The area is usually small, so the money you are prepared to spend on gardening will go a long way. Splash out on quality flooring and furniture, and ornate containers, which will create a classy setting for your plants.
- Garden flooring helps to set the tone and style, and it can make or mar a tiny ‘garden’.
- Avoid Paving slabs: Paving slabs are heavy, lack the kind of refinement one can achieve with tiles, and the size of individual slabs at times can be too large to look ‘in proportion’ for the small area being covered.
- Think of the veranda or balcony floor as you might the kitchen or conservatory floor- and use materials might look perfect indoors. Both quarry tiles and beautiful ceramic tiles work perfect and produce a visual link with the house. Tiles are lightweight, and their small size looks proportionate to the area.
- Timber decking is an ideal choice for a veranda.
The Problem of Aspect
- Aspect is an important consideration. Unlike a regular garden, or roof garden, the light may be intense all day, or there may be constant shade, depending on position. Balconies may also cast a shadow.
- If the location is sunny, some shade from the top can be helpful. Consider placing an adjustable awning that can be pulled down to provide shade. Choose sun-loving and drought tolerant plants for dry conditions - both cacti and succulents will be happy to go outside during summer. Eg. Sansevieria, Crassula, Adenium.
- If the location is shady for most of the day many flowering plant varieties won’t thrive. Concentrate on foliage plants, bright flowers, such as Balsam, Salvia, Petunia, as they do pretty well in the shade.
Countering the Wind
- Like roof gardens, balconies are often exposed to cold and damaging winds. The higher a balcony, the greater problem wind is likely to be.
- To grow tender and exotic plants, provide a screen that filters the wind without causing turbulent eddies.
- A trellis clothed with a tough evergreen such as ivy is useful, or use screens of woven bamboo or reeds on the windiest side- these not only provide helpful shelter and privacy, but make a stunning backdrop for plants in containers.
Adding Colour Round the Year
- Use tough evergreens to create a green framework of plants and clothe the balcony or veranda throughout the year. Use colourful seasonal flowers to provide a backdrop.
- Use plenty of bright seasonal flowers in window boxes or troughs along the edge, with trailers that cascade down over the edge.
- In the more sheltered positions, grow lots of exotic-looking plants, and don’t be afraid to give lots of your tough-leaved houseplants a summer holiday outside.
- Pots of spring-flowering bulbs extend the season of bright flowers, but choose small varieties- tall daffodils, for example, will almost certainly be bent forward as wind bounces back off the walls.
- Add splashes of colour with cut flowers. In summer choose long-lasting ‘exotics’ such as strelitzias and anthuriums.
Here are some more plants suitable for balconies and Verandas: Aglaonema, Aralia, Areca palm, Croton, Dracaena, Maranta, Stromanthe triostar, Tree fern.