You can still have a garden in an apartment. Here’s how.

Less is more

Though it might seem counterintuitive to keep pots and plants to a minimum on the only outdoor space your apartment affords you, it’s actually the key to making your balcony garden look more effective. “Avoid cluttering the space with lots of small pots and plants,” Bangay advises. “Upscale and use fewer pots.” By upscaling, Bangay is referring to the idea of using larger objects, like pots and planting troughs, and fewer of them when working with a small area. “Most people tend to underscale all elements when gardening on a balcony,” he says, which can make the space look cluttered. Instead, go for a few larger objects—larger than you might think—for an area that looks both considered and effective.

Play with pots

It’s no secret that pots and planting troughs are key to gardening on a balcony, but there are a couple of considerations to bear in mind. “Use pots or preferably custom made troughs that fit your space,” recommends Bangay. “These allow for maximum soil volume and therefore better plant health.” Good advice to heed if your plants die on you on a two-monthly rotation. It’s also a good idea to note that Bangay also urges keeping “pots free from the balustrade for safety issues,” preferring to place them next to the building.

Consider the elements

Despite what you may think, planting on a balcony is not the same as planting in a garden. Surprisingly, the elements can present themselves very differently in a balcony setting. “Most balconies are subject to extreme wind and heat or, if sitting under other balconies, low light levels,” Bangay says. “Wind always seems to be prevalent and for this reason I only use drought and wind hardy plants.” Bangay’s favourites are “succulents such as crassulas and agaves and trees such as olives and crype myrtles. Bay hedges are also good if screening is necessary and for accent points, I like box balls and cycads.”

Wall order

When working with a small area, it pays to use all the space you have available, including walls. Vertical gardens are ideal for small balconies with limited ground space, plus they’re easy to move and relocate if you’re renting. Climbing plants are another great way to add greenery to your outdoor space without crowding the floor.

Layer up

Rather than placing potted plants sporadically around your balcony, Bangay recommends playing with the height and textures of your plants to add depth to your space. “Try and layer the plantings as much as your space will allow,” he says. “Place smaller plants and pots at the front and larger plants and pots to the rear, as this creates the illusion of space and makes the balcony more inviting.”

Think outside the pot

Potted plants aren’t the only ways to accessorise your small outdoor space. Thinking beyond the pot and considering things like wall hangings is a clever way of utilising space that also adds interest. “I often use antique mirrors on walls with creepers such as Boston ivy growing around it to give further depth to the space,” Bangay says.

Follow us on Social Media