and planters. Placement of a weatherproof mirror within your outdoor space can completely transform a garden into a spacious and well-lit place of tranquility, ideal for relaxing or entertaining in. 

Our garden mirror range at Primrose has over 135 designs to choose from. I’ll run you through a few of my own favourites, but be sure to view the full range here.

Which style should I choose?

Gothic_Mirror

 

Bring a modern twist on traditional with a shabby chic, gothic design. Creating a unique illusion of space, this rustic style mirror subtly adds a touch of contemporary decor, while giving a nod to traditional bespoke designs. Consider your garden and its colour scheme when choosing your mirror. If you’re unsure, opting for a white or charcoal tone would keep versatility, and compliment near enough everything!

 

Ideal for transforming smaller spaces are illusion mirrors. You can either opt for a decorative design or add quirkiness and fun to your garden with a window or gate illusion mirror. 

Window_Mirror

Illusion mirrors are fantastic for adding depth to a garden, and making the most out of your plants through the art of reflection.

Window_Mirror_Illusion

 

As you can see in this photo, kindly sent by a happy Primrose customer, Mrs J has painted her wooden Open Gate Window Mirror frame to a cream tone. This looks very effective amongst her wall climbing flowers.

 

If you’re inspired by countryside style, our range of shuttered mirrors may appeal to you most. 

Shuttered_Mirror

Perfect for the English cottage garden, our shuttered styles look beautiful on any garden wall, with their quaint wooden frames.

Love_Your_Garden_Mirror

 

The Antique Garden Mirror design above was featured on Alan Titchmarsh’s Love Your Garden, where Alan and his team used more than one mirror to add depth and glamour to a smaller outdoor space. Due to the reflective properties, especially within illusion mirrors, garden mirrors add another dimension and make the space appear larger than it is.

 

 

Where should I position my garden mirror?

Once you’ve selected your garden mirror, you’ll face the tricky question of “where should I put it?” Ideally, you should place your mirror in a position where it reflects your blooming flower beds or vegetable patch greenery. For example, a bad positioning would be reflecting part of a building or a compost pile. You may also wish to angle the mirror to achieve the best reflection possible – a tip for this is using a wooden block behind the back of the mirror. You may require a mirror adhesive to attach your mirror to the wall, such as the one listed here. Ensure that you do not place your mirror in direct sunlight to avoid hazards. Also, avoid placing your mirror too high up, this helps prevent birds from being mistaken.

How can I compliment my garden mirror?

Be as creative as you like! I’ve always been fond of the idea of growing climbing plants around garden mirrors, so that they become naturally encompassed in the setting and beautifully compliment each other. Arched trellis mirrors are perfect for this. Lavender Wisteria or climbing roses in your favourite colour would look stunningly elegant surrounding a trellis mirror. The mirror’s frame would become disguised amongst the greenery and acrylic mirror types are 10x stronger than glass. Therefore, making it fantastically  weatherproof and shatterproof.

Evie at PrimroseEvie works in the Primrose Marketing Team.

Growing up in the English countryside, she likes nothing more than to be surrounded by nature’s peace and quiet, with the addition of the family pets of course!

Evie is passionate about all things digital marketing and loves the challenge of combining creativity with online content.

When not at her desk, you’ll typically find her in the gym, posting on social media, or watching a popular series on Netflix!

See all of Evie’s posts.

Container Gardening, Garden Design, Gardening, Guest Posts, How To, Indoor

While you may have had a good-sized home with great landscaping both indoors and out, now you have downsized and moved to a much smaller apartment. Outdoor landscaping is not your domain anymore, and you have to now deal with a small indoor space. You do want it to look larger, you don’t want to infringe upon your living areas, but you really want lots of plants. What’s the answer to this dilemma? An indoor vertical garden!

What’s a Vertical Garden?

A vertical garden is a garden that grows upward (vertically) using a trellis or other support system, rather than on the ground (horizontally).

There are many ways to install a vertical garden in your small apartments and following are some of our favorites. Whether you live in a small Auburn, Alabama apartment or a huge city like London, you can still find ways to make it work!

Pallet

While Mississippi John Hurt wrote a famous song called “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor,” we want you to use a recycled pallet and install in on a wall. Then, cut our small areas and insert plants. This won’t take up much space but will add a nice splash of green to the wall it’s installed upon.

Leather or Wood Garden

You construct this by using a piece of plywood and either leaving it natural or covering it with leather—or plastic if you choose—and installing it floor to ceiling. Then, add a triangular expanding trellis and place small potted plants at nice intervals. This really adds outdoor charm indoors.

Wall Frame Garden

An old square wooden frame can be fixed to a wall and succulents that don’t use much water can be planted in it. You may need some netting or a screen behind the frame, but a lot of multicolored succulents can help hold in the soil and add cheeriness to the room.

Mesh

Steel mesh that you buy at a big-box home improvement center is another great option. Just run this from floor to ceiling also, get some hooks, and hang pre-potted greenery wherever it looks appropriate. Even sparsely covered mesh adds green to your room.

Vertical Air Plant Garden

To make one of these, place a three-quarter inch piece of plywood on a wall. Then hammer in nails in a triangular or square pattern and connect them with string. Next, buy a plant like tillandsia that can get most of its nutrients from the air without being planted in soil. With this scheme, you’ll have living plants that need little care, hardly any water and little further maintenance, but they will make your wall come alive with beautiful green hues.

Shelves

Wooden shelves that look like outdoor planter boxes are a favorite of ours. If you have a little more space, you can extend these out a few inches. If not, they can be installed close to the wall with enough room for a couple inches of soil. Philodendrons will look very since in this setup.

Shoe-hanger Garden

OK, so you aren’t good at building things, you don’t do well with hammers, and you have no idea how to pound in patterned nails and attach string. Don’t worry, though, because something called a shoe-hanger that you can buy at a charity shop will come to your rescue. Instead of hanging shoes on it, however, fill the pouches with soil and plant appropriate indoor plants. You can get this job done in minutes and you’ll have a wonderful indoor garden.

Are You Crafty?

If you are, check out this idea. Buy some two-liter soft drink bottles, and after you emptied them, cut them off about four inches from the top. Place the cut-off bottles neck-down on a wood rectangle and fasten them with a modified twisty-tie to the wood. Make sure you leave some room between them. Next, place soil into the bottles—they should look sort of like a funnel—and plant herbs like cilantro and parsley in them.  Now, mount the wood on a wall and water very carefully so that you don’t get your floors wet. You’ve got an inexpensive and nice-looking vertical garden that will make you smile.

Vertical gardening is an excellent way to save space in your small apartment. Primrose can help you choose the right plants as you explain exactly what you are doing, and you’ll see that for a very small investment you can bring outdoor beauty indoors.

Love these ideas, but not the hassle of making them? Primrose has an excellent range of quirky indoor planters, in all the trendy colours from copper to matt white.

Dakota Murphey, Garden Design, Hiring Help in the Garden, How To

Is your garden in need of some serious attention? Does your outdoor space look boring and uninspiring, without much thought given to structure, layout or planting? Whether you’re starting with the blank canvas green space of a new build or the outdated garden design of the previous home owners, if it’s not working for you, it’s time to take action.

Garden design is both an art and a science, but mostly it’s a craft. Even if you consider yourself to be reasonably green fingered and love pottering around in the garden, the vast horticultural knowledge and the advanced technical and management skills of a professional garden designer takes many years to master.

Find a good one and you’ll have a keen expert by your side who can see the vision of what you want your dream garden to be, and make your dreams come true. Here’s a useful 4-step process to ensure your chosen garden designer is aligned with your goals and has the right skill set for the project.

1. Create your vision

Before you’re ready to appoint a garden designer, it’s important to do a bit of homework first, so that you can articulate your vision. What sort of garden would you like to achieve – English cottage style, formal Italian style hedging or modern landscape architecture? You don’t have to be an expert in garden history but it helps to have a clear idea of the look and feel you’re going for.

Next, consider how you’ll be using the space. Are you looking for a garden for relaxing in peace and quiet, to entertain friends or for children and pets to run around in? Are you keen to grow your own veg? Do you love gardening or are you looking for a low-maintenance solution?

Without a defined brief, any garden designer is bound to struggle to develop a meaningful proposal. Look for inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram, books and magazines, garden shows and exhibitions and compile your own scrapbook or mood board with all the design elements you want to include in your garden design.

how to find garden designer
Source: Andy Sturgeon

2. Establish a realistic budget

We all like to dream big but having grand garden design visions is one thing, having the budget to realise your dreams is quite another. Obviously, the physical size of your outdoor space will be a significant factor of the cost of a redesign but even small gardens can eat up sizeable chunks of budget rather quickly, especially when it comes to major landscaping and planting schemes.

If necessary, revisit the different elements of your desired design including groundworks, hard landscaping, garden buildings, water features, electrics and choice of planting. What are your ‘must haves’, what are your ‘nice to haves’? Be realistic about the kind of investment you’re willing to make into your garden, and be prepared to cut your cloth accordingly.

garden design
Source: House Beautiful

3. Shortlist garden designers

Having determined the scope and creative direction of your garden design project, it’s time to start looking for garden designers. Word-of-mouth recommendations are always a good starting point, so ask family, friends and acquaintances for who they’ve used.

Don’t underestimate the power of the internet to help you in your search, especially if you’re looking for specialist garden designers. Try googling for keywords such as ‘coastal gardens’, ‘north facing gardens’ or ‘clay soil’ to help you identify the right expert to deal with specific garden issues.

Do bear in mind that anyone can set themselves up as a professional garden designer, whether they’ve taken an evening course at their local college, are a full member of the Society of Garden Designers or have no qualifications or experience whatsoever. While formal qualifications aren’t always the best indicator of quality, it’s always wise to check the designer’s background. Ideally, you’re looking for a combination of professional qualifications coupled with solid practical experience across many garden design techniques and a wide range of projects.

Once you’ve chosen your favoured garden designer, take a keen interest in their portfolio and visit some of their completed projects. If at all possible, speak to past clients to gauge customer satisfaction levels first hand.

manicured garden
Source: Design Trends

4. Trust your instincts

When you’ve reached the end of the decision making process, you should feel happy with your choice of garden designer. The importance of working with someone who is on the same wavelength cannot be overstated when it comes to this kind of creative process. Whether the two of you will be able to ‘click’ will become obvious very quickly once you’ve met in person – and this is where you really need to trust your instincts.

A garden redesign can be an intensely personal experience requiring a great deal of trust and confidence. If there’s anything you don’t like about your garden designer now and can envisage problems working together as the project progresses, that’s a huge red flag. Cut your losses now and find somebody else before you’re in too deep.

Through the lifecycle of your garden project, you should expect the relationship between yourself and your designer to develop and grow, just like your garden.

planted hedges
Source: Outdoor Ideas

Dakota Murphey

Dakota Murphey is an independent content writer who regularly contributes to the horticulture industry. She enjoys nothing more than pottering around her gardening in the sunshine. Find out what else Dakota has been up to on Twitter, @Dakota_Murphey.

Awnings, Garden Design, George, How To, Sail Shades

how to shade a pool

If you’re lucky enough to have a swimming pool in your garden, you’ll want to create the best possible environment to enjoy it. You’ve got your loungers, inflatables, maybe even a minibar – but what about some shelter from the sun? It’s an important consideration, with growing concern about sun damage and skin cancer. Basic shading can offer UV reduction of up to 75%, with specialist materials increasing protection up to 98%.

Aside from the health reasons, pool shading can also be a spectacular design feature. A stylish shade structure can elevate the appearance of your pool and turn the whole area into a classy feature. So dive in and find out how to shade a pool in your garden.

Ways to shade your swimming pool

1 – Shade sail

With their oceanic connection, shade sails are the perfect fit for pool shading. There are many options you can choose from in terms of shape, colour, size – and even combining multiple shades – which make them a really flexible option for creating your desired appearance.

For safety, go for a permanent fitting option to ensure the sail will endure our variable weather conditions. The best option will probably be support poles on each side of the pool, with the sail (or sails) stretching taut across the water.

shade sail over pool

2 – Parasol

If you’re looking for some instant shade at a pool party, parasols make for an affordable and convenient option. While the shade coverage they provide is limited, the advantage is they are easy to shift round the pool as the sun moves so you can usually have a shady spot to rest in.

Parasols are great for shade around the water as well as in it – they make the perfect pairing with a sun lounger or a poolside bar.

parasol by pool

3 – Pergola

Though not often associated with garden swimming pools, a pergola spanning the water can make a magnificent feature. You can install them over an end of the pool, and cover the top with retractable shade material, wooden slats or trailing plants to create some dappled shelter from the sun.

This option is one of the most significant investments for your garden in terms of money and permanence, so it’s worth spending time on the design and checking any local planning restrictions.

pergola by swimming pool

4 – Retractable enclosure

Another elaborate option is a pool enclosure, a greenhouse-like structure that covers the whole pool and can usually be telescopically retracted. While these are often constructed to provide protection from the elements and extra warmth, they can also offer shade when paired with blinds or obscured glass.

swimming pool enclosure

5 – Floating umbrella

If you’re looking for pool shade that follows you round, free from restrictions, then why not try a floating umbrella? The shady umbrella is usually attached to a buoy to float and a weight to keep it upright. Some even have inbuilt cup holders to keep your drinks right on hand. You can’t get more relaxing than that!

floating umbrella

6 – Awning

A retractable awning is one of the most classic ways to bring shade into your garden, though due to the need to be fixed to a wall, you’re more likely to choose an awning for poolside shade than actually in the water. Unless of course your pool is very close to your house or another garden building.

You can, however, choose a freestanding awning. This is a solid frame with a double-sided retractable canopy. Place this next to the pool and then unwind the awning whenever you require a bit more shade. You can even move it around once it’s assembled to track with the sun.

awning by swimming pool

7 – Tree

Finally we come to the most natural form of shading in the garden: trees. While these are perfect for a natural garden aesthetic, you do have to be careful planting them around swimming pools. Firstly, as the trees grow (which can take a long time to become big enough for adequate shading), their roots may interfere with the pool foundations. Secondly, debris – leaves, bird mess etc – will fall from the tree and require even more pool-cleaning time.

So if you’re looking for quick and easy way to shade your swimming pool, a tree probably isn’t your best option!

trees by pool

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.