How to Create Your Very Own Balcony Garden
Apartment living is a great fit for lots of people, but the one thing apartments and flats usually don’t have much of is outdoor space – and having some green space to call your own is a real benefit for the mind, body and soul. So, if your feed is full of Instagram-worthy shots of greenery, gardens and potted plants that make you feel (groanworthy joke warning) green with envy, don’t worry – we’re here to help. Read on to discover how to create your very own balcony garden, the best kind of plants for a balcony, and top tips on how to keep them alive year-round!
The best type of plants for balconies
It’s really important to choose the right kind of plants for growing on a balcony or outdoor apartment space. You might have to forget any plans for giant sunflowers or rows of pristine roses, but some of the prettiest and most pleasant plants and flowers will happily grow on a balcony.
Bedding plants – these will grow well in containers, and don’t need too much worrying over. We’ve picked some bright favourites that will pop in a small space.
Herb garden – herbs grow well even in shady spots, so they’re a great pick for a balcony herb garden. Plus, you’ll never be more than a few steps away from fresh herbs for cooking – win-win.
Flower bulbs – these flowers are all classic garden favourites, that grow well in pots with enough soil and sunlight. They’ll guarantee you a bright and beautiful balcony in spring and summer!
Fruit and vegetables – Much as you might think you might need tons of space or an allotment to grow your own fruit and veg, you’d be surprised how many crops will grow well in pots and planters.
Starting a balcony garden
So you’ve decided what you want to grow, you’ve cleared out the space, and you’re ready to get started with your flat’s little garden! One tip – before you start creating your little apartment oasis, make sure your landlord is alright with you keeping plants on your balcony. It’s not like bringing home a pet, but some landlords may prefer that you stick to indoor plants or succulents.
Consider your balcony’s climate
If your balcony is in shade for most of the day, it will impact what you can easily grow. If your flat gets lots of light, you’ll have better luck with the usual garden plants that flourish with heat and sun. If you’re going to be growing in shade, don’t worry – there are still plenty of options! Salad leaves like rocket and parsley are actually better in the shade, and some of our recommended go-to balcony growing options like begonias and geraniums will be just fine even if they’re not getting constant sun. If your space is really windy, maybe consider ferns or grasses that won’t lose petals in a stiff breeze – just bear in mind any plants growing in wind might need more watering than usual.
Plan out your space carefully
We’ve got lots of tips further down on how to make the most of your balcony’s limited room, but decide what you want to grow and how much space they need. If your balcony is quite shallow, maybe steer away from any plants that need low, wide planters to maximise on floor space. Sketching out a rough floorplan and measuring up the space is a must.
Get the right gear
If you’re planning on fixing some hanging pots to your balcony grates, make sure you invest in heavy-duty cable ties and fixings to secure them. And if you are installing planters or beds, make sure they’re going to have adequate drainage.
Choose the right soil for the job
You can get potting soil that’s made specifically for containers and pots, which will be lighted. You should also cover your soil with a top dressing of compost to make sure they’re getting all of the nutrients they need to grow happily.
Don’t overload your balcony
Most balconies and roof terraces will be pretty sturdy, but if you’re planning on sitting out in your little slice of paradise, don’t overload the floor with heavy terracotta pots, cement or wet compost, or you risk straining the foundations of your balcony space.
Choose your containers carefully
While it’s important not to choose heavy containers for your plants, be careful with really lightweight containers, like plastic pots or beds – if your balcony garden is quite exposed, heavy winds could blow them over or even knock them off completely. Make sure they’re appropriately weighted or fastened down during bad spells of weather.
How to make the most of your space
You probably don’t have tons of room out on your balcony garden – so plan your space and use these sneaky top tips to make the most of what you do have.
If you have wall space on your balcony, and you’re able to, attach a tall planter frame for plenty of extra growing room! Whether you want rows of your favourite flowers or a dramatic living wall of trailing plants, this also makes a pretty feature wall that’s sure to be Pinterest-worthy.
If you have space for a trellis fixed on to your wall or the railings of your balcony, you can tempt climbing plants to grow along them from large planters or pots beneath them – some beautiful plants like jasmine will grow easily on a trellis, and you can enjoy pretty, fragrant flowers all summer long. Just make sure you keep an eye on trellis climbers so they don’t overgrow, or, in the case of plants like ivy, start finding their way into cracks or masonry.
Get yourself a shelf
If you can’t fix anything to the walls of your balcony, why not use a ladder shelf in the corner of the balcony? This will still give you plenty of vertical room, without you needing to add any permanent fixtures. Just make sure your shelves are securely fixed down, and that any plants you stack on it aren’t in a position where they could fall.
We hope this guide has given you the inspiration to make the most of your space, and add a little oasis of calm and peace to your flat with a balcony garden. Now go on, get your hands dirty and encourage your green thumbs! For even more ideas on home improvements and how to get the most out of your house, check out more posts on our blog.