If you’re lucky enough to have a balcony, you may be wondering how to make the most out of your elevated outdoor space. A balcony is a great place to grab some fresh air, grow a garden, dine al fresco and even take in a view without having to leave home. No matter the size of your balcony, there are a number of ways you can turn your space into a paradise.
Get inspired to transform your outdoor space with our unique balcony garden ideas below.
If you live in a city, you may be yearning for more nature (and privacy) in your life. Use your outdoor space to create a balcony garden that doubles as a private oasis where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with nature.
Create a vertical garden that offers privacy by adding hanging plants to a lattice — a structure consisting of strips of wood — or even a stand-alone wall that you can secure to your railing. A trellis planter box, which allows plants to grow up the woodwork, can also be a nice option.
Use flowering vines with dark foliage, such as mandevillas, morning glories or black-eyed Susan vines for optimal privacy. Growing bushy potted plants, such as shrubs or tall potted plants, such as snake grass, can also block the view of nosey neighbors.
You’ll want to be comfortable in your private gateway, which for most of us means not sitting on the floor. Add some comfortable and inviting seating that will promote relaxation and Zen. On a large balcony you can add a table and chairs for eating outdoors and a lounge chair or two for kicking back. If you have limited space, add furniture that can be used comfortably for a variety of activities, whether that be dining al fresco or catching some rays.
Studies show that lighting directly impacts mood, so creating mood lighting is no joke. To create a relaxing ambiance, you can hang string lights or add free-standing lanterns. These outdoor lighting options come in a wide variety of styles from globe-shaped or star-shaped, all great for making your balcony lit.
Many of us are becoming increasingly aware of climate issues and are choosing to make more environmentally conscious decisions. There are a number of ways you can create an eco-friendly balcony garden that not only promotes the health of the planet but also your own.
Growing fresh herbs on your balcony gives you easy access to an abundance of flavorful ingredients. Annual herbs such as fennel, dill, cilantro, basil and parsley and perennial herbs, such as oregano, sage, mint, thyme, lavender and rosemary, are easy to grow and care for.
When grown in containers that offer good drainage, many vegetables can thrive in balcony vegetable gardens. If you provide your plants with optimal sunlight and water, you can also expect that they will yield a significant amount of delicious veggies. Some easy container vegetables include beans, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, carrots, peppers, radishes, peas, eggplants and beets.
Upcycling — creatively transforming unwanted materials into a useful product — is a great way to not only save money, but it also reduces your ecological footprint.
Each day, 80,000 acres of forests disappear from the earth and more than 20,000 tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean. Finding ways to use materials, such as broken furniture or plastic containers, in your garden balcony, can help you maximize your sustainability efforts.
Adding solar panels to your garden balcony is a great way to potentially power any lighting on your balcony. Also, depending on the characteristics of the solar panel itself and how much sun the panel gets, you may be able to capture enough energy to power other devices in your home.
A standard single solar panel can typically cover about 5 percent of your household electricity needs. Installing solar panels directly onto your railing is a great way to seamlessly reduce your reliance on natural gas.
Even the smallest balconies can be transformed into urban jungles. By planting vertical gardens and using the surrounding walls and railing, you can fully utilize your outdoor space and potentially preserve enough room for some seating as well.
There are a number of ways to add planters to your railing. You can attach the side or bottom of the planter to the railing by screwing it to the railing or you can use over-the-rail brackets that hook onto the railing. Another easy option is to use straddle-style planters, which literally well, straddle the railing.
Not only are vertical gardens a great way to make your balcony private, but they are also brilliant space-savers. Building a vertical garden by installing wall planters or hanging plants is a great way to fit a lot of greenery into a small space. Eastern hay-scented ferns, begonias, ‘Marble Queen’ pathos and jade plants make great outdoor hanging plants.
If you don’t cover your entire railing in plants, you could choose to add a railing table. This space-saving technique can provide a convenient place to place a drink or even dine outside. If you have enough space for seating, consider adding multi-purpose furniture, such as seating that’s comfortable for a variety of activities, including eating, reading and lounging.
From creating a place for plants to inspiring a place to relax, balconies offer many benefits. It’s not unreasonable to assume that your pup also wants to reap some of the awesome benefits of having a balcony.
If you live in a city, your pup may not have access to greenery too often. Adding turf to your balcony can help make your pet more comfortable, plus it looks great. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your pet knows that this faux grass is a hangout spot and not a bathroom!
In addition to making sure your pet can’t jump over or squeeze through the railing, you’ll want to ensure that your balcony garden doesn’t contain any plants that are toxic to pets. Plants that are safe for pets, such as orchids, Boston ferns, American rubber plants and Christmas cacti, make beautiful and safe balcony garden additions.
In order to maximize your pet’s comfort, include furniture on your balcony that you don’t mind getting covered in pet hair. Choose cushions with zip-off covers that can easily be thrown into the wash or replace.
A balcony garden is an opportunity to be creative and to construct a space that adds value to your life. Whether you’re looking to grow some of your own food, have a nice place to relax, dine outside or take in the view, a balcony can make this dream a reality.