Small space gardening
Gardening On Balconies And Verandahs
It’s amazing how a small space can be transformed into a stunning feature. With little imagination, a verandah or balcony can become a striking feature of your home, drawing your attention from the interior of the house, and creating a feeling of extra space.
Balconies and verandahs are a transition zone linking the outdoors with the interior of a building. Balconies and verandahs can come in all sizes from small apartment verandahs of only a couple of square meters to spaces that are the size of a large room. Designing a balcony or verandah garden is like any other type of gardening- planning is the key.
Landscaping Balcony or Verandah
Some Things to Consider:
What are some possible uses for the balcony or verandah?
Your selection will depend on how much space there is and its outlook. You might decide to use the area for outdoor entertaining, eating outside, for growing cut flowers, for use as a kitchen garden, or for aesthetics (to improve the look of the building from outside, or to provide a feature to look at from inside).
Getting More Use Of Available Space
This can be achieved with vertical and container gardening
To make that possible, you’ll have to plant your, seeds in containers. Container gardens fit just about anywhere and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. To make the most of your little space, plant vertically. Planters that hang from your walls, railings or ceilings are ideal, as they don’t take up floor space. Try attaching hanging baskets from a pergola above the balcony. On the other hand, try stacking containers to make the most of your vertical space. If space allows, you can consider a BBQ, outdoor furniture, feeders or baths to attract birds, or even small sculpture. Birdfeeders might also be hung from adjacent trees to the balcony or verandah to attract birds in close for your viewing. Lights might be hung from adjacent trees, or small spotlights attached to the building to highlight nighttime scenes. Surfaces might be decorated with pavings, or by painting to create different effects. This includes both floors and walls, for example murals of a rural village, beach or garden scene might be painted on a wall to create a theme which is extended onto the balcony or verandah in the types of plants, furniture or decorations used.
Growing your plants in containers allows you to change your garden as you desire, moving plants around to create new vistas. You don’t have to limit yourself in the types of containers you use. Plants have been successfully grown in such things as wheeled plastic rubbish bins, in appropriately painted galvanized buckets, in old wooden or polystyrene fruit boxes and bags, and in plastic hobby boxes.
Keep in mind that some plants require larger containers than others and furthermore you should know that smaller containers require watering more often.
Limited Growing Space
Careful selection of plants, ensure that you choose plants that are not too vigorous for the space available. Alternatively, you might need to spend a lot of time pruning or regularly replacing plants as they get too big(some gardeners like to do this to create a dynamic garden). You can also choose some form of intensive gardening, including bonsai, hydroponics, and topiary. Bonsai in particular, can create the impact of a much larger garden.
How To Grow Plants On Balconies Or Verandahs
There are three main problems with growing plants on balconies and verandahs. They dry out easily. They run out of nutrients. Growing space is limited.
Choosing Right Plants
Container gardens can become crowded, so to achieve success choose plants that don’t require much space. If you plan on spending a lot of time gardening in a small area, you might consider vegetable, herbs, miniature fruit trees, cut flowers, and pots of bulb plants. If time is limited though, you might be better to consider hardier plants. Some plants have a high maintenance requirement if kept on a balcony or verandah. In particular avoid using plants that have tendency to drop leaves, twigs, or fleshy fruits and berries. Decomposing plants parts can be slippery, and are a chore to pick up on a regular basis. Prolific growers should also be avoided as they soon takeover what space there is, often choking out other plants. The following vegetables are perfect for pots: Peppers, leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, garden eggs, herbs. Tomatoes need wiring or wooden stakes on which to climb, so they are not ideal for stacked containers.
Miniature fruits trees also do well in containers, such as mini coconut palm, citruses, mango, guava and even avocado are perfect.
As for ornamentals; flowering and foliage plants of tropical and subtropical do well potted. For flowers try, impatiens, Begonias, Marigolds, Snapdragons, Hydrangeas, Calendula, Hibiscus, African violets, Roses, Ipomoea, and Day lilies, flowering vines and more.
Plan Your Space
Since you now know that you can adopt the strategy of vertical gardening to plant more while saving space in a small area and you know which you can plan your space. How much area do you want devoted to gardening? If your aim is to grow food and herbs spaces of your porch to such plans is perfect. However, if you want an outdoor retreat, then leaving room for lounging, relaxation and entertaining and surrounding it with mood inspiring ornamental flowering and foliage plants is your best bet?
Additionally, place plants that need lots of sunlight in open areas and put those that like shade beneath your roof. Having a mix of plants that like direct or indirect light will help you get the most use of your space. Choosing all of one or the other means some plants don’t grow well or not at all, unless you only get full sun or shade. Again consider which plants are in season and whether you’ll need to rotate them throughout the year.
Enjoying your outdoor space is especially relaxing when you are surrounded by plants, flowers and foliage. You might not have a yard for a traditional garden, but thankfully even a small space like a balcony can become habitat to plants attracting birds and butterflies. No matter what type of garden you want, just remember no space is too small to start growing your own plants and flowers.
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