How To Turn Your Balcony Into A Beautiful Garden
Turn your small Space into a Colorful Garden
When I moved into my top floor Maisonette, the one thing that I really missed was having a full length garden. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by trees and hedges, fields and a large allotment right next door. But there's nothing like being able to sit down among all the lovely flowers and plants, feeling the grass under my feet and listening to the wildlife in the trees nearby.
Don't get me wrong, I love it where I live, completely enclosed by the sound of birds, and gardners digging a few yards away from me, but I did miss the space. Luckily I have two balconies, one at the front that I use for storing spades and flower pots, and the other at the back leading out from my living room. The view is just lovely.
A stretch of green grass, ending in hedgerows, squirrels up the tree, and my most beautiful view, the Kite, a wonderful bird of prey with gold feathers and yellow beak. But still, when it's a hot day, I need my flowers. So that's why I decided to bring the garden to me. In How To Turn Your Balcony Into A Beautiful Garden I will show you how easy it is, and you don't have to spend a fortune on expensive equipment.
I don't mind seeing the balcony next door, but I really wanted to use something at the end of my balcony to give us just a little bit of privacy, but not block out their sunlight. So I took a trip to the Garden Centre. I could actually stay there all day, its like a little piece of heaven on a rainy day. There were garden statues, pot plants, exotic flowers and so many shrubs that I had no idea what they were, but were gorgeous.
Eventually I spotted the trellis fence section and headed over to see what I could buy. There were so many different styles. And what I liked most was that you could either get them cut down to size, or in my case, find one that fit perfectly! I just love this one, it is on my neighbors balcony. It is perfect.
Enough light comes through to keep both balconies clear, but enough privacy to have my own little haven. I have one at the moment, but haven't put it up yet. A trellis fence this size is really cheap, just a few dollars. All she had to do was fit a bit of garden wire around the lower part, and attach it to the balcony joints. When the sun is shining down it leaves a lovely latticed pattern over the whole balcony. I will put mine up in a few weeks time just before I start placing the plant pots outside.
My favorite flower in all the world is the Sweet Pea. The smell is just wonderful. So I added as many as I could. it was easy to do. Just plant them in a long container and attach them as they grow, to a piece of thin wood. Also bought from the garden centre.
Each and everyone of them grew so high they ended up cascading down over the balcony. And when I opened my back door the smell just wafted through, and made my whole house smell like summer.
Sweet Peas are probably the easiest flower to grow as you can plant them more or less anywhere and they keep on coming up again. I will be the first person to admit that I am useless at knowing the names of plants, or how to grow them, but after a bit of coaching from my friend, I seem to have got the hang of it now!
We have always had Coleus plants in our house. Mainly dotted around the window ledges and by the front door. In fact one of them is so big, visitors have to virtually step over it to come in! But they are a really good perennial plant. They originate from hotter climates such as Africa, Australia and Asia, but seem to do better in shady areas.
In colder climates they are annual plants. They adapt very well to a nice shady warm spot on a balcony in summer. They are really easy to grow, simply sprinkle the seeds onto the surface soil and press them down. Don't cover the seeds as they need light to grow.
To keep them moist, spray with water then cover them with see through plastic, or just plant them in the ground, and lightly spray with water. It will take about two weeks for them to appear.
Mix and Match Flower Containers
The one thing I love about my balcony is the fact that I can fit up to four containers within it. Small ones to the left and right, and larger ones for the length. Once again all it takes is a trip to the garden centre, and you will be well away.
But of course you don't need to buy containers. I have seen some wonderful displays of flowers placed within an old tyre. All you need to do is cut the tyre in half, add the soil and peat and voila' a wonderful, novel container. I remember seeing a bright yellow one, that had been painted. Can you imagine a garden full of multi colored tyres full of flowers? Wonderful!
Green Fingered or Light Fingered Gnome!
Now the trouble is, when you have an amazing garden, whether it be outside your back door, or on your balcony, there is always going to be a troublemaker trying to steal your plants! I mean, lets be honest here! You lock the front door, hide the key, check that dogs and cats can't come in and mess up all your hard work. But then suddenly you hear a noise,and, creeping towards the door, you fling it open and catch the thief in the act! Bam! Like a rabbit in the spotlight! Or in this case, a green fingered gnome trying to pick a leaf for his tea!
So I hired the Heavies!
Well, what was I supposed to do? Its bad enough trying to keep the plants safe from insects, mold, bad weather and just about anything else! I knew they existed, but for goodness sake go and bother someone else will you.
So I did the only thing I could think of! I got in touch with Gnome Investigations and they said they would send me their best Gnome bouncers! Trouble is, nobody told me that they were a sullen lot. I tried to get them to smile, but to no avail. Until I took the photo!
Hanging Baskets and Attached Flower Pots
The one thing that you need on a small balcony is space. You need to be able to sit outside, and also tend to the flowers. As you can see from the photo, I have placed another coleus in the attached pot.
This is a great way to make the most of your balcony, and of course not clutter up the floor area with too many pot plants. I also have a hanging basket, which I recently bought. They are easy to attach.
For the hanging basket, don't just bang a nail into the wall, it needs to be bracketed properly. I asked my friend to do it for me. One reason being that I am so short I didn't want to fall over the balcony! Lovely flowers, shame about Nell! lol!
With the balcony bracket, you can either place a nail, which isn't very nice to look at, or in this case I used a coat hook. It was perfect, and completely fitted into the slot in the back of the pot. You can buy these pot holders from the garden centre. They make a wonderful addition to your balcony garden.
Who Needs A Garden? We Do!
My balcony area is approximately 6ft by 4ft. But by incorporating different pots, flowers, plants and of course those wonderful gnomes, its seems to be much bigger. I also have a lovely view over the balcony, so by adding my little patch of garden, it feels as though I am part of the whole picture. Don't worry about over cluttering it. As long as you have enough room to sit, or walk around, then its never too much.
A couple of years ago, most of my plants were actually herbs. I potted them inside the house and as they started to grow, we took them outside. I don't have a lot of gardening knowledge but somehow I managed to produce some wonderful Mint, Parsley and Thyme. The Mint was gorgeous! I could smell it when I opened the door, and couldn't resist bringing some inside. I kept rubbing the leaves in my fingers, and it smelled gorgeous.
Then I remembered reading somewhere that Mint was a good way to get rid of flies! So I brought some in, and attached it to the living room light. Luckily my light is one of those that has blades and a tassle cord, so I tied the Mint to the cord. At first the flies were curious, then after a few days they were gone! Talk about result! Beautiful garden balcony, lovely herbs and no flies! Winner!
I have also got a bird table in the left hand corner, where I can sit and watch the birds come to feed. Its amazing how quickly they get used to you sitting there. As long as you are quiet, and don't move too quickly, they will stay there for ages. I have actually sat there when the tiny Gold Crest birds decided to come and take a look. They are so small, I was desperately trying to get my camera, without scaring them!
And the squirrels have been known to climb up my balcony, rush across the back ledge, and grab the food! Then jump down, scurrying back across the grass, and up the tree! All I need now is a Kite to come over for a quick bite and I'm history! lol! Have you seen the size of their wingspan?
Seriously, If you want know How To Turn Your Balcony Into A Beautiful Garden, without spending a fortune, just try out some of the tips above. You really don't need a huge space to have a garden you can be proud of.
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© 2012 Nell Rose