Balconies are great for sunbathing on and enjoying an aperitif with friends during the light spring and summer evenings. However, they can still be a popular part of our homes during late autumn and early winter – especially if we’ve put out planters.
Some spectacular blooms around this time of year include colourful pansies, bright geraniums and stunning primroses.
And it’s not just in visual terms that our balconies can prove a real draw at this time of the year – the scent given off by our flowers and shrubs can be practically hypnotic.
But how do we achieve that lovely planter-filled balcony garden in the first place? Well, read on folks…
Tips for using planters
Learn about layout.
If your balcony is small, then placing different shades of the same colour of planters together can actually make it appear larger. This is because your eye can roam freely round the space, rather than stop when a different colour appears.
A nice design touch is to place planters together sideways in decreasing height or size. If bunching them together, do so in multiples of three (e.g. three, six or nine). One important thing to remember, when it comes to the layout of your balcony garden, is that if you have young children or toddlers, then keep the planters away from the balcony railing – otherwise they may use them as stepping stones!
Decide on the design
Regardless of whether your planters are hexagonal, circular or shaped like a trough, it’s important to ensure they are large enough to accommodate your plant’s size in a year or two’s time. That’s because a container which is too small will result in the roots of the plant becoming smothered and no moisture or nutrients reaching them. A planter which is too large, on the other hand, will also damage the roots of the plant since the additional soil will become waterlogged and too heavy.
Don’t forget the drainage
With a group of planters it’s essential really to always keep a watering can either on your balcony or nearby. Meanwhile, the higher up your balcony is the more frequently your plants will need watered. You can reduce the amount of watering you have to do by planting water-holding gel in the planter’s soil. This takes the form of crystals which swell up with water.
Let your balcony be light
As you’d imagine, weight is important when it comes to a balcony garden – not least to prevent your planters falling through into your neighbour’s balcony beneath! Because of this you might want to forgo ceramic planters and opt for lightweight galvanised steel instead. It’s also a good idea to fill the planters once you actually have them in their final position since lifting a soil-filled planter can put far too much strain on the back.
Soak up sunshine
South and west facing balconies will get far more sunlight than north or east facing ones. It’s crucial to remember this if you happen to have the latter. Annuals in particular require a lot of light so it might be an idea to reconsider your choices. But even if your balcony is potentially a sun trap there’s also the neighbour’s partition, shade and in fact their garden to get in the way.
For more balcony or general garden tips, take a look at our Heiton Buckley website!