Although balcony gardening can be fairly restrictive, there are still plenty of things we can do to make our outdoor spaces more interesting. Many of these come under the umbrella term of landscaping.
You might be surprised that landscaping can be applied to balconies, but below, we discuss how.
What is Landscaping?
Landscaping is the artificial manipulation of an outdoor space. Typically, it involves adding plants, ornamental features, and functional elements. It’s easy to only call drastic changes landscaping, but any adjustments to an area with the goal of making it more attractive is landscaping.
It can include hardscaping, which is a more severe adjustment of an area. Specifically, hardscaping involves adding man-made architecture, such as paths, to contrast against vegetation.
Generally, we won’t use hardscaping on a balcony, as the architectural elements are already there. Plus, you likely won’t need paths or extra walls on your balcony!
Of course, landscaping on a balcony is going to be vastly different to normal processes. However, there’s plenty we can do to “landscape” a balcony space.
Balcony Landscaping Ideas
1. Creating Zones
Provided you don’t have a tiny balcony, creating zones can actually make a space feel bigger. Two easy ways to do this are with flooring and tall plants. For example, you could have one section with plank flooring and another with pebbles or grass. Use potted shrubs to separate them.
Zones are useful in landscaping projects because they create interest but also help a space to feel more varied. While this can be harder on a balcony, using clever elements like flooring can do the trick.
2. Think about Materials
Choosing the correct materials for a landscaping project is vital. Not only do they need to be weatherproof, but they also need to create the right tone and match other elements.
Wood is always a good choice because it’s warm-toned, natural, and weather-resistant. It contrasts well against white walls and other artificial elements.
Conversely, ceramic tiles or stones can work well in modern-themed spaces. They look more artificial, of course, so should be contrasted against plenty of greenery and natural elements. It’s important to have a balance.
3. Water Features
Water features are popular in landscaping projects because they add a pleasant natural sound and a bit of variety. It’s possible to add a water feature to a balcony, although you of course can’t have the same options as in a normal garden.
Check out our article on balcony water features for some inspiration. Alternatively, you could build a Zen Garden, which could also help you add in another balcony zone.
4. Balance Furniture
While we give furniture plenty of thought in any landscaping project, it’s more important to find the right balance on a balcony. After all, the space is smaller and will primarily be a seating area.
Balance chunky furniture against more delicate decorations, or natural materials against metal chairs. As you can probably guess by now, balance is an important aspect of landscaping projects.
5. Natural vs. Artificial
We can bring in an element of hardscaping by considering balcony walls and railings. Although we won’t be building any new features, it’s useful to think about how they can be adapted for a landscaping project.
Specifically, these elements look artificial, so it’s helpful to contrast them against natural features. The most obvious option is plants, but you could also add reed fencing to your railing. Natural doesn’t have to mean living, and there are plenty of ways to bring it into your design.
6. Use Your Space Wisely
The use of space is a main consideration in landscaping. Whether this is deciding how to arrange zones or maximize what’s there, landscaping pretty much comes down to this principle.
Of course, you’re a bit more limited in what you can do on a balcony. As such, think about space in the following ways:
- Go vertical. Think about how you can use railings and walls for extra features (such as railing tables, wall-mounted shelves, etc.). Even think about going vertical with your seating choices (such as hammocks or hanging chairs).
- Have multifunctional elements. Specifically, find furniture that doubles as storage
- Bring designs together with a color scheme. This is less of a landscaping principle but is useful on a balcony because of the size
There are plenty of ways to bring the principles of landscaping into a balcony. Of course, you won’t be digging up a lawn, but landscaping can help you to think about your outdoor space in a more practical way.