There are some things that you just have to compromise on when it comes to living in an apartment. While these smaller pieces of real estate are far more affordable and often located in desirable city centres, you do have to give up some luxuries along the way – and one of the most significant losses you suffer is the disappearance of your fresh green garden.
But don’t fret! You can still take advantage of your green fingers, if you’re willing to think outside the box – or rather, think inside the balcony.
First of all, you’re going to be dealing with a small area, so you have to make the most of it. If you don’t live on too high a storey, you could invest in some hanging baskets to increase your available working area, or investigate your options in flower boxes that hang over the side. You have to make sure that these are secure and safe however. The last thing you want is for your plants to fly off the edge of the balcony and hurt someone, after all!
If you do live a little too high or in a windy area, you could invest in some gust-blocking vegetation. This role is typically fulfilled by wind-resistant bushes and shrubs, and your garden balcony is no different. What is different, however, is your choices of plant. Guava plants and blueberry shrubs offer both protection from the wind as well as delicious fruit, while the native mint bush will bring a lovely fresh scent to your balcony. These are all small enough to fit on a balcony and hardy enough to not require too much maintenance.
Then comes the problem of the sun. Depending on your aspect, you could either end up baking your plants or leaving them to wilt in the dark. Either way, you need to choose your plants and placement accordingly. Put your more sensitive plants in better-shaded or more sunny areas, depending on your needs. This also gives you the chance to vary the look of your balcony garden with the arrangement of your pots – variety is the spice of life, after all.
Finally, you will have to deal with the question of moisture. Windy balconies can quickly dry out the soil, and many experts suggest using mulch instead due to its ability to retain water more readily. Of course, you could instead adjust your plant choice to better deal with the lack of moisture. Cacti offer unique shapes and colours while also being hardy to dry conditions – evolving in a desert will do that to you! These are also perfect for those people with black thumbs who have trouble keeping their garden green. Nothing says hardy like a spiny cactus.
We hope these tips help you turn that urban apartment into a green paradise!