With the arrival of summer, spending time outside on your balcony or patio lets your mind wander to plans of how to make this “extra” area a mini oasis. Adding plants and accessories specially sized to this space is easier than you think. Read on for ideas on how to make the most of your petite retreat!
1. Let the sun be your guide
Probably the most important thing to remember as you design your balcony or patio space, particularly if you plan to add plants, is how much sun you get and when. If your balcony is all or partially covered, there are plants that thrive in low light conditions. If your outdoor space gets blasted with sun for a portion of the day, there are plants that love that too—or you may be able to invest in some shade-coverings that work with your outdoor space to give you more options. A small umbrella secured to your balcony railing could provide just enough shade to create a bright and colorful mini-garden of citrus trees, for example, or some flowering succulents used to heavy heat. Whatever you do, don’t assume you can beat the sun. Mother Nature will always win, so work with her, not against her.
2. How to enjoy a garden in the sky
From floor to ceiling, the trick to the perfect balcony retreat is to get creative. When it comes to your balcony rug, consider using AstroTurf to create the illusion of a grassy oasis, then add plants on stands, small tables or hanging boxes to keep the sweep of green moving upward. Bonus points for adding colorful flowers, or choosing a mix of painted flower pots to keep the space fun and relaxed.
A covered balcony provides even more possibilities. Consider adding planter hooks to the ceiling and hanging baskets or terra cotta pots in vertical lines to take advantage of the sun while adding a bit of privacy to your space.
No topper to your balcony? Man-made shade is critical. Look for umbrellas with sturdy grips that you can add to your balcony railing, or sun shades you can anchor to your wall. The sky is (literally) the limit!
3. Cool and comfortable seating is key
In addition to creating a homey environment for your plants, set up a relaxed seating arrangement for you and a friend, using all-weather furniture, pillows, throw blankets and mini-umbrellas. A cool, clean conversational retreat for two with a rain-shedding rug and space for a small table or plant stand can help you bring the party outdoors whenever the weather allows!
4. Feed your inner chef
Some of the easiest items to grow on a balcony or other small space are cooking herbs. Basil, thyme, lavender, mint, rosemary and other herbs take very little care and can help not only bolster your kitchen prep, but provide a bright and cheerful addition to your outdoor space. Hanging box planters can grace your railing or climb the wall in a ladder of gourmet goodness.
Making the most of your balcony or patio can be a challenge, but with a little creativity, color and imagination, it can become one of your favorite places in your apartment. Here’s to fresh air, sunshine, and a beautiful new space to enjoy!