We’re not all fortunate enough to own a house with a big yard, but that doesn’t mean we have to keep living between four concrete walls without ever seeing the sunlight. It’s enough to have a balcony, as even the smallest one can be transformed into a paradise garden that will change your lifestyle. It really doesn’t matter what kind of balcony you have; it can be big or small, closed or open, square- or round-shaped. All you have to do is learn a little bit about plants and use your imagination. To help you with that, we have a few ideas and tips that will surely come in handy once you start your project. Moreover, this can become a pleasant hobby or occupation, that will allow you to spend time in a meaningful way that truly influences your life for the better.
If you’ve never grown potted plants and flowers before, then you need to arm yourself with the following things:
However, it is important that you start with quality soil, and that you check for pH, because not all plants thrive in the same kind of soil. We are not going to go into detail about the actual potting process here, as you can find that information in our other articles; suffice to say that you need to add a layer of small pebbles at the bottom of each pot, so the water can be strained easily and the plant’s roots will grow in all directions. Finally, you have to decide whether you want to grow from seed or buy ready sprouted plants and flowers; the second option is more viable for beginners, although in truth you can even purchase fully grown plants.
The more complex your balcony garden will be, the heavier the load on your balcony, which is why you must make some structural considerations as well. Speak with the building manager about your plans and ask about how resistant your balcony is; if you can find out the actual weight it can carry, then you can make a much more structured plan and avoid wasting time with things you’ll have to give up eventually. Moreover, you’ll be saving money on items you may have purchased, but for which there wouldn’t be enough room. This also depends on what will be primary in your balcony garden; if you want it to be more of a relaxation space, thus fitting larger, more comfortable furniture, then you’ll have less room for plants and flowers. The best solutions for that, if the structure allows it, are some clever vertical gardening ideas; these are a bit more difficult to achieve, but definitely worth it. There are even very cheap projects you can follow, but which look great. An example is to create a vertical wooden grill and fix it on the wall, then hang horizontal plastic bottles that have been transformed into plant containers. There are also trellises and special decorative containers that can be hanged on walls; inside them you simply place your potted plant or flower, thus creating a much more aesthetic space, and gaining space through use of vertical structures.
Simply placing some potted plants on the balcony won’t turn it into a garden; in order to make the place greener, lots of people go for vertical gardening ideas, which can be easily achieved with some old pallets, or by hanging the plants on the walls. Another superb solution is to plant a climbing flower, and build a rack or trellis on which it can grow; you can even build an arch from wood sticks or wire, as seen on the photo here. Your balcony garden can also take a more practical character, in that you can grow spices, fruits or vegetables, as space and climate allow. A vertical wall of spices can look just as beautiful as a flower garden, but this will also improve your cooking. The actual grill of the balcony can also be beautifully adorned with hanging potted plants, but a climbing plant may also adorn it and further enhance the impression of an actual garden.
Another way to gain more space on the balcony while achieving versatility is to go for layered potting; this means you can plant different types of flowers in the same larger pot. This gives off a wild and more natural aspect to your balcony garden, albeit a studied one. It is important that you pay attention to the pot’s aspect as well; classical brown and orange pots can look a bit out of place for a balcony; thus, since you’re not creating an entire garden and your expenses are reduced, you can go for more decorative pots, or spend some time decorating them yourself. A neat idea is to wrap the pots in utility string or burlap, or some other natural-like material. Choosing a theme, or a color scheme can help with this part; you can go for an English garden theme, for a wild, natural theme, or for something more stylistic, where you combine modern materials and textures with the plants and flowers.
Make sure you find the perfect balance between flowers and leafy plants. If the climate allows it, you can even grow fruit trees, such as a lemon or orange tree. At this point it is important to mention that you should only grow what the climate in your area allows; an enclosed balcony will be more suitable for pretentious plants as well, but you may still have trouble keeping it alive, or in optimal condition. No matter in what part of the world you live in, you should definitely have access to a sufficient variety of flowers and plants, so this is not an actual concern. Moreover, if your balcony is large enough, you can add small furniture pieces, like some chairs or stools, a tiny coffee table; you can find pieces that imitate garden furniture, and then your decor will be surprisingly natural. Finally, make sure you create appropriate conditions for the plants, and that they each get enough sun, water and fresh air. If you don’t know much about gardening, do some research on a gardening website. We personally recommend www.scrubbygreen.com as it features some great gardening tips for both outdoor and indoor gardens.
As mentioned above, choosing a theme will help you create a more homogenous space that comes together nicely; the theme doesn’t have to be an already-existing one, you can make it up or create it from a combination of different sources. You can take the furniture decorating process as far as you like; you can hang paintings or photos on the walls, install a small electrical spring to add more to the visual and auditory senses and insert any decorations that bring your idea closer to reality. A small birdhouse, or even a birdcage can complete your paradise balcony garden. The elements you choose to introduce only depend on how much time, money, effort and imagination you wish to spend on them.