From the experts: How to set up your small balcony garden from scratch

balcony garden

I ran a poll on our Facebook page a few weeks ago asking what you would like to see: a post on balcony garden or accent walls? An overwhelming majority of you voted in favor of balcony garden. Understandably so, given that we all live in concrete jungles, but have fond childhood memories of growing up amid greenery. Garden space is a luxury for most urban apartment dwellers.

I’m using 18 beautiful balcony gardens designed by Livspace to illustrate how you can create a green haven for yourself irrespective of how little space you have with this guide. I have dissected these gorgeous spaces into five different elements and tips for each of them: plants, planters, flooring, furniture and accessories.

Plants

No balcony garden is complete without plants. Here are my top tips for choosing the right kind of plants.

— Choose seasonal flowering plants like Petunia, Dahlia, or Aster for the railing planters. They are vibrant and will look good from a distance. If they are on the railing, it implies the flowers get the much needed sunlight, too.

— Choose tall plants like areca palms or bamboo for the corners.

— If you have a larger space, you can plant a tropical tree like Plumeria or Frangipani in a big colorful clay pot for that zen feeling. Paint the pot a different color.

— If you share a balcony with your neighbor, create a green wall of privacy using a creeper such as bougainvillea or passion flower.

plants

flowering plants in planters

green wall

Pots and Planters

The containers your plants call home must be tactfully chosen.

Type of planters: Choose from hanging, wall, stacked and railing planters. I personally prefer 3-4 rectangular railing planters. If space is at a premium, then go vertical for plants. The floor space which is at a premium can instead be used for seating and enjoying the view.

Color: Go for a mix of neutral and colored planters. Neutral for large planters and vibrant colors for railing planters.

Material: Mix materials to bring variety. For instance, use a few coir hanging planters for the ceiling, metal railing planters, and clay pots on the floor. Ferns, string of pearls, and pothos are a good choice for hanging planters.

You can use an artificial turf for that garden feel. The overhead glass cover supported by wooden beam makes the balcony usable all year round. It is a better option than a fiber sheet or terracotta tile roof. For other decor ideas, go here!

narrow balcony garden

planters

 

Railing and hanging planters

Flooring

You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to flooring. Some of your choices include concrete, ceramic wood-like tiles, terracotta-colored vitrified tiles, acid washed floor, and natural stone. However, if you are on a tight budget, you can get creative by

—- painting the floor using stencils

—- sticking patterned tile stickers (the color and pattern options are endless)

—- colorful rugs/dhurries to hide the flooring

Patterned tiles

rug seating option

 

Furniture & Seating

Balcony gardens often double up as a space for entertaining, or having that morning cuppa. The options are endless from a stone bench to a wooden bench. Take inspiration from the images below that suit your budget. Refer this article for more.

Seating option for a narrow balcony

swing in the balcony

balcony garden

swing in balcony

seating

garden seating

rattan chairs for seating

Accessories

What we have discussed so far were the bare essentials for any garden. But, if you really want to take it a notch higher for that “wow” factor, then bring in the right accessories:

—- colorful cushions, lanterns, rugs, sculptures, fountains.

—- Decide on a theme or a focal object and work the rest around to complement that. For instance, here the buddha fountain takes center stage. Crowding this balcony with furniture and more  accessories would have defeated the purpose of serenity. The pink bougainvilleas adds the green element while bringing in color subtly. To know when to hold back is a skill.

Buddha in a garden

— this is a maximal space filled with string lights, vases, varied seating.Oh! it’s unabashedly party time here.

vases and artwork to bring color to the balcony garden

cushions

A daily morning ritual for the husband and I is to spend half an hour in our garden, after the kid leaves, sipping chai and catching up — as evenings after work are always rushed. And, I wouldn’t miss this for anything. What elevates this experience is to sit amidst the manicured lawn, our conversation sweetly interrupted by the chirping of birds, juicy papayas waiting to be plucked, and the swaying banana leaves.
The objective of this post was to help you design your balcony garden where you can retreat to, like us, for a few minutes every morning today oblivious of the day that lies ahead.

So, get started, do up your balcony, and I would love to see the makeover when you are done.