A report from the Royal Horticulture Society reveals that more than 85% of us Brits reside in towns and cities – and many of us live in properties without traditional gardens. We all know that access to a garden in urban areas is important, as they have a real impact on our wellbeing, so if your garden space is limited, fear not – there’s plenty of scope to create one on a balcony (or even a window ledge).
Here are six ideas to get you excited about setting up a garden on your balcony.
1. Three is the Magic Number
If you’re working with a small space, stick to a palette of no more than three colours (and use green as a base colour). It’s easy for a balcony garden to look over-crowded, so limiting yourself to just three complementary colours will help to make your balcony more restful retreat than urban jungle. Check out this guide from Floristry Expert for more information.
2. Artificial Turf
Artificial turf can be a great option for the balcony gardener – it requires minimal upkeep and gives instant impact. Although it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, artificial turf is usually the only viable option for the more industrial-type city balconies. Just look at this cool post from Fennel and Fern if you don’t believe us!
3. Implement Top Dressing
When you’re working with such a small space, it’s important to keep everything neat and tidy – even more so than with a traditional garden. Top dressing on your containers, whether it’s with pebbles, slate, or wood chips, is an easy way to tidy them up. It also helps prevent weeds from growing and stops soil prematurely drying out.
4. Minimalist Potato Patch
Growing your own potatoes, carrots, turnips and other root veg doesn’t require a huge field. It’s totally possible to cultivate your own potato patch on your balcony with the help of a potato bag – we particularly like the Botanico Spud Bag, which has a pull-down section for easy access to the vegetables. They require just compost, seeds, water and sunlight – the bags can help you grow a selection of veg for stews, pies and Sunday roasts from your balcony or terrace.
5. Plant Vertically and Horizontally
One of the most important lessons for the balcony gardener is to think beyond the floor space when planning out your garden. Plant up walls, alongside balcony rails and hang containers from overhead surfaces; the balcony gardener needs to be creative with space!
London-based garden specialists Capital Gardens explain the benefits: “Vertical gardening can help small areas like balconies really come to life. Almost all surfaces can be used to grow attractive and sweet-smelling plants; just be sure to water them often, as vertical gardens – especially if they’re on a sunny balcony – tend to dry out quickly.”
6. Think Practical
Before ordering large trees and ornate flower pots for your balcony, it is important to check the load-bearing capacity of the balcony. Hire a structural engineer to advise you about how much weight your balcony can withstand so your garden doesn’t crash down upon the balcony below.
If you have any more balcony garden advice to share, please let us know in the comments below!