It’s well known that gardening and spending time outdoors is good for your wellbeing. Not everybody is lucky enough to have a garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits, too. In fact, balcony gardening is definitely trending, and you can create a mood-boosting space on your balcony or even simply next to the window just by combining the right plants with on-point interior trends.
It was recently revealed that only 1 in 8 British households have access to a private garden space or patio. With lockdown forcing us to spend more time at home than ever before, and the proven health benefits of being around plants and in nature, balcony gardening and ‘gardenless’ gardening is a great way to get involved.
With 92k Instagram posts and 7,000 average monthly searches in the UK, balcony gardening is a trend that’s here to stay. But knowing where to start and how to create a cohesive overall space can seem like a daunting task.
But, don’t worry, the experts at Love The Garden have taken typical small spaces in the home and reimagined them in six different design themes including a ‘nomadic sanctuary’ and ‘wildlife oasis’, to get you started with some covetable inspiration.
Six beautiful balcony garden makeovers
See six different trends, how the look was created and which plants to buy to recreate the look with these before and after transformations below.
1. On-trend timber
With just a few touches and a little flourish, a functional outdoor living space can be transformed with the natural, organic feel that only wood can bring.
How to get the look: Use wood to create striking visual features that also enhance the functionality of your space. Importantly, complement the natural feel and look of the wood with other natural materials and of course, plenty of greenery.
Which plants to use: Rosemary, thyme, sage, lovage, viburnum tinus, polystichum setiferum (soft shield fern).
2. A minimalist retreat
Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference. This minimalist retreat uses sleek and simple design to make a feature of empty space. Nothing feels bare. In fact the space offers a calming, peaceful and tranquil environment. Bliss.
How to get the look: If you’re trying to recreate this look on your balcony opt for simple yet bold minimal plants. These should be your standout feature, and nothing should be overcrowded. When considering the colour palette, this look is all about greys and whites as the predominant colour. Think calming, simple and stylish.
Which plants to use: Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple), bamboo, Bonsai tree, eucalyptus, chamaerops humilis.
3. The nomadic sanctuary
Whether meditation is your thing, you simply want to evoke past memories of far-flung travel, or dream of your next adventure, you can re-imagine your city balcony to be anywhere in the world.
With a few simple design elements, the right accessories and of course the right plants you could be in Southeast Asia, South America, India, or wherever your imagination takes you.
This eclectic colourful space is inspired by global travel and evokes the warmth and colour of a real-life tropical retreat.
How to get the look: Key for this look and to create this gardenless garden is to use colour – and lots of it. Think terracotta pots, bright pops of colour on your soft furnishings (the more the better), and white lanterns. Opt for these key features but always make it your own eclectic mix, with some colourful plants too.
Which plants to use: New Guinea Impatiens, lady’s mantle, barrel cactus, fatsia japonica, chamaerops humilis.
4. A wildlife attraction
The best gardens are those teaming with plant and animal life. And guess what? It is possible to recreate this wildlife oasis high up overlooking skyscrapers and cityscapes. Here we’ve got a range of green and lush leaves and a selection of flowering plants mixed in with the greenery to act as an oasis for bees, butterflies and birds.
How to get the look: To create a wildlife oasis at home, you’ll need lots of plants. Make sure you have a good mix of flowering plants as well as shrubs and trees to provide cover. This should feel less styled than some of the other designs. The centre stage must be reserved for the plants and foliage.
Which plants to use: Jasmine, lavender, foxglove, honeysuckle, musk mallow, bay tree, hydrangea, salvia.
5. Bring the outdoors in
Even without a balcony to revamp into a beautiful outdoor sanctuary, a gardenless garden is always a possibility. Just simply bring the outdoors in.
Here, an indoor area as been brought to life and the existing natural light complemented with a good selection of indoor plants and greenery that truly bring a feeling of the outdoors inside. And with a few well-chosen accessories it quickly becomes an inviting and calming space.
How to get the look: A lot of houseplants are essential for this look. Hanging baskets are a great space-saving option, while larger plants that offer plenty of greenery help with the feeling of transitioning from inside to out. By using different surfaces and textures you can easily create something that has a similar feeling to a balcony.
Which plants to use: Snake plant, cast iron plant, Boston fern, philodendron, Jade plant, Pothos, peace lily, any succulents, dracaena, aloe vera, string of pearls, spider plant.
6. A luxurious living wall
Everyone’s heard of creating a statement wall in their home. But while this usually involves some brightly coloured paint or quirky wallpaper, consider taking the same approach on your balcony – but with plants. You can see here what’s possible with the right choice of greenery – and a living wall is a huge trend for 2020.
How to get the look: To get this look and ensure your living wall really stands out, it should be made the centrepiece of the space. It must immediately draw the eye, with the rest of the area designed with simplicity to enable the feature to sing. And remember, just opt for one striking wall to really make a statement.
More outdoor inspiration: Brilliant outdoor bars across the UK
Which plants to use: Adiantum (maidenhair fern), care oshimensis ‘evergold’ (sedge), fragaria ‘mara des bois’ (strawberry), galanthus (snowdrop), heuchera ‘purple petticoats’, liriope muscari (lilyturf), pachysandra terminalis (Japanese spurge), pelargonium peltatum (ivy-leaved geranium), Saxifraga x urbium (London pride), tiarella cordifolia (foam flower), vinca minor (lesser periwinkle).