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May 17, 2012, 4:14 pm betterhomesgardens
Balcony gardens are a new trend taking cities by storm and these design ideas and plant choices will help you maximise your outdoor space.
Balcony gardens are precious spaces, so deserve lots of creative attention. Far from being restricted by their size, they offer wonderful opportunities to create delightful outdoor rooms. And, being compact, they can be kept in perfect shape with minimal effort.Secret to balcony garden success
The secret to success is to choose a style, then find furniture, plants and ornaments to create that look. This formal-style balcony garden is a great example of what you can achieve with a little imagination and the right plant selection. Be inspired by these ideas and create your own urban sanctuary, enlivened with plants and objects you love.
1. Indulge in a few truly stunning potted containers to create focal points. This luscious planting combination includes silver-leaved senecio, blue lobelia, white violas and string of beads (Senecio rowleyanus).
2. You can soften any hard angles with containers, ornaments and statues.
3. A blank wall is such an opportunity! This beautiful French-style mirror and shutters frames a trickling fountain with the reservoir and small pump cleverly hidden at the base. C’est magnifique!
4. Add oodles of detail to give your balcony real personality. This lovely idea is easy to borrow – plant a Victorian-style urn with mini-mondo grass and sit it on a plinth.
5. Any decorative vessel can become a gorgeous plant holder for an outdoor table. Just sit a plastic-potted bloomer inside.
6. There are plenty of attractive flowering shrubs to suit the shadier corners of a balcony. Fuchsias thrive in partial shade and need protection from hot winds and afternoon sun.
7. You can break up the straight edge of a balcony railing with a delightful idea like this. A weathered stone bench acts as a support for a bonsai wisteria, which in spring produces a mass of beautifully perfumed purple flowers.
8. On a tiny balcony you can still enjoy a small tree such as a Japanese maple, simply by allowing its foliage to spread out beyond the railing. Just place a square pot hard against the edge and trim back any inward growing branches as needed.9. The dwarf magnolia ‘Little Gem’ makes a beautiful balcony tree. It’s evergreen, hardy and bears large, fragrant white blooms in summer. Give it a spot with reasonable sun.
10. Your garden favourites can still lend their beauty to your balcony space, such as this dwarf flowering cherry. Planted in a large tub and positioned in one of the sunnier parts of the small space, it flowers in spring and turns a rich yellow in autumn.
11. For a pleasing colour injection, choose a few glazed pots in vibrant shades and sit them on pot feet to avoid staining the tiles. Here, a clipped Lonicera nitida looks super.
- Climbing plants are an excellent space-saving option on balconies, especially to cover end walls. Plant them in semi-circular wall pots or narrow troughs and provide a frame of lattice or mesh for species that need support.Practical tips:
- Because there’s not a lot of space on a balcony, you’ll need to be extra tidy when you’re potting up. Spread newspaper (broadsheet is best!) over a decent-sized area to create a working zone for removing seedlings and shrubs from their pots. Carefully scoop potting mix into containers and, once the plants are positioned, use a small trowel (or an old tablespoon) to backfill around the plants. When you’re finished, gather up the edges of the newspaper and pour any spilled potting mix back into its bag.'Like' us on Facebook