There are plenty of balcony gardens on Instagram and these look beautiful, however what are the key things you need to know to create a stunning, yet practical balcony garden?
One of the best ways to enhance your balcony is to create a balcony garden. A balcony garden can provide a number of benefits, including improving air quality, reducing stress, and providing somewhere for you to enjoy the outside. However, creating a balcony garden can also be challenging, particularly if you have limited space and weight restrictions.
However, with careful planning and the right tools and materials, you can create a beautiful and thriving balcony garden.
Firstly, many balconies have a weight restriction so heavy materials like paving may not be suitable, so consider:
- Composite decking – Made from a mixture of natural wood and resin so will not rot or decompose. Lightweight and easy to install on a wooden or composite frame. Composite decking is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional wooden decking. It's durable, low maintenance, and long-lasting. Composite decking comes in a variety of colours and styles, allowing you to customise your balcony to your own personal style. It is also resistant to fading, staining, and mould, making it a great option for outdoor use.
- Artificial grass – If you love the look of a green lawn but don't have the option of maintaining a real one, artificial grass is a great option for your balcony. It is low maintenance and requires no watering, mowing, or fertilising. Artificial grass comes in a variety of styles and textures, from soft and fluffy to more realistic-looking options. It is also pet-friendly and provides a soft surface for your furry friends to play on. Ensure the surface of the balcony is perfectly flat and then the grass can be glued down. If the balcony has ridges on the surface, firstly lay down marine plywood or rubber matting (similar to that used in stables) ensuring there is a slight run-off for rainwater, then lay the grass on top securing around the perimeter
- Flexstone – Flexstone is a modern and versatile option for your balcony flooring. It is made from a flexible stone veneer that is applied directly onto your existing balcony surface. Flexstone comes in a variety of colours and textures, allowing you to customise your balcony to your own personal style. It is also resistant to cracking, chipping, and fading, making it a durable and long-lasting option for your balcony. To install as a surface covering, you need to be sure the surface of your balcony is perfectly smooth. It’s easy to install and may be bonded down with adhesive. Its flexible qualities mean it is lightweight and easy to cut and install and it can also be used as wall covering.
If your balcony can cope with the weight of paving, consider porcelain paving for your balcony as its clean modern design and consistent thickness makes a great choice of paving material. Porcelain paving comes in a variety of colours and textures, allowing you to create a unique look for your balcony. One of the benefits of porcelain paving is that it is easy to clean and maintain, making it a great option for busy lifestyles. It is also resistant to water and frost, making it ideal for outdoor use. With porcelain paving, there are lots of choices of colour and style from those that look like stone, to wood effects and mosaic tile style. These create a look that is unique to you and your personal design tastes.
If you are able to use paving with its extra weight, then it may not be possible to lay this with sand and cement and in these cases, it’s often necessary to lay using pedestals. These are risers that are positioned under key points of the paving in order to support it and then the paving is suspended on top. There are adjustment sections to allow you to level off the finished surface. This can be particularly useful if you have uneven or sloping surfaces on your balcony. Pedestal installation also allows for better drainage, preventing water from pooling on your balcony.
The important thing to note when using pedestals is that not all paving is suitable, and it will need to be a certain thickness in order to comply with safety regulations. As a guide, porcelain paving at 20mm thickness will be suitable, as will sandstone over 30mm, granite over 25mm and these are usual guidelines for good quality paving materials.
Although there's no reason not to use natural stone, bear in mind that there will always be slight tolerances on dimensions whereas with porcelain, these are usually far less, so fewer height adjustments will be needed. Also, natural stone may have veins which can be stress points when used in a suspended manner, so although the stated thicknesses will almost certainly be acceptable, there could be exceptions to the rule.
Once you have created your balcony garden, it's time to add some finishing touches to make it even more beautiful and inviting. Here are some ideas for finishing touches that you can add to your balcony garden:
Lighting: Adding lighting to your balcony garden can create a cosy and inviting atmosphere, especially in the evening. You can add string lights, lanterns, or solar-powered lights to create a warm glow.
Cushions and pillows: Adding cushions and pillows to your balcony seating area can make it more comfortable and inviting. Choose weather-resistant materials that can withstand the elements.
Outdoor rug: Adding an outdoor rug to your balcony can add texture and colour to your space, as well as create a cosy atmosphere. Choose a rug made from weather-resistant materials that can withstand moisture.
Decorative pots and planters: Adding decorative pots and planters can add colour and texture to your balcony garden. Choose pots and planters that complement the style of your garden and are large enough to accommodate your plants.
Wind chimes: Adding wind chimes to your balcony garden can create a calming and soothing atmosphere, as well as add a decorative touch. Choose wind chimes made from materials that can withstand the elements, such as metal or bamboo.
Garden ornaments: Adding garden ornaments, such as statues, fountains, or bird baths, can add a decorative touch to your balcony garden. Choose ornaments that complement the style of your garden and are weather-resistant.
Herb garden: Adding a herb garden to your balcony can not only provide you with fresh herbs for cooking, but it can also add a decorative touch. Choose herbs that are well-suited to your balcony environment and plant them in decorative pots.
In conclusion, creating a balcony garden can be a great way to bring some greenery and life to your outdoor space, even if you live in an urban area with limited outdoor space. When planning your balcony garden, it's important to consider the unique challenges that come with growing plants in a small outdoor space, such as limited space, lack of sunlight, and exposure to wind and weather in addition to any weight restrictions applied that may limit the choices of surface finish you choose as balcony flooring.
However, with careful planning, the right plants, and some creative solutions, you can create a beautiful and functional balcony garden that brings joy and relaxation to your daily life. From composite decking to artificial grass, porcelain paving, and Flexstone, there are plenty of options for balcony flooring that can help create a solid foundation for your garden.
Additionally, with the right finishing touches, such as lighting, cushions and pillows, decorative pots and planters, and garden ornaments, you can add personality and style to your balcony garden, making it a true extension of your indoor living space.
Ultimately, the key to success with a balcony garden is to have fun, experiment with different plants and design ideas, and enjoy the beauty and tranquility that your outdoor space can bring.
We hope we have inspired you, but please contact us for further assistance.