Living in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a garden. With a little thought and careful planning you can turn your balcony into a feast of flowers or a wonderful source of herbs, fruit and vegetables.
A well-planned balcony garden makes a huge impact on buyers. It provides an additional facet to your property they will rarely find elsewhere and can be attractive to potential tenants. However, it is important to avoid over-crowding your balcony with plants.
Prospective buyers will see a balcony first and foremost for its potential to offer outdoor eating, entertain guests and maximise the view.
Your garden should be low maintenance and tidy. Overgrown plants don’t make a good impression and might discourage you from using it.
Here are 12 tips to creating a wonderful balcony garden.
1. Check strata rules or your lease agreement to make sure you are allowed a balcony garden. There might be weight restrictions for items you can place on the balcony, or a ban on hanging baskets. Know your rights before going ahead.
2. Ask yourself how much time you will give to maintaining your garden. If you have a busy lifestyle, consider low-care plants. These might include succulents and herbs. Flowers and vegetables require watering every day.
3. Plan your garden carefully. Keep everything in proportion. If you have a small balcony, avoid making your balcony appear small by selecting big plants and big pots.
4. Only use the best soils. Unlike a house garden, your plants can only feed on the nutrients in their pots. Cheap soil will yield disappointing results.
5. Mulch like your life depends on it. Also, consider adding water crystals as a back-up for the times you can’t water them.
6. Consider the amount of sun your balcony receives and choose your plants accordingly. If you have a sun-trap, use only species that can handle constant heat. They’ll also have to deal with a lot of reflective heat from the walls. Consider a variety of plants such as coastal grasses, and succulents. Strawberries, lettuce, lavender, oregano, sage, mint and basil all handle the heat but will require daily watering.
7. If your balcony faces south or west, your plants will need to be wind-tolerant. Those in a windy position will require more watering than those protected from the wind.
8. For shady balconies, consider ferns, begonias, English ivy, fuchsia and peace lilies.
9. Vegetables are a fun, rewarding choice for a balcony garden. Popular choices include peas, tomatoes, strawberries, chillies, peppers, lettuce and zucchini and eggplant. Of course, you need to commit to a watering regime to keep them alive and thriving.
10. Fruits trees are a great option so long as they are closely cropped. Lemon, orange and apple trees can all be cultivated to grow in vertical columns, thus minimising the space they occupy while producing a healthy crop of fruit.
11. Water your plants slowly. If you are too impatient, the water will go straight through the soil and drain from the pot. It’s best to keep the soil moist as it better retains additional water.
12. Keep pots in saucers as they may stain the tiles on which they sit. That can be an expensive mistake, especially if you’re renting.
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