If you have a balcony, you can have a garden. Following are five great ideas to transform your balcony into a lush and comfortable outdoor space.
But before you start the balcony makeover, take a few minutes to picture your ideal garden. What do you want to do on your garden balcony? What kind of plants do you want to grow? What furniture will you need? What style do you favour: formal, relaxed, traditional, contemporary?
Now, measure and draw out your space, including windows and other fixtures. Arrange containers, plants, and furniture in your drawing.
Figure out how much sun your balcony gets: full sun, part sun/part shade, or all shade. Maybe some parts of the balcony get more sun than others.
Here are our ideas for turning your balcony into a garden:
1. Select Balcony Furniture
You don’t have to give up comfort just because your space is small. If you don’t have enough room for a full-size lounge chair, choose a reclining outdoor chair. Small garden furniture sets are specifically made for small spaces and make ideal balcony furniture. A Bistro set typically includes a small table and two chairs. You can choose from metal, wood, or rattan for your dining set.
2. Create a vertical garden
Paris is full of vertical gardens: building facades covered with vines, walls of succulents, and upright edible gardens. Dramatic in large spaces, space-saving vertical gardens are perfect where space is limited. You can grow any plants that are suitable for your climate and environment, but experts recommend starting with succulents because they are easy to grow. Once you get the hang of it, you can add herbs, flowers, and vegetables.
3. Use creative containers
Flower pots are fine for growing your balcony plants, but why not get creative? Take a shoe organizer, for example. Hang it up on your patio wall, fill the holes with potting soil, and plant herbs! Or, grow your plants in old boots, watering cans, or colanders. Try attaching a gutter on the wall of your balcony and planting a salad garden with lettuce, herbs, and other shallow rooted plants. Just make sure your container has good drainage; if it doesn’t have holes in the bottom, punch holes if you can or put in a layer of gravel to catch any extra water.
4. Plant a lawn
Lawn lovers, you can grow grass on your balcony. Look for, or make, a shallow container out of galvanized steel, acrylic stone, or similar material. Put in drainage gravel, add a layer of soil, and lay sod. Water your lawn frequently. As for mowing—try scissors!
5. Grow a tree
Quite a number of trees can thrive in balcony-size containers. Depending on your location you might grow a lemon tree, dwarf magnolia, or Japanese maple. You can use less cold-hardy trees if you bring them inside for the winter. Your local nursery can help you select the right tree for your patio.
A word of caution: Containers, soil, and water can be very heavy. Find out how much weight your balcony can hold and keep well within that limit.