How To Create Your DREAM Balcony Garden
I was so honoured last year when Lu from LuLovesHandmade agreed to answer some questions about her glorious small, balcony garden and offer some tips on how to create your very own balcony oasis. It was published last year in the Handmade Happy 2014 edition which is packed full of great articles and craft projects (incase you haven’t read it!)
Click through to pick up some handy hints for your own dream balcony!
What are your favourite things about your balcony?
Because I don’t have a garden and enjoy being outside a lot, my balcony is just the perfect little oasis for me to sit and enjoy the fresh air while still being at home.
Each season, it makes me incredibly happy to remove dead plants from last year, take care of those which come out again and to sow and plant new fresh herbs, colourful flowers and delicious organic vegetables.
When I was a child, we used to have our own garden and my mother loved garden work and planting new veggies, trees or herbs and as I grew older, I discovered I love this too.
Moreover, I love cooking and there’s nothing better than growing organic herbs at home. Spontaneously cooking pasta with a fresh tomato sauce is best when you simply need to walk onto your own balcony for harvesting home-grown herbs like thyme, basil or oregano for making this delicious Mediterranean dish complete.
Apart from enjoying being outside and having fresh herbs and veggies in front of my bedroom door, I also enjoy the look of this balcony a lot. During the past few years, I’ve always been super excited about watching my flowers grow, looking at the tomatoes becoming bigger and more red and sowing my own flower seeds.
I’ve grown my own sunflowers from seed. My mother sent me organic strawberry plants last summer and I grew five varieties of basil, which was awesome!
Between everyday life and work, such a lovely smelling and colourful oasis, filled with lots of green, pops of colour and a sun chair in summer is just the perfect place.
With all my hand painted flower pots, handmade pillows and tiny decor details, I couldn’t love this balcony more and be more excited about it each year.
- Choose your favourite herbs, veggies or pot friendly flowers
- Add hand painted flower pots
- Sew up some handmade cushions for your balcony chairs
- Add little decorative objects like Pinwheels
“When planning for your own space, start with a diagram that is to scale. Include the architectural features of your balcony: windows, doors, railings and walls. Use this initial diagram to get a sense of how much room you have for plants, containers and any furniture. Be sure to leave plenty of room for people to move around and enjoy the space, too.”
- For balconies that are long and narrow, smooth out corners with groupings of multileveled trees, shrubs and plants.
- Repeat a plant, or plant grouping, throughout the garden area.
- Feature trees and shrubs, and use colourful flowers mainly for accents
- Create focal points by using bright colours or interesting shapes and textures.
- Consider the view from inside your home when placing plants outside.
- Choose trees and shrubs that have four-season interest: ones that flower in spring, are green in summer, change leaf color in fall and display interesting bark in winter.
- Consider the conditions of your patio when choosing plants: wind, weight of containers, water access and drainage.
- In cold weather climates, line wooden containers with 3/4-inch builder’s foam to protect plant roots.
How long did it take you to create your balcony garden, or did you just keep adding plants and decor until you were happy?
Luckily, my mother knows well about herbs and veggies and always gives me advice concerning what to sow and plant first and which veggies are easy to take care of. Each season, we start thinking about the year’s perfect kinds of basil, tomatoes or flowers.
She order some organic plants and fresh soil, I go to the market to buy some flowers for a first start, so that the balcony doesn’t look so empty and then I start sowing and plants.
This usually takes me a few days (including cleaning, filling flower pots and preparing decor_ and then I only need to watch the plants grow, water them and remove some dead leaves from time to time.
It’s not much effort when you love doing it, it’s absolutely worth it.
Moreover, if your balcony is only as big as mine, it’s easy to buy lots of pretty and delicious plants on a small budget, even if the veggies are organic.
Some plants (like strawberries, peppermint or chives_ do not only live for one season, but come back in the next one. So most of my veggies and plants are homegrown but some are always bought to save some time and energy. 🙂
Do you have any tips on how to make a little balcony space personal?
Making your balcony space ‘your own’ is not too difficult. Simply think about what you like and brings you joy: if you’re more the lazy balcony gardener, simply buy some flowers or plants with veggies and herbs which do not need much care, put them onto your balcony and add some decor elements.
If you really enjoy working outside and want to spend more time doing something for your balcony, then it might be great to sow everything yourself, read about the right kind of plants for your home’s climate zone and watch everything grow.
For a really personal touch, I painted some flower pots myself, made tiny bunting with tooth picks and washi tape to put them into the flower pots and made felt pinwheels to decorate the balcony’s railing.
You could also sew your own tablecloth, cushions, bunting or make your own wind lights or bird house. To me, all those tiny details – lovingly handmade – add a really personal touch and made the balcony my own.
Claire here, what a fabulous article from Lu! I’m so happy to have some gorgeous projects in the Handmade Happy magazines from sweet Lu!
How gorgeous is this little play shed? My shed is metal. METAL. Previous owners owned it. *sigh* I want a play shed for grown ups! I will make my own play shed 😉