With the arrival of summer, it’s the perfect time to get outside and work out your green thumb. But if you live in the city and don’t have a garden, don’t worry, you can still reap the benefits of outdoor living by creating a beautiful space with these balcony garden ideas.
Consider weather conditions, such as the amount of sunlight on the balcony and how windy it can be, when deciding which flowers to buy or grow. And if you’re not sure where to start, we asked the experts to share their balcony garden knowledge with us – just for you.
Below are our favorite ideas for the balcony garden – plus tons of advice and inspiration for design.
- See: Ideas for small gardens – clever designs to maximize a compact garden space
1. Get advice from a garden designer
Isabelle Palmer of. specializes in allotment gardens and the popular trend of planting pots The balcony gardener is cleverly positioned to transform bijou outdoor areas into “the fifth room”.
“When I moved to London, I had an apartment with two very small balconies – that was a contrast to the large garden I was used to and I wanted to recreate a piece of it in my new home.”
“At home I have a balcony and a larger garden, so I feel connected to containers or landscaping. Both are fun, but if I had to pick it it would be containers, the main benefit is instant gratification. ‘ Here, a selection of colorful vessels and pots – filled with fragrant plants – stands out against a simple backdrop.
2. Set up a special place for an oversized planter
Gardening on balconies can be more complicated than backyards as there is no soil to plant directly and it is often much smaller – but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beauty of plants and flowers.
Using containers and pots means you can place your plants anywhere in the room and is a great way to personalize and add color to a balcony. Adjust the size and number of pots to the space available and your taste. Lots of pots can add charm and personality, but you may prefer a more minimalist space with just an oversized planter, as shown here.
- See: Garden ideas in the courtyard – Transform a small or awkwardly shaped outdoor space
3. Add a table and chairs to a large balcony
A balcony garden is the perfect place to enjoy morning coffee or afternoon tea. So why not set up a cozy place to sit down?
This space mixes nature with surrounding structures – in a very original way. The style is wavy and looks like a beautiful picture. There is structure, but there is a wild harmony that fits the overall design ethos.
4. Create a fifth room with your balcony.
“When designing balconies, I proceed like any other room in the house,” advises Isabelle Palmer. “Customers tell me about the type of gardens they like and we try to make a condensed version of them. I’m picking up the style of the room that leads to the balcony. ‘
“Maybe there is a nice painting on the wall that influences the color choices of the plants. I imagine the garden as the fifth room and adapt the design to the aesthetics. The finished space should extend the house, so the interior design of small gardens and balconies is just as important as the garden design. ‘
5. Plant after sunlight
You need to take into account how much sunlight your balcony is getting. This can mean you need to place plants in specific locations and it also helps with plant selection. If you get sunlight most of the day, choose varieties like petunias or marigolds. If the sun is hard to come by, primroses and foxgloves would be good choices.
- See: How to plan a small garden – Make the most of a tiny outdoor space
6. Take the weather conditions into account
If your balcony is quite high, your plants may also have to withstand the harsh winds. If so, try to find more sheltered areas to place the plants. Plants that are deep and therefore less susceptible to wind, such as begonias, chrysanthemums, pansies, and succulents, should do better than taller plants like delphiniums.
7. Make yourself beautiful with picture-perfect pots
If you don’t have soil to plant directly in, containers are a great alternative and provide the conditions necessary for flowers to grow. You can choose between pots, hanging baskets and flower boxes. Containers are a great way to make your personality shine. For the environmentally conscious, you can use an old rubber boot as a container or find a brightly colored pot to add some joy and color to the room.
8. Keep the balcony plants hydrated
Plants need watering to survive and thrive. Think about the best way to do this. If possible, install an outside faucet that will save you from carrying water from inside the building. If this is not possible, think about the number of trips you will have to make and do not plant more plants than you are ready to water. It’s also a good idea to invest in a garden watering can to replenish thirsty plants.
9. Experiment with pots, plants and heights
Think about the direction in which you want to grow your plants. Using larger pots and growing vertically is easier and definitely a popular option for a balcony garden. Having multiple hanging baskets at different heights on a bare wall can be a great feature and could be the main focus of the room.
10. Choose the right colors for a small balcony
“Choose the colors you love, but don’t go too vivid – limit your palette to about three different colors that go well with each other,” advises Isabelle. “Lighter colored flowers really do open up a room, so put your lightest flowers in the farthest spot so your eyes are out.”
How do I set up my balcony garden?
How you design your balcony garden depends entirely on the amount of space available – and what you hope for in this additional space.
“Before this year, almost all briefs said ‘pretty and easy-care’ at the top, but now it’s about more,” says Isabelle. “Mindfulness and calm play a big role and people want to feel connected to nature – it’s about creating an inviting space for wild animals as well as family and friends.”
“The therapeutic element means that people like to spend a little more time growing and caring. The next year will be even more about multitasking. We expect our gardens to work a lot harder for us and become so much more than just a place to sit and have lunch. They are a fun place, workspace, vegetable garden, and healing retreat. ‘
Which plants grow well on a balcony?
The plants that grow well on a balcony depend on which direction the room is facing and how much sunlight it receives during the day.
“I would always start with an evergreen palette so you can maintain your garden year-round – choose plants like gymeas and yuccas, ivy and wax-leaf plants because they’re more durable when it comes to gardening,” says Isabelle. “Ferns are great, especially when you have a more shady area.”
How do I start a small balcony garden?
Planning a small balcony garden is easier than you think. With a little know-how, you are well on your way to creating a space that suits all of your needs.
“You first have to think about what you want to use the space for,” explains Isabelle. “Balconies are often incredibly small, so they’re usually a place to sit and relax. However, you can also use a garden balcony strategically to shield sections that you don’t necessarily want to see, which is often the case in cities. You can also make specific use of a balcony – to grow herbs or to eat something. Think about zoning your balcony and using the space for a specific purpose. ‘
“Ultimately, balcony gardening is all about having a little fun. Add plants that you like and don’t take it too seriously. Everyone fails, even the best gardeners, so you have to take things slowly and build confidence over time. ‘