Need some inspiration to get outside and sort out that balcony or terrace that has been sitting neglected over the cold winter months? Spring is in full swing - so don’t waste any more time! Gone are the days where outdoor spaces consisted of characterless concrete or patchy off-colour turf. Bin that bland balcony. Trade in that terrible terrace. We’ve had enough!
In part one, we explored varieties of plants that are suitable for urban gardens and shared tips on how to get started with growing your own veggies (with a little help from the wonderful Wendy of @up_on_the_rooftop). Part two will see us homing in on the design side of things - adding cosy extras and thinking about space-saving solutions.
Here at Ecopots, we understand that it is not always easy to achieve the Insta-worthy look you strive for. You may be working with a limited budget or space, or maybe you’re renting your property, and unable to freely express yourself through your interior and exterior décor.
Once you’ve got your plants in order (hopefully inspired by part one of the blog), get thinking about the homely elements that will give your balcony that extra cosy ambiance.
For city folk, it can sometimes feel like you are right on top of your neighbours - something as simple as a bamboo or wooden screen, can create the illusion of privacy, as well as casting a little shade across your plants when the summer hits.
Disguise drab or discoloured flooring as soon as possible - square decking tiles are a great option. You don’t have to be a DIY-savvy human to put them together - plus they are easy to relocate and use again, as and when you do.
“In addition to considering the aesthetics such as wood panelling on walls and floor tiles, think about taking the indoor accessories outside too - to create a more homely feel. Outdoor rugs and cushions are both becoming increasingly more popular, as a great way to inject an artistic flare into garden spaces.”
You’ve heard of bringing the outside in - adding natural elements to your interior - but now we’re taking the inside out. Don’t be afraid to make your outdoor space a literal extension of your interior. Design editor of Housebeautiful.com, Hadley Mendelsohn, suggests using the same formula when planning out the look of your balcony or terrace, as you would a living room. Think cushty armchairs, a charming coffee table, and something soft to lay underfoot.
Feel free to bring soft furnishings inside at the end of the day to avoid them getting weather-beaten, or alternatively invest in a watertight storage container to keep your stuff clean and dry. Utilising ottomans or benches with under-seat storage, or adding a convenient fold-away table, could be a real game-changer.
“The materials you choose for furnishings are super important and can be the difference between a soggy mess on your balcony and a hearty, long-lasting outdoor investment. Materials like resin wicker, wrought iron, teak, and (recycled) plastic can handle most of the elements nature throws at them.”
If possible, look for durable sustainably-sourced furniture made from recycled materials or charming and cheerful second-hand pieces if you can. There are plenty of online spaces where people are giving away perfectly good furniture at low-cost or even for free!
Warm and well-lit
The days may be milder, but the night can still feel a little chilly in the absence of our old friend fire. Consider a firepit if safe to do so in your space. Careful though - they could pose a hazard on a balcony - however, terraces and gardens should be grand to accommodate one. Otherwise simply smother yourself in blankets or faux sheepskin rugs on those nippier nights, and patiently await the summer heatwave.
Last but not least is lighting. Seems obvious - but adding a string of fairy lights is the oldest trick in the book when it comes to making a space look more inviting and homely (they could honestly make a rubbish bin look like a welcoming spot to hang out in). Illuminating your exterior with a load of lanterns, either candlelit or battery-powered, can also add a touch of magic.
We hope these tips have go the creative cogs turning. Get revamping your outdoor space and making the most out of the warmer spring weather. Oh, and don't forget your flower pots and planters in your marvelous make-over. Check our collection of awe-inspiring, space saving and plant loving pots in our online store.
Image sources (in random order)