How to Create an Outdoor Oasis When You’ve Got a Balcony
There’s nothing better than sitting back and enjoying the open air of your outdoor living space. But when you live in an apartment and only have a small balcony to call your own, can you really transform it into a beautiful place to relax? You’ll be pleased to hear that the answer is yes! No matter the size of your balcony, you can turn it into your own slice of paradise with our helpful expert hints.
Instead of wasting your vertical space by leaving it bare, add some life to it. Use wall mounted plants to create a hanging garden and some much-needed shade for your balcony. All you have to do is attach hanging pots to the walls and/or roof of your balcony, then fill them with a range of different plants depending on the look you’re trying to achieve. Boston ferns, bird’s nest ferns and rabbit’s foot ferns are all great for adding some lush greenery, and they flourish in potted conditions as long as they’re not in full sun.
If you’re looking for flowers, you can’t go past petunias, verbenas and sweet alyssum. Bright and colourful, these plants are ground-covering in habit and will grow bushy, falling attractively over a vertical garden’s structure. Succulents are also a perfect option for a wall garden, as they come in many striking varieties, will grow basically anywhere, and require very little maintenance.
You can also hang up some lights or decorations – whatever you like to give the space a bit of personality. By maximising this otherwise unused area, you’ll be saving precious floor space for things like a barbecue, furniture and all those essential things you need to enjoy some quality outdoor living.
Looking to find the right plants for your balcony?
Use hedge plants for privacy
You’re trying to create your own little oasis, and you don’t want just anyone to be able to look in. An easy way to create a bit of privacy is to place some hedging plants around the edge of your balcony. Just remember, potted balcony plants tend to need lots of water to thrive. However, when you use drought-resistant evergreens, you can cut down on watering and maintenance, even when the summer heat kicks in.
No matter how hot or dry the conditions, drought-tolerant plants will still add beautiful texture and colour to your alfresco area. Look for small shrubs like the gold dust wattle, sage-leaf rock rose and native fuchsia – these dense bushes have pretty flowers and don’t need a lot of watering. Bamboo is also a hardy choice if you want to increase privacy – however, you need to make sure you choose a clumping bamboo variety. These are much easier to keep under control in a small area than the fast-spreading running varieties. If you’re not sure what plants will suit your balcony the best, you can always get advice from the experts. Call into your local nursery, like Wyee Nursery in Wyee, and they’ll be happy to help.
Consider fake turf lawn
Give your balcony some green appeal and discover the benefits of adding some artificial grass. Whether you opt for short or long piles, you can transform your outdoor space in an instant. The installation of synthetic grass is quite an easy and low-cost process, and it will add some natural-looking beauty to your garden design. Best of all, you’ll never have to drag out the lawn mower to give your fake turf a trim.
Add a water feature
There’s nothing like the sound of trickling water to create a tranquil atmosphere. Water features come in all shapes and sizes, meaning you can find the perfect fit for your outdoor terrace. They also add a point of difference to all your potted plants and will only need topping up with water every so often. As it’s likely you’ll have a power point close by, you can run an enclosed water feature with ease. Alternatively, you can harness the power of the sun to operate a solar powered fountain with cascading water, or even choose a little bird bath to attract some winged friends.
Think outside the (planter) box
Short on garden planters? As it turns out, plants can grow just about anywhere. From teapots and wine barrels to wooden pallets and watering cans, you can upcycle unique items as pots for a look that’s totally you. Take some time to think outside the planter to put your own stamp on your garden and really boost your balcony’s wow factor.
Just make sure you add drainage holes to the bottom of any items you intend to use as planters. This will help your plants thrive, as they are susceptible to diseases when their roots sit in wet soil for too long.
Put in comfortable seating
A relaxing balcony wouldn’t be complete without some comfy outdoor furniture. After all, your main aim here is to create an area that’s perfect for enjoying the fresh air. With the right seating, you’ll want to spend more time chilling on your balcony and entertaining your friends and family. Look for a table setting that comes with enough seats for your family, but is still small enough to fit in the space. There are a selection of expandable and collapsible furniture options available – where the table can be extended, or seats can be stored under the table when not in use.
You can even match the colour of your seats with your plant pots, or go for a contrasting look. Either way, just be sure to choose weather-proof furniture that stays looking its best all year round. Stainless steel is a good option, as it won’t rot or rust when wet. Alternatively, ensure that your wood is properly treated to resist damage caused by rain and wind.
For more advice on landscaping, and other handy hints on home improvements, check out our blog.