Hi, I'm Shirley

Welcome to my blog on apartment living.  You can also visit my food blog where I share Recipes, stuff on Food Talk and Cooks' Resource. 

Create A Plan For Your Apartment Balcony Space

Create A Plan For Your Apartment Balcony Space

It's still winter in the northern hemisphere and a great time to make plans for your apartment outdoor space, whether it's a balcony, a porch or a terrace.  Here are five things you can start doing now.

1.  Decide On How You Want To Use the Space

This may seem like a no brainer but it's not really.  How you will use the space will determine what you put in the space the size of your budget.  Do you enjoy having meals outdoor?  Have some thoughts on entertaining in this space?  Do you like to garden: what type--just a little greenery; a little or lots of flowers; or do you want to do container gardening for herbs and vegetables.  Do you want to entertain a lot, a little or is this just your private get away.   

2.  Space Planning

Apartment Patio, an Annsliee Polyvore set

Apartment Patio, an Annsliee Polyvore set

You can get really exacting and grab a piece of graft paper.  Or you can just get a blank piece of paper.  Just be sure to keep your notes in a folder you can easily carry with you when you start to shop.  Measure the space you have.  Make a list of the outdoor furniture you would like to have.  Don't worry about space, just make the list and then edit based upon your priority.  

Here's a visual planner I had created last summer in Polyvore.   

3.  Patio Furnishings

Of course what furnishings you can put on your apartment porch will depend upon 1) the amount of space you have and 2) how you plan to use it.  Generally, uses will fall into four categories but more often a combination of these categories will complete your apartment balcony design:

  • Lounging and sunning
  • Dining 
  • Entertaining
  • Gardening

Personally, all of the above applies to my 10' x 16' screened-in porch.  For furnishing, I now have a Luyten bench and round table.  I have a rectangle studio table that can double as a larger table to seat up six guests with the round table serving as the sideboard.  To be added is a side table and lamp; corner shade garden (I have very little direct summer sun); an outdoor hutch; two chairs; and an outdoor rug.  (Hope to add photos by summer!)  

Here are five great examples of apartment porches, balconies and terraces large and small that make multiple use of the space.  The first two from Digs Digs.com feature storage benches.  More ideas to include storage areas are on that site under 29 Practical Balcony Storage Ideas.  Check them out!

Digs Digs.com The cushion laden bench is also storage. 

Digs Digs.com The cushion laden bench is also storage. 

Digs Digs.com

Digs Digs.com

4.  Plants and Trees

As you can see from that last image, a bistro seating arrangement surrounded by a lush garden is quite possible--with the appropriate amount of light.  I love the idea of a tree in a large pot on an apartment outdoor space.  I have a small red bark maple that I just love and enjoy all year round.  

I'll be writing separate posts on suitable plants and trees later but wanted to include it here for planning purposes.  The most important things to keep in mind for now are these:

  • Lighting:  do you get direct or indirect light?  Exposure to morning or afternoon sun and to wind and rain elements?  That is, do you have an overhead that will provide some protection for your plants or is your balcony completely expose?
  • Space for containers:  Most likely, you have more space than you think.  Not only are single containers your option but so too is vertical gardening and wall planting (see next image).
  • Soil:  will you purchase premix potting soil or mix your own?
  • Trust me, this isn't as difficult as it may start to read.  A good plan will make your garden easy to maintain and yield lots of enjoyment!

If, however, you're not inspired or feeling a bit intimidated, perhaps these next examples will set you to dreaming of your own balcony or terrace garden.

5.  Garden Containers  

Containers for your garden is a critical element to success, whether you choose an ornamental or edible container gardening or even both. Fortunately today, their are a great many choices.  What you choose will greatly depend upon your personal taste, space and most important--the plant.  

But here are four features to consider when choosing a container:

  • Size of the plant at purchase and it's mature stage
  • Water requirements of the plant (over watering can be just as damaging as under watering)
  • Does the container have drainage 
  • Container material, such as clay versus plastic

Get more apartment patio ideas from my post Tips And Inspirations For Your Apartment Balcony And Porch Decors.  

And don't forget to include in your plan space for your best animal friend:

Sybil's first grass patch--get instructions on Grows On You.com

Sybil's first grass patch--get instructions on Grows On You.com

Okay, your turn!  What's on your apartment balcony garden plans!  Please do tell because I would love to hear from you.

One more thing, sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter so you don't miss any of my future posts on creating a fabulous balcony living and garden space.

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