Not everyone has a big garden with flower beds, a running lawn, and shady trees to sit underneath. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful and thriving garden on your balcony or patio.
That’s right. Even with a tiny amount of space, you can create a beautiful green area that will help you feel connected to nature. From succulent bowls and vertical gardens to adding shelves along your walls, the limit is your imagination.
Of course, it may not be as easy as it seems. Balconies have very unusual environmental conditions to take into consideration. Sometimes they may be susceptible to high winds, intense sunlight, or be very shady. These all need to be taken into account before you get started.
In this post, we share tips and best practices for starting a garden on your balcony or any other small space you have. You will be surprised at the wide range of veggies, herbs, perennials, and vines you can grow in small spaces and containers.
Best practices for balcony gardens
You’re not reinventing the wheel here. Balcony gardens need the same TLC as regular gardens do. That means they need enough sunlight and water and perhaps some compost too.
Know your environmental conditions
What’s the weather like on your balcony or patio? Take a look at your temperatures and the environmental conditions of your space. Know your area’s usual weather pattern—when is the rainy season, what kinds of temperatures do you get? What are your balcony’s conditions like—do you get all-day sun, high winds, too much shade? If winter is too cold, can you bring some of your plants inside during harsh weather? Once you know the answer to these questions, you can find an expert to help you figure out what will grow in your space.
Know your limits
Do you have the time to keep your garden? Having a green balcony is one thing; maintaining it is another. In a small garden, maintenance is even more vital. Since your plants are in containers, water management becomes even more critical. You’ll want to encourage your plants to get bushy but not so wild they take over your space. That means you should fertilize, remove dead flower heads from plants, and pinch back any plants that need it. If you’re looking for good fertiliser, find one free from chemicals and made with natural ingredients. This way, you’ll know nutrients are being added to your soil. If this all sounds too much for you, choose plants that need the least amount of care.
Know what your plants need
Okay, so you don’t have a large enough area to create your own compost, but you know it’s good for your plants and good for the planet. Now what? You can make compost tea from a worm bin! All you need to do is buy a vermicompost system from your local nursery or hardware store, and you’ll have nutrient-rich worm castings in no time. It’s as easy as feeding the worms your chopped-up leftovers, and they do all the work creating a nutrient-rich tea for your plants. Another bonus, this system won’t bring any unwanted smells to your place either.
Why is composting so important?
Compost allows the soil to hold more water and encourages drainage. It will also keep any weeds at bay and add nutrients to your soil. If you’re in an apartment, though, composting can be tricky as you need a decent outside area to drop your kitchen waste and mix it with straw, hay, wood chips or your dead leaves. However, if you do have some space to do your outside composting, adding a universal compost accelerator to your composting material will activate and accelerate the process. Go on, give it a try.
Know how to create adequate drainage
Watering on a balcony can be tricky. You don’t want your whole area soaked every day. So whatever arrangement you have your plants settled into—be it pots, balcony planters, built-in shelves, or vertical gardens—you’ll need a way to ensure they are watered regularly and drain properly.
- All pots, railing planters, and containers need to have drainage holes. They should also have a saucer or tray underneath with a layer of pebbles to contain the draining water.
- Install a simple drip irrigation system that will systematically turn on a pump and drip water into all your containers. Your containers will still need water drains, though.
- Look into self-watering pots as an option if you don’t have time to water your plants regularly.
- Choose drought-tolerant plants for more infrequent watering.
Balcony layout ideas
Not sure how to start creating a beautiful balcony garden? Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing.
You’re going to want to maximise the space you have. It’s no good having a beautiful garden on your balcony and nowhere to sit. So, put up hanging balcony planters and window boxes where you can.
Hide a wall
Now here’s a great way to create some privacy. Incorporate your plants to hide your wall or railing, or even build up with some trellis for climbing flowers and vines. And these can double up as shelter from the wind.
Make a shelf
Install shelves along your walls, and go as high up as you can. This will give you further scope to create some green space, even if it’s just for small succulents or herbs.
Find out what your local nursery can offer in the way of vertical wall planters and railing planters. Or get creative by hanging baskets or stacking your pots on ladders.
Sometimes we all need a little help to grow our plants, even if we have a green thumb. And that’s where BIOGROW comes in. BIOGROW products are made with natural ingredients to ensure they genuinely add the nutrients the soil needs. So if you want your balcony garden to thrive, consider our products to give your plants a boost.