Monday, May 11

Episode 2: Seven Tips on How to Design your Tiny Balcony!

I decided to use my fountain as a planter 

Tip One: Decide what your design priority is. Are you a plant addict and want to fill the whole space with plants, or do you have another usage for the space?  One big question is if you want some kind of seating. Even in a small space, it is possible to have a tiny chair, bench, or stool to rest or enjoy your tiny garden. In my case, my design priory is my dog. I wanted a place to let him go to potty if I can't walk him for some reason, I also wanted a secure play area for my rabbit. My top considerations were safety of the balcony for my pets and privacy. 

I used shade-tolerant plants

Tip Two: Commit to an overall garden theme. This is important even in a small space like a tiny balcony, but unlike a large balcony, it takes a lot less to make a big impact. Accessories that can add to the theme of your balcony include pots, screens, types of plants, lights, and other garden accessories. I decided on a zen kind of look with the bamboo fence and an old fountain that I decided to plant in just because it was too heavy to use as a fountain on my tiny balcony walls.

Coleus add summer-long color via their leaves

Tip Three: Realize that you will make mistakes that can easily be fixed quickly on a tiny balcony. So don't worry if something does not look right.  For example, I decided to try some of those grow bags that are popular now. I ordered them in a green color that I ended up hating. They also took up more space than I had planned. Every time I went out to work on the balcony it would bother me so I replaced them with simple, and cheap black nursery pots. Another mistake I made was with the grass, but that is another post for another episode.

Small succulents that were given to me by a neighbor

Tip Four: Create a plant list and be realistic about how many plants you need'. It is a tiny balcony so you can't plant everything you want. Think about which plants you really like, their space requirements, and your design theme. Your budget is also an important consideration. Make sure to carry that list with you as you never know when you will spot a great plant. Yes, small plants and varieties make sense in a tiny balcony garden but don't disregard the strong statement a few larger plants or a miniature tree can make.

Headboard used as a trellis for hanging and climbing plants

Tip Five: Use what you have on hand for garden accents and decorations instead of spending money. Do you have any cups or bowls that can be used as pots? You will be surprised what you can come up with. I just completed a big move and had a headboard that I did not have a place for. I turned it sideways against a wall to hang a few hanging pots and will train a climber on it.

A hanging basket planted with  Inpatients

Tip Six: There is more space than you think if you get creative. Think about using your vertical space like walls where you can add hanging plants or climbers.  Can you use the ceiling for hanging plants?
Can you add pots to the walls? Also, make sure you know exactly how much space you have by measuring before you buy plants or seating. 

Potted annuals and perennials

Tip Seven:  Be patient. Even a tiny balcony garden needs time to grow and mature. Such is the case with my garden. The plants are just now growing so it is not what the garden will look like in another month or so. For the next episode, I will talk about what I am growing. Do you have a tiny balcony? If so how do you use it?

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