The warmer months have arrived and it’s time to enjoy the outdoors. For many, this means barbecues with friends, late Sunday breakfasts in the sunshine and relaxing with a book outside.
Over the last decade, there has been an increase in apartment living in Canberra. People are making the move from houses with backyards to apartments with balconies, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have a great outdoor space at home.
Ash Carter, Managing Director of New Level Landscapes, offers his top tips on turning your balcony into a loveable area for you to enjoy the long summer days.
- Consider how you will use the space
Before you begin work revamping your balcony, Ash recommends you think about how you will use the space.
“The first question we ask a client is around what they would like to use the space for. Will they do a lot of entertaining outside or are they more likely to use the space to relax? Knowing how you will use your balcony space is really important, as it will help you to decide everything from the furniture to the planting.”
- Upgrade your balcony with outdoor flooring
Most balconies have concrete floors, which can look uninviting and unappealing. For a simple and cost-effective alternative, Ash suggests using wooden decking tiles.
“Decking tiles can be laid over any solid structure and are specifically designed for spaces like balconies. Tiles are very easy to install, without the fuss of tools or tradesmen. Because these tiles can easily be removed, they are a great option for renters.”
If you’re looking to add some colour to your balcony, Ash recommends artificial grass.
“Artificial grass has come a long way in the last few years and you’ll be surprised how realistic it looks. It will add great colour to a space and, like the decking tiles, it is very easy to install and does not require any maintenance”.
- Use the space effectively
When designing balcony spaces, Ash aims to save floor space by using the balcony railing and exterior walls.
“We recently installed a bar table along the balcony railing, this provided our clients with more floor space to move around and meant they had enough room for a barbecue. A great way to save space is to use tables and shelves that hook onto the balcony railings.”
For people who want greenery but may not have enough room for multiple pot plants, Ash suggests a vertical garden.
“Vertical gardens really brighten up a balcony without using any floor space. If you like to cook, you could even make a vertical herb garden. These gardens are very easy to build, most local hardware stores will have DIY kits available”.
Ash encourages people to check with their strata or property managers before using the external walls or balcony railings.
- Add greenery
A simple way to breathe life into your balcony is to add some greenery. Ash suggests using pot plants of varied sizes and height – this will add dimension to the balcony and make the space appear larger than it is.
“Consider the type of plant to use on your balcony. If your balcony is in the shade throughout the day, it’s best not to choose a plant that needs a lot of sunlight. If you don’t usually garden, look for plants that don’t require a lot of watering or maintenance.”
For balconies with shade, Ash recommends foliage plants such as ferns, ivies and aspidistra.
“If you have a small floor space, consider hanging pot plants from the ceiling or use pots that will hook on to your balcony railing.”
If you are thinking of selling or renting your home, contact your local Peter Blackshaw office for other tips and hints to add value to your property.