Balconies offer a variety of different growing opportunities — make sure you have considered all of your possibilities before getting started. If you’re living in a city and are interested in gardening, you’ve likely already thought about creating a balcony garden. Depending on your gardening skill level, you can set up a very simple and easy to take care of garden or challenge yourself to set up a functioning vegetable farm.
However, before you start buying supplies and planning your balcony garden there are a few things you should consider. The types and amount of plants you’ll be able to include in your garden will depend on the location of your balcony, how much daily sunlight the space receives, and a whole host of other factors. Once you’ve surveyed your garden space, you can start choosing plants that will thrive within the constraints of your balcony. Keep reading and we’ll guide you through the most important things you should consider before building your terrace garden.
How Much Space Do You Have for Your Balcony Garden?
No matter how small your space, you can still find room to garden, but you can never do too much planning for your terrace garden.
Balconies are not large spaces, which is why every inch counts when it comes to planning your garden. When surveying your future balcony garden, pay attention not only to square footage, but also to the height of your space. If you can’t fit the amount of plants you desire in a small space, it’s time to start thinking vertically. There are several different ways you can create a vertical garden using pots, trellises, or hanging planters to increase your available space.
Will Your Balcony Garden Get Enough Sunlight?
The amount of sunlight that reaches your balcony will help determine which plants you should buy. Balconies that get lots of sunlight are perfect for growing edible plants.
Before you set out on buying plants for your balcony garden, you should first take note of how much sunlight your balcony gets per day. In most cities, there are a lot of other buildings and structures that will obstruct natural sunlight at different times of the day. So, to accurately assess the amount of sunlight your balcony gets, take note of the time your balcony receives direct and indirect sunlight. From there you can start buying plants that will be happy with the amount of daily sunlight that reaches your balcony. Some plants require as much as 8 hours of sunlight to thrive, whereas others can get by with as little as 3-4 hours per day.
Does Your Space Get too Hot for a Balcony Garden?
In the summer, balconies and terraces get hotter than you think. If your balcony gets too hot in the summertime, you could end up burning your plants.
Those who live in warmer climates need to make sure that their balconies don’t get too hot for their garden plants. Most plants won’t fare well under extreme heat, so avoid heat sensitive plants when shopping for your garden. If you notice your balcony gets extremely hot, you should opt for heat-tolerant plants.
How Will Climate Affect Your Balcony Garden?
Your local climate will determine whether you get seasonal or year round plants for your garden. If your balcony is covered in snow in the winter, you’ll have to bring your garden indoors.
You should choose your plants for your terrace garden according to how the climate in your city changes seasonally. If the weather generally stays pretty warm year round, you’ll have vastly more options than for colder climates. Many colder climates require that you buy ultra hardy annuals that can survive, otherwise you will end up bringing your garden indoors when the weather cools down. Many apartment dwellers don’t have a lot of extra space, so bringing your garden inside for the winter is often a major hassle. If you want to keep your outdoor garden all year round in a changing climate, you’ll have to choose your plants carefully.
How Much Time Do You Want to Spend Taking Care of Your Garden?
Some plants are a bit more difficult to take care of than others, so use your best judgement to determine which ones you can handle.
All plants need slightly different care to truly thrive. So, before you start purchasing plants and assembling your garden, you should consider how much time you want to spend on your garden. If you work from home, it’s likely that you’ll be around your home more often and can spend more time on your plants. People who commute to work will likely have less available time to take care of their garden and should look for hardier plants.
However, if you are away from home a lot and still want to keep a complex garden, there are automatic watering devices you can use to keep your plants happy while you’re away.
Will You Be Growing Fruits & Vegetables?
Keeping up a mini urban farm is a challenging yet rewarding experience.
Nothing beats homegrown fruits and vegetables. That’s why so many are setting up edible gardens on their balconies. With a balcony vegetable garden, all you have to do is reach outside for that fresh from the farm taste. However, there are a few things that edible plants need to survive in the garden. For example, vegetables need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day to grow properly! That’s a lot of sunlight for most balconies. If your balcony doesn’t receive enough sunlight for fruits and vegetables, there are still a few edible options you can grow — like spices!
Now that you’ve considered some of the most important factors and limitations associated with creating a balcony garden, it’s time to get started. All you have to do to create your thriving is choose the right type of plants for your climate and take good care of them. You’ll be enjoying your lush terrace garden in no time!
(This post is in partnership with Responsival)