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 in rural Spain. You can emulate this look with something as simple as a wall display or potholder planted with Chrinodendrons or Euphorbia’s  

Shop the look : 

Our take on the Spanish garden combines a hammock with a bistro set and lemon tree to create a relaxing space for you and your friends to chat and relax. The nautical mirror brings a distressed wood effect that really ties the scheme together. 

 

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

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!

 

 

Barbecues, Celebrations And Holidays, Fire Pits, Gary, Outdoor Living, Recipe

There is more to putting on a great barbeque  than just a fancy grill and some burgers. A truly great garden party that even the host can enjoy is made in the preparation. Make the process a lot easier with these top tips. 

 

Consider a theme 

Organising your party around a theme is a surefire way to get your ideas flowing. It’ll make it more memorable for your guests whilst also making it much easier to plan. Some ideas could include:

  • Tropical holiday
  • Street party
  • Staycation

 

Decorate 

Whether you have a theme or not, decorating the garden will help you set the atmosphere you want. When decorating consider the following: 

Accessories –  just like with your living room, it’s the small touches that make the biggest difference. Cushionsoutdoor rugs and small decorative features will go a long way to completing the look and feel you want

Lighting – if your family and friends like to gather and natter for a long time then some well-chosen lighting will help give your evening a more relaxed atmosphere or help you keep celebrating for longer. There are plenty of options available.

Heating – in the summer, it’s easy to be in the garden for most of the evening, but if you want to use your social space year-round then you might need to invest in some outdoor heating for when the evenings get chilly. There are plenty of options for heating your garden from upright patio heaters to parasol or wall-mounted heaters. If you want to add some atmosphere, consider a fire pit or chiminea.

 

Seating

Do you have enough space for everyone? It’s not ideal to have people perched all over the place when you are trying to have a good time, it always ends up with dropped food and people scattered everywhere. If you entertain a lot then it might be worth getting yourself a full set, but if it’s less regular then a few stacking or folding chairs you can store in the shed are a great option. 

Never Underestimate a Paddling Pool

They are much more useful than for just splashing about in. If put in a shaded area they become a great way for keeping all your drinks cool.

Do you have everything you need? 

If you have your grill, coals or gas and some buns ready, then you might think you have all you need to get barbequing, not quite. Your household utensils might not be good enough for the job. Buying a set of dedicated BBQ tools is a good idea, as is making sure you have everything else, like bottle openers and plates/cups ready too.

Plan A Menu 

 You don’t want to run out of food halfway through your party and end up with half burgers in a bun. Before you start, write a list of exactly how much food you might need, and stick to it. If you plan long enough in advance you will have time to marinade all your meats and get your prep down as well as plan what you’re going to cook when. If you want some menu inspiration why not check out our blog post  on how to cook the perfect barbeque menu

Don’t Forget Sides & Sauces

 Avoid last-minute rushes by planning your sides beforehand and getting them on your shopping list. Stuck for ideas? Here’s our basic breakdown of the ideal garden party and barbeque 

 

Fire Pits, Gary, How To, Outdoor Living, Recipe

We always look at our gardens as a place to relax and entertain, but when it comes to cooking we always limit ourselves to burgers, sausages and meat on a stick. The barbeque and firepit are essentially an entire kitchen in one place if you use them right so, why not truly bring you life outside with these top tips on cooking great food outdoors no matter the size of your space.  

 

Note: If you have a small balcony or window ledge you can use a disposable barbeque for most of these tips, but please make sure you follow any instructions that come with it carefully and make sure it is properly secured. 

Get Prepared for Cooking Outdoors 

Organisation is the key to successful cooking, and even more so when you are using a Barbeque. So, every time you cook outdoors make sure you follow these steps. 

  1. Remove any old ash 
  2. Clean grill racks or grates 
  3. Oil and preheat your grill grates
  4. Light your charcoal and wait for them to go white 

Once you’re prepared then it’s time to get cooking

Cook with more than Charcoal

Cooking outdoors is remarkably versatile, one way to make your food taste better is to cook over different woods. Not only does this add flavour, but you can cook directly on some woods for a really intense boost. Try grilling halloumi over applewood or a steak over oak and see what results you get. There are plenty of different woods to use, and experimenting with flavour combinations is always fun, and there are some classics you can’t ignore.  Make sure you always use wood you have bought online as it is food safe, and won’t contain any nasty surprises. 

Get the right temperature 

 Just like with your oven, you need to control the heat coming off of your BBQ. The heat you cook over is the defining factor on how a lot of food turns out – too high and your food will become dry or won’t cook through before the outside burns, too low and it might never cook and you won’t get that classic Barbeque char.  Hold your hand about 12cm (5inches) above the grill and see how long you can hold it there comfortably 

6 seconds = low heat – perfect for low and slow cooking,  or keeping things warm. 

4 seconds = medium heat – the ideal temperature for most foods. 

2 seconds = High heat – too hot to cook on

You also need to control the temperature across the grill, this is really easy on a gas barbeque as you just need to turn the temperature down, but a charcoal grill is a bit more difficult, but you have a few options 

 The half and half method –  here,  you put all the coals to one side of your grill, so you have a  hot side and one with no direct heat. Then all you have to do is put food closer to or further away from the coals to control the temperature. 

Move your grill racks  – simply moving your grill closer to or further away from the coals is a simple way of controlling heat if your barbeque allows you to. 

Adjust your airflow – most barbeques come with air vents that allow you to control the airflow over your coals. This will allow you to adjust the heat of your flames. As a general rule of thumb: More air = higher heat. 

Slow cook

The barbeque is a surprisingly versatile piece of kit once you know how to use it, and slow cooking is one of the best cooking methods if you want tender, flavourful food that is hassle-free.  When you slow cook on the barbeque, it doesn’t interrupt your outdoor time and you still get some delicious food. Lots of people slow cook in their daily lives so they don’t have to cook after a long day at work, so why not apply the same to your time in the garden, just place an oven friendly dish into your barbeque away from direct heat and just leave it for a few hours until you’re hungry. You can slow cook anything you usually would or you can just close the lid and make some amazing ribs

Go Meat-Free 

The barbeque is just for meat right? You wouldn’t be saying that if you’ve ever tried halloumi and watermelon skewers. The smoky flavours and quick cooking you get from cooking over a barbeque are great companions for a host of vegetables. Here are some top meat-free recipes to try cooking outdoors.  

Make the most of Marinades

Cooking is all about enhancing the flavours what already exists, and this is done by seasoning your food well. When it comes to the barbeque this is mostly done with a good marinade (a flavoured liquid you soak your food in). The longer you can prepare the marinade and have the food resting in it before you cook the better. Here are a few basic ones for your toolbox. 

Barbeque sauce – Heat: 5 tablespoons tomato ketchup | 2 tablespoons clear honey | 3 tablespoons soy sauce | 3 tablespoons wine vinegar | 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato purée |1 teaspoon salt | 300ml beef stock over medium heat until thickened. Cool and use to marinate your meat 

Honey mustard – whisk together 4 Tbsp  honey   | 4 Tbsp  mayonnaise | 4 Tbsp dijon/ wholegrain  mustard | 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar | 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and use for chicken and pork 

Chinese style –  grate one piece of  fresh ginger and combine with | 4 Tbsp dark soy sauce | 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar | 1 Tbsp rice wine | 1 pinch superfine sugar | 4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped | 2 Tbsp honey | 1 tsp five-spice powder

Rest up 

Resting food after you’ve cooked it makes a big difference, especially in meat. It allows flavours to settle and makes the food more tender. When you are cooking on the BBQ you should rest all the meat and veg for at least a minute so any hot spots cool down and to improve the taste. You will quickly find that even your burgers are tasting better. 

Dessert 

People know to cook burgers or kebabs over the grill, but why go back inside when it’s time for pudding. There are plenty of desserts you can cook outdoors on the Barbeque, and the sweet/smokey flavour combination is one that is often overlooked. Here are a few of the best

Roasted Pineapple – Put some sliced pineapple in a tray with 50g butter | 100g brown sugar and cover with tin foil. Put the tray into a medium-hot part of the barbeque for 30 minutes and serve with a cream made of 2 tbsp white rum | 160g coconut cream

Chocolate baked Bananas – cut a slit down one side of the Banana. Put chocolate buttons and marshmallows into the slit and wrap securely in tin foil. Put the package on the embers of the fire for 20 mins.

Barbecued peaches – halve and remove the stones of 4 peaches. Brush with a small amount of vegetable oil and place face down on the grill and cook for 5 minutes or until the surface has char marks. Fill with soft cheese and drizzle with honey and return to the grill until the mixture has warmed through

 

These tips are just scratching the surface of the things you can do when cooking outdoors you can do in your garden, but once you get started it’s difficult to keep the cooking indoors. Once you have the basics done you can start looking into more specialised equipment or even inventing your own recipes – the sky is limitless. For more advice see outpost on cooking on a firepit 

 

We’d love to see what you are cooking in your garden this summer. Let us know on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook

 

 

Gary at PrimroseGary works in the Primrose product loading team, writing product descriptions and other copy. With seven years as a professional chef under his belt, he can usually be found experimenting in the kitchen or sat reading a book.

See all of Gary’s posts.