The renter lifestyle offers a lot of flexibility, but it usually comes with a few downsides, as well. As renting remains very popular in urban cores, there is an unfortunate chance that you won’t have much access to green space or the ability to grow your own produce around your home. However, if you have a balcony, there is something you can do about it.
With the right tools and planning, a balcony garden will change the look and feel of your rental, as well as give you a boost of energy and vitality. Although there is not one, foolproof trick for all balcony gardens, there are some easily adaptable ideas you can use to turn this extension of your rental into a green oasis of health.
1. Define the style and purpose of your garden
Depending on the size and position of your balcony, you can opt for a garden full of spices and small vegetables, a flower garden, or a low-maintenance garden. It really depends on how much light comes in and how much time you have to tend to the plants.
There are also a variety of ways in which you can decorate the space, so think about how you want to use it. If you plan to enjoy a cup of coffee on your balcony or relax with a good book, you’ll need to leave room for a table and chairs. Make a seamless transition from interior to exterior by blending the designs together, and add some lights to transform the balcony into a tranquil space at night. This will make you want to spend more time relaxing in your rental apartment.
2. Choose the plants and the planters
For aesthetic purposes, it’s important that the pots you use blend in with the décor of the balcony. Opt for terra cotta pots, either in their natural, reddish hues or painted. Or, upcycle old crates or build your own pots out of cement. Whatever you choose, make sure that they have proper drainage and are compatible with the types of plants you want to put in them.
You can plan for a garden with fruits and herbs if you have a sunny balcony that also offers protection from overexposure. Citrus trees, cherry tomatoes, and spices of all kinds—from oregano and thyme, to rosemary, basil, and sage—do great in these conditions. Lavender also grows beautifully, and it spreads a pleasant fragrance.
If you want a flower garden, try to consider the color palette. Green will be the main shade, so build upon it with complementary colors. Pansies and begonias have a nice variety of shades, as well as petunias, fuchsias, and geraniums. If your balcony has less sunlight, incorporate ferns and ivy to create a lovely green area.
3. Start small and work your way up
Especially if you are inexperienced with plants, it’s best to start small. Begin with a couple of plants and slowly add to your garden to determine how the plants will adjust to the balcony environment. In time, you’ll figure out the perfect layout.
Make use of the balcony’s vertical space for spices, which don’t require a lot of room. In the corners of the balcony, place tall, low-maintenance plants, which will grow and provide some shade without being damaged by the position. Be sure to leave room for seasonal additions, as well, which will change every few months.
Use quality soil and research how to care for different types of plants. Beautify the space by adding white pebbles or wood chips on top of the soil. Add a faux-grass rug to really bring the place together, or keep it simple with more exposed wood and a rustic feel. It’s important that you can relax in the space, since the main purpose of a balcony garden is to offer you a healthy respite.
About the author: Mihaela is a passionate reader and writer, with an affinity for language and linguistics, as well as the latest technological developments. She discovered her passion for real estate at RENTCafé, and you can read more of her articles on their blog.