Five Ways to Beautiful and Productive Balcony Gardens

August 16, 2010

Rastafarian Balcony Garden - Jamacian radio station
Rastafarian Balcony Garden – Jamacian radio station by cecilia macaulay

Like millions of people, I live in a city apartment with limited access to land. Fortunately, like millions of people again, I have an outdoor balcony, and it’s a growing opportunity not to be missed.

This weekend I really took the time to clean my balcony, take stock of what pots I have, and decide what I want to grow this summer. My main objective is to produce the most food possible, but also to create a beautiful sanctuary, where I can enjoy my morning tea or read a book.

I wanted some inspiration for this project, so I went looking around the web for ideas on how other people created their balcony getaways. Here you go, a gallery of beautiful and inspiring balcony gardens we can learn from.

1. Use Your Vertical Space

What makes balcony gardens special is that they don’t usually offer much room to spread out, but we do have lot’s over vertical space! Some creative thinking and constructing can really extent our growing area, and below are a few examples.

Our small balcony garden.jpg
Our small balcony garden by jfeuchter

Balcony garden
Balcony garden by sniffles

Balcony Garden
Balcony Garden by boboroshi

2. Up Against the Wall

Another special characteristic of balcony gardens is the presence of large stone or concrete structures. My balcony is all stone with ceramic tile floors. As a result, it gets extremely hot in summer, and I have to take measures to keep my plants cool. I don’t put pots directly on the tiles, but rise them up by placing them on inverted pot dishes. I also give the plants and the floor a light shower around 4-5pm when the stones begin to release their heat.

However, there is an advantage to having stone next to the plants. I can grow tomatoes almost all year round! Even in the winter the bricks and stones absorb and hold the heat really well, extending growing seasons and even allowing out-of-season crops to grow.

(Chillies love heat!)
Taipei Pepper Pot
Taipei Pepper Pot by Prince Roy

balcony greenhouse
balcony greenhouse by jlenneras

3. The Bold and the Beautiful

Don’t be afraid to add some colour! Painting your table and chairs in contrasting bright colours can really complement the green and lush surroundings and give you a boost of energy you might need in the morning. Plus, it just makes me smile.

for apartment therapy
for apartment therapy by gorgeoux

4. Mixing It Up

To add visual interest to the garden, we can use plants and pots of varying shapes and heights. I found that an array of tiered elements makes for a very effective and appealing look. Variety of colourful plants and flowers also has an added benefit of confusing pests, so they can’t find your baby basil tucked under an umbrella of marigolds.

Middelburg: flower balcony
Middelburg: flower balcony by docman

umbrella tree
umbrella tree by gorgeoux

5. The Natural Look

Wood works really well on patios and balconies, especially if it’s left in its natural colour.

My Balcony Garden
My Balcony Garden by dawn_perry

Gardening on the balcony
Gardening on the balcony by suzettesuzette

All images used in this post are licensed under Creative Commons license. Many thanks to the generous artists!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cree June 17, 2013 at 4:23 am

Great ideas! It’s surprising how much can be done with a small space. :)

2 Tatyana May 11, 2013 at 2:08 am

That’s great! I hope things grow lush and fragrant.

3 Raffo May 11, 2013 at 12:39 am

I have a small porch here in Pennsylvania and I got a lot of Ideas from your blog, thanks for the pictures and your time…

4 Tatyana August 18, 2010 at 9:17 am

Thank you, gorgeoux, for not keeping this beauty to yourself and sharing it under CC license :) What caught my eye first was the colour and the element of whimsy in your arrangements (ohhh, I just LOVE that red tea-pot!). It’s also the bold use of elements, making a strong statement…I like that. Like I said, it makes me smile.

5 gorgeoux August 17, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Tatyana, thank you so much! I feel quite lucky with two photos in your post. I’d love to learn what caught your eye/ why you picked them :)

6 Tatyana August 17, 2010 at 9:52 am

Hi gorgeoux, thanks for pointing this out! I’ve swapped the photos and links as you’ve requested. What a beautiful and wonderful arrangement you’ve created!! I absolutely love those pots :)

7 gorgeoux August 16, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Hi, and thanks! It turns out you also featured a second photo that belongs to me but was uploaded to Flickr again by someone else: I’d be grateful if you credited me and linked back to the original, while they remove the copy. The pink table, blue chairs, and umbrella tree have shared the balcony for a summer :)

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