If you long for a garden oasis but lack the sprawling backyard to make your dream a reality, all’s not lost. There are plenty of ways to turn a tiny urban pocket into your own lush retreat – take a peek at these easy ideas to make the most of a petite patio, balcony or outdoor area.
1. Build a vertical garden
Perfect for small balconies, vertical gardens provide beautiful greenery without taking up precious ground cover. They’re also great for breathing new life into cold, concrete-heavy urban apartments – layer colours and textures to make the space appear even bigger.
Hanging planters are great, but if you want to get serious you’ll need a pallet, which creates the ideal home for a sizeable balcony garden. When choosing your plants, look to colourful varieties such as begonias – which thrive in vertical gardens and add a pretty touch of pink, white or apricot –as well as Japanese iris, orchids and ivy geranium.
2. Mix and match pots
Why stick with terracotta when you can throw some concrete and copper into the mix? Make your own gilded concrete pots, style up existing terracotta pots with some paint and keep an eye out for rustic, secondhand finds. And be sure to think outside the square – tins, teacups and other upcycled vessels al make great balcony planters! Group them close together for maximum (space-saving) impact.
Succulents are the perfect low maintenance option for balcony gardens, and come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colours. Other fuss-free, sun-loving plants that enjoy balcony life are herbs, geraniums and pansies, while ferns, azalea and camellia varieties prefer their pots in the shade.
3. Create an indoor/outdoor connection
Opening up your home to the outdoors makes any alfresco space appear bigger, not to mention entices guests to wander outdoors. Blur the lines by bringing pot plants inside and hanging artwork outside, so that the look and feel remains the same throughout your home.
Ensuring there’s adequate seating is an important part of making an outdoor area feel like a proper room. An L-shaped sofa can be a great addition, however if furniture isn’t an option, offer stools, crates and oversized cushions for guests to perch on. Matching colours and materials with your indoor furniture can further help to create a seamless transition from living room to balcony.
4. Cosy up with textiles
Just because a space is small, doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to feel cosy and welcoming. Introducing some soft furnishings – think cushions, blankets and rugs – is a quick and inexpensive way to make an area warm and welcoming, not to mention adding some colour.
Look to hardwearing materials when choosing outdoor pieces, and opt for waterproof where possible – particularly if your balcony doesn’t have complete protection from the elements. Leather and linen are great durable options – just be sure to bring any items inside to avoid rain and sun damage when necessary.
5. Set the mood with lighting
The right lighting can completely transform the look and feel of an outdoor area. To create a little magic on a small balcony, string up some fairy lights – they take up barely any space and provide a soft, warm glow after the sun goes down. If your balcony is exposed to moisture, remember to choose only those designed for outdoor use.