How to make the biggest use of the smallest urban gardens

Get a bounty of beauty on your balcony.

Budding Balconies’clever displays make the most of every feature from grouped pots to vertical spaces with wall gardens Getty Images

Budding Balconies, a new feature at the BC Home + Garden show, will present big ideas for small spaces as landscapers share suggestions on how to maximize balconies and patios to extend living space.

“This is a great opportunity for people who live in apartments to see something relatable and how they can make best use of their outside space, whatever size it is,” says assistant show manager Stephanie Gatzionis.

The Budding Balconies displays will each be 10 by 15 feet and will include a range of creative ideas such as options for railings, grouping pots and containers for the most impact, and maximizing vertical space with trellises and wall gardens.

“We want to show that the extra square footage on balconies can be used to grow flowering plants or vegetables and herbs that people can add to their own meals,” says Gatzionis.

Leanne Johnson, president of GardenWorks, says the new season provides a fresh opportunity to create an outdoor space to enjoy in the coming months. She shares these five tips to bring your balcony to life this spring.

1. The direction a balcony faces will have an impact on which plants will flourish in the space. When you’re choosing plants or buying seeds at the garden centre, ask for advice on what to plant according to how much sun or shade your balcony receives.

2. Decide how you want your balcony space to function. Do you want a few pots with some greenery to create a relaxing spot to read a book? Or are you planning an urban farm? Then pick a design style or theme so as outdoor furniture and pots are added over time, everything works together. Coordinating different heights and sizes of the same style of pots will give the space a cohesive and relaxing ambience.

3. Add colour with spring-flowering bulbs, bedding plants and perennials. Primulas, mini daffodils and perennials like heuchera make for colourful mixed containers.

4. If you’re planning a few weekend getaways—or may forget to water the plants every day—consider installing self-watering garden boxes.

5. If you’re planting in last year’s pots and containers, remove the dead plants and revitalize the soil with an organic compost like Sea Soil before re-planting.




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