Creating a Balcony Garden – Design Ideas and Plant Recommendations

With a splash of creativity and a sprinkle of inspiration, you can transform even the smallest balcony into a charming garden haven. No matter the size or orientation of your outdoor space, the perfect plants and accessories can create a delightful retreat where you can relax, unwind, and connect with nature.

In this blog post, we’ll share 10 steps for designing a beautiful balcony garden in the UK, along with plant recommendations tailored for both sunny and shaded balconies.

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Benefits of Creating a Balcony Garden

1. Improved mental well-being: Gardening can reduce stress, boost mood, and foster a sense of accomplishment.
2. Connection to nature: A balcony garden brings the beauty and tranquillity of nature right to your doorstep.
3. Enhanced privacy: Strategically placed plants can create a natural screen, providing privacy from neighbouring balconies or buildings.
4. Air purification: Plants help filter the air, removing pollutants and improving air quality.
5. Wildlife habitat: A balcony garden can attract pollinators and support local biodiversity.
6. Aesthetic appeal: A well-designed balcony garden can enhance the visual appeal of your living space and can even increase the value of your property.
7. Fresh produce: Growing herbs, fruits, and vegetables on your balcony allows you to enjoy fresh, homegrown produce.
8. Personalized outdoor space: Designing a balcony garden lets you express your creativity and create a unique outdoor sanctuary tailored to your preferences. It can also help to extend your living space.

10 Steps for Transforming Your Balcony Garden.

1. Start with a Plan
2. Choose the Right Plants
3. Embrace Container Gardening
4. Maximize Space with Vertical Gardening
5. Create Layers with Multi-Level Planters
6. Incorporate Climbing Plants
7. Add a Pop of Colour
8. Make It Cosy and Comfortable
9. Set the Mood with Lighting
10. Personalize Your Space

1. Start with a Plan

Before you begin, take some time to envision your ideal balcony garden. Consider the size and shape of your balcony, the amount of sunlight it receives, and the overall look and feel you’d like to achieve. Sketch out a rough plan or create a mood board to help guide your design process. I find Pinterest a really great source of inspiration for all sorts of gardening projects.

2. Choose the Right Plants

Selecting plants that suit your balcony’s specific conditions is crucial for a thriving garden. Consider factors such as sunlight, local climate, and maintenance requirements when choosing your green companions. Choose a mix of foliage, flowering plants, and even edible plants to create a diverse and interesting garden.

3. Embrace Container Gardening

Containers are the backbone of any balcony garden, offering flexibility and versatility. Select containers in various sizes, materials, and colours to add visual interest. Ensure they have proper drainage holes and use high-quality potting soil to support healthy plant growth. This lovely hanging planter set consists of 2 rattan pots and 2 removable zinc pots.

4. Maximize Space with Vertical Gardening

When space is limited, think vertically! Utilize your balcony’s walls and railings to grow plants upward. Consider installing trellises, wall-mounted planters, or shelves to create a lush, green backdrop for your garden. This vertical hanging plant system is designed to be easily installed and can help maximise your growing space.

5. Create Layers with Multi-Level Planters

Incorporate multi-level planters, tiered stands, or repurposed ladders to create a sense of depth and dimension in your balcony garden. This will not only maximize space but also make your garden feel more dynamic and visually appealing.

6. Incorporate Climbing Plants

Climbing plants, such as vines or ivy, can add a touch of enchantment to your balcony garden. Train them to grow along trellises, railings, or even up the side of your building to create a living wall that offers privacy and shade.

7. Add a Pop of Colour

Choose a colour palette that complements your overall design aesthetic and expresses your personal style. Incorporate your chosen hues through plant selections, containers, and accessories to create a visually harmonious space.

8. Make It Cosy and Comfortable

Your balcony garden should be a place of relaxation and enjoyment. Invest in comfortable seating, such as cushions or a small bench, and add a cosy blanket or throw for chilly evenings. Don’t forget to leave enough space for you to sit and enjoy your garden!

9. Set the Mood with Lighting

Incorporate ambient lighting to make your balcony garden an inviting space both day and night. Hang these solar string lights, lanterns, or add LED candles to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

10. Personalize Your Space

Add your own unique touch to your balcony garden with decorative accents and accessories. Consider incorporating garden ornaments, wind chimes, or a small water feature to create a space that feels truly yours.

Plant Recommendations for a Sunny Balcony (UK)

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Echinacea (Coneflower)

If your balcony receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, it is considered a sunny balcony. These are some ideal plant options for a sunny balcony garden in the UK:

Lavender (Lavandula)
This aromatic perennial thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. It’s a great choice for adding fragrance and a pop of colour to your sunny balcony.

Geraniums (Pelargonium)
A popular choice for sunny balcony gardens, geraniums are easy to grow and come in a wide range of colours. They can be grown in pots, hanging baskets, or window boxes.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
A hardy and aromatic herb, rosemary is perfect for a sunny balcony. It adds both visual and culinary appeal to your garden.

Echinacea (Coneflower)
These sun-loving perennials are known for their striking, daisy-like flowers. Echinacea is not only beautiful but also attracts pollinators like butterflies.

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum)
This sun-loving annual produces bright, edible flowers and has a trailing habit, making it perfect for containers or hanging baskets.

Plant Recommendations for a Shaded Balcony (UK)

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Hostas

If your balcony receives less than 3 hours of direct sunlight per day, it is considered a shaded balcony. These are some ideal plant options for a shaded balcony garden in the UK:

Ferns
Many fern species, such as the maidenhair fern (Adiantum) or the hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium), thrive in shaded conditions and add a lush, green touch to your balcony garden.

Hostas
Known for their striking foliage, hostas are well-suited to shaded balconies. With a wide variety of colours, shapes, and sizes, you’ll be sure to find the perfect hosta for your garden.

Impatiens (Busy Lizzie)
These shade-loving annuals produce an abundance of colourful flowers and are a popular choice for containers and hanging baskets in shaded areas.

Heuchera (Coral Bells)
With their unique and colourful foliage, heucheras can brighten up even the shadiest balcony gardens. They are low-maintenance and work well in containers.

Ivy (Hedera helix)
Ivy is an evergreen climber that thrives in shade and is perfect for adding a touch of greenery to a shaded balcony. Train it to grow along railings or trellises for a lush, green backdrop.

Final thoughts

Embracing the art of balcony gardening allows you to transform your outdoor space into a lush, personalised retreat that not only elevates your living experience but also connects you with the natural world. By following our 10 steps and selecting the best-suited plants for your UK balcony, you can create an enchanting green haven that will be a source of joy, relaxation, and inspiration. So, gather your gardening tools, embrace your creativity, and embark on the delightful journey of designing your very own balcony garden oasis. Happy gardening!

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