Balcony garden makeover ideas and expert tips

While so much of our country bunker down and settles into more time spent indoors and at home, there’s no better time to transform even the smallest of our outdoor or living spaces into calm and green retreats.

It’s a proven fact that mental and physical wellbeing can be significantly enhanced by spending time outdoors in green spaces. Not everyone, however, has the luxury of a private garden space to enjoy. With approximately one in ten households in Australia having no access to a private or shared garden, it’s time to get a little creative. 

With 533k Instagram posts and over 10,000 average monthly searches in Australia, #balconygarden is a trend that’s here to stay, say the experts at Love the Garden. They’ve taken typical small spaces in the home such as a windowsill or apartment balcony and re-imagined them in six on-trend interior design themes and detailed which plants to buy to recreate the look for your own peaceful oasis. 

Related article: Create a stylish outdoor haven with these modern furniture pieces

Ways with wood

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A basic balcony can be transformed into somewhere to relax and entertain with a natural feel by using wood to create striking visual features and enhance the functionality. Importantly, complement the natural feel and look of the wood with other natural materials and, of course, plenty of greenery, including:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Basil and coriander
  • Bay Laurel 
  • Boston Fern 

The minimalist retreat

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Recreate this calm, simple and stylish look on your balcony by opting for bold and minimalist plants as your standout feature. When considering the colour palette, this look is all about greys and whites as the predominant colour. Strip things back and keep it simple with:

  • Japanese Maple 
  • Heavenly Bamboo or Nandina
  • A feature bonsai
  • Cordyline
  • Cycad (Cycas revoluta)

The nomadic sanctuary

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Whether you desire a zen zone for meditation or relaxation or stoking your wanderlust by creating an outdoor space inspired by far-flung travel, re-imagine your inner-city balcony to be anywhere in the world with these simple design elements. The right accessories teamed with the right plants will make the home feel like a real-life tropical retreat in Southeast Asia, South America, India or wherever your imagination takes you.

Key to this look is the use of colour – and lots of it. Think terracotta pots, pops of brightness on your soft furnishings (the more, the better) and the soft glow of lanterns for extra ambience. Make it your own with a few colourful plants too.

Create your very own nomadic sanctuary by using:

  • New Guinea Impatiens
  • Kentia Palm
  • Barrel Cactus
  • Ixora
  • Mini bougainvillea
  • Hoya in shades of red and pink

Related article: This lush garden landscape design is inspired by tropical Bali

The wildlife oasis

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You can have your own little wildlife oasis even when living up high overlooking cityscapes. Use a range of green and lush leaves and a selection of nectar-bearing and flowering plants mixed in with greenery, including small shrubs and trees to provide cover, to create an oasis for bees, butterflies and birds.

Attract the right wildlife with a mix of the following plants:

  • Star jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Bay tree
  • Hydrangea
  • Salvia
  • Banksia’ Birthday Candles’ 
  • Grevillea ‘Superb’
  • Rock Lily (Dendrobium speciosum)

 

Bring the outdoors in

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No balcony or veranda to revamp? You can still create a lush and green sanctuary and a ‘gardenless garden’ by bringing the outdoors inside your home or apartment.

Lots of indoor plants are essential for this look – think hanging baskets for a great space-saving option, while larger plants that offer plenty of greenery help with the feeling of transitioning from inside to out. 

Create an outdoors-style of garden haven inside your home with a selection of the following plants:

  • Snake Plant
  • Cast Iron Plant
  • Boston Fern
  • Philodendron
  • Jade Plant
  • Pothos
  • Peace Lily
  • Succulents
  • Dracaena
  • Aloe vera
  • Spider plant

 

The living wall

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A lush green living wall can make a stunning feature and a backdrop to your new small-space balcony garden or outdoor sanctuary. To ensure your green wall stands out, it should be the centrepiece of the living space – the rest of the area should be designed more simply, so the feature stands out. 

Choose from the following plants to recreate the look:

  • Soft leaf ferns
  • Bromeliads including air plants (Tillandsia)
  • Ivy-leaf geranium
  • Calathea
  • Maidenhair Fern
  • Rex begonias
  • Hosta
  • Hoya
  • Baby’s Tears or helxine
  • Succulents
  • Philodendron  

Whatever the space you’re working with – outside or in – or your favourite style of garden, you can transform your home and get all the relaxing benefits (and a healthier mindset!) that comes from the greater outdoors. 

Head to the Love the Garden website for more expert tips, advice and essential garden products.