I grew up surrounded by plants and trees, most especially tropical fruit trees which I truly love. Talk about papaya, soursop, avocado, coconut and banana. There are pineapples, mangoes, starfruits and a lot more though I may have forgotten what they are exactly called. Now living in a city, in an apartment high above the ground, there’s just no way that I’d be able to have any tree at all. The most I can plant to have some greenery around our simple abode are ornamental plants and to make things smell sweeter, herbs and some smaller vegetables.
I’ve seen a lot of balcony photos on pinterest and pretty ones while out travelling and those have piqued my interest on how others are beautifying the balcony their home has. Our little balcony has had a lot of changes and here are some things you can also do or add to make your own balcony pretty.
There may be not much space in our balcony but with careful and calculated spacing, we’re able to have basil for spaghetti, dill for our fish dishes, parsley for carbonara and potatoes, thyme, oregano, capsicum and if they thrive; bell peppers, carrots and cucumber too. Oh, we also have grapes planted at a corner.
Planting herbs is not only beneficial in that sense. They also beautify one’s home and at times repel certain insects. Lemongrass and basil for example makes mosquitoes go away. Lavender, though rarely used for cooking, repel moths and fleas. Mice hate mint which smells really good. Sweet Woodruff or Potpourri plant as I call it deters moth, carpet beetles and at times, ants.
As if that’s not enough, these mini-plants are still beneficial even if you don’t need them. The discarded parts are good as compost.
Wood Floors and Artificial Grass
On a recent trip to Ikea, I’ve seen wood floors by the square meters at the garden section. I immediately thought that those would be perfect for small balcony spaces to give it a more homey feel. As they are easily removable, it makes the original floor easy to clean. (See right photo).
Another option for you in beautifying the balcony of your dreams would be AstroTurf, or more commonly known as artificial grass. Living in the upper floors mean not having a feel of the grass underneath your bare soles (not that those living below, do). I mean walking barefoot does have benefits for your health, and installing fake grass even on your balcony could bring you some of those good things.
Walking barefoot on grass is a natural way to bring down inflammation if one is suffering from an injury or disease. It also improves the nervous system, and induce a number of stimulation to improve blood flow that brings about good physical benefits. Also, looking at anything green around you gives you comfort, and a relaxing feeling.
Planters, Flowering Plants and Succulents
There are planters specifically for hanging on balcony railings and these are great to add to save flooring space. The most beautiful plants for such planters are pelargoniums, asters, hydrangeas, hibiscus, small roses, and I’ve had tulips at some point too.
Nowadays, succulents are very prolific and it’s also very easy to maintain, you can easily add them on a corner shelf or on the window pane outside to add more green elements on your balcony. They have also become an added income-generator to some. They are easy to propagate so some friends of mine have been selling them off.
Rattan and Palette Furniture
There’s always a space for a chair or a homemade corner sofa with a cushion of your favorite color. Pallet furniture has been popular outdoor additions to balconies, terraces, and patios. Rattans are also another option, they look elegant and cozy and are also durable. You can add either of these two to add both functionality and appeal to any outdoor area.
You can also add a corner table, or a functional coffee-tray table for when you want to enjoy your mornings out with a cup of joe.
Candle lanterns, Salt Crystals, Floor Pillows, Rugs, String Lights
At times, minimal furniture does not apply for the balcony, you can splurge and put a lot of things to make it cozy and even extra-beautiful. Adding elements of light will make the atmosphere in your balcony romantic at night. To keep it safe, use candle lanterns instead of (open) candle holders to minimize/avoid the danger of starting fire. If candles aren’t for you, opt for string lights.
Salt crystals are another element that’s not only nice for the eyes, their good for your health too. Light up a candle in one while reading a book and have yourself feeling invigorated.
Summer, breezy afternoons could make you feeling sleepy, and pillows or cushions are your friends on those days. But floor pillows add both functionality and color to your balcony. You can stick to a theme color or go all the way flashy and bright with your choice of pillows. If you opt for plain ones, then at least get a splashy rug for a comely contrast.
For us, summer doesn’t last a long time. It is thus justifiable to be extravagant when it comes to balcony space. You can certainly beautify the balcony for less, and it would be pleasing, but there’s also no rule to not splurge if you can.