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Outdoor Oasis

In urban areas where gardens are at a premium, a balcony can provide a much-needed oasis of calm. It can, however, be challenging in a small space to design and factor in everything on your wish list, but with a little bit of design know-how, there is no reason why you can’t have a functional, stylish, and verdant oasis that looks wonderful and is easy to achieve.

We can create this (amazingly) in a day, whereas in a large garden it could take years to achieve the look you want. More care is required with containers, whereas bigger gardens can be left to their own devices a little bit more. Create an inviting space that fills the senses with wellbeing, allowing nature to be the backdrop and enjoy endless alfresco days of fun and get-togethers with friends and family that leads to — outdoor happiness! Having a garden or any outdoor space is a real privilege – and one we should ensure we maximise and not take for granted. They make the day and the world a better place to be.

‘Dot your precious landscape with small interventions—a little urban acupuncture makes life so much sweeter.’

Privacy

Often in urban areas, there are some privacy issues. You may be overlooked by neighbours or passers-by in a street setting. Bamboo and olive trees can work well in this situation. They add shade and noise insulation by blocking traffic noise, noisy neighbours, or commercial buildings such as bars and restaurants.

Screens

A freestanding garden screen can create a private little corner of a terrace or balcony to separate it from another environment and provide more privacy. Check out the stylish option from RODA. Use every space available.

Zones

It’s best to think of a balcony as a space with three separate zones: walls, ground, and railings. Stringing climbing plants to make a canopy roof for shade and privacy from above and across the front façade of balcony railings offers shade and privacy. Living walls look great and add biodiversity. Increasing the number of plants in our concrete and brick world provides a food source for wildlife while making our world a prettier place. Growing climbing plants bring green life to dead vertical surfaces, including walls, fences, and pergolas. There is a range of wall climbers that you can plant at any time of the year. You can also grow vegetables and herbs this way. Grow decorative and edible plants and herbs along with creepers from balcony rails. Lusciously overgrown balcony gardens look so pretty. If you are lucky, you may benefit from a green-fingered neighbour above you on the sunnier top floors, which have allowed their fulsome foliage to cascade down to you from above—borrowed foliage. Add planters on window sills and group planters to make a container garden.

Colour

Keep the colour palette simple and unified on a narrow balcony; choose a single colour (such as white, for example) and add blooming plants here and there to complement the greenery.

Container gardens

Whatever your preferred style, from classic, traditional, timeless mid-century to contemporary chic and minimalist, planters will transform your space! Sit your pots on feet or invest in plant stands, so they can drain and not rot your floor. 

A large pot can be quite heavy, so do check the load capacity of your balcony before adding too many! Place larger pots first and work the smaller ones around them, and buy moveable plant stands for larger, heavier pots.

Garden pots and planters will dry out fast, as the containers don’t access the moisture reserve found in the deep soil, particularly if they get several hours a day of full sun. They will need regular watering, so consider installing a mini drip irrigation system to manage the chore, and you’ll not have to worry when you’re on holiday. Consider using drought tolerant plants like succulents, cacti, and plants from dry Mediterranean climates to cut down on watering. They will also need more fertiliser as the water will flush the soil of its goodness faster.

Planters

CORTICA from RODA is a collection of contemporary outdoor planters and vases with a cylindrical shape, made in brown cork, a completely natural material. The expanded black

cork is 100% natural and produced in an entirely green process. The planters can also be used as a flower vase by simply closing the drain hole on the base with the special cork

plug. All RODA materials are eco-friendly. Adding meadow turf to a large planter looks fantastic, and fits perfectly with this years’ trends of ‘re-wilding’, and ‘cottagecore’ fosters the idea of living a simple rural lifestyle, it embraces a simpler, sustainable existence that is more harmonious with nature. Aesthetically, it’s a nod to the traditional English countryside style, romantic and nostalgic.

Furniture

Inject a level of sophistication into your patch with Carl Hansen & Søn’s outdoor furniture range. The Danish brand’s collection of garden tables, chairs, recliners, and benches

includes works from master 20th-century architects such as Morten Gøttler and Bodil Kjær, crafted in Denmark in highly durable and weatherproof untreated teak that can withstand harsh weather conditions. The line includes Børge Mogensen’s furniture initially conceived for his own balcony. His slatted wooden chairs are collapsible and perfect for space-starved urbanites. Try hanging them on wall hooks when not in use to save losing inside space for storage. Vincent Van Duysen and Kettal teamed up to design the Giro collection for interior and exterior uses. The Giro high and low side tables included in the collection are constructed in concrete and finished in an antique rose colourway. The tables’ semi-cut-out bases allow the tables to sit together in several ways. The Adagio Swing Seat by Paola Lenti from The Modern Garden Company is perfect if you have a ceiling or a robust framework. Handwoven in bright solid or bi-colours, in five vibrant mixed colours.

Parasols

For a bit of style, shade, light, and tech, you need to look no further than the Belgian manufacturer’s dual functionality and futuristic design of the Hulsol sun umbrella, which a

smartphone app can control. The umbrella base has wheels for manoeuvrability, and the aerodynamically designed canopy ensures stability. The umbrella folds away for easy storage in a leaf shape. The polyester canopy and all other surfaces repel water, dirt, and mildew and come in matte black and white colourways. Billowing curtains or shades that can be adjusted up and down look super stylish while adding warmth, shade, and wind protection. Even in winter, we have sunny days, but the sun is lower in the sky and can be eye-boggling.

Add a rug

Add the Marea rug from the Modern Garden Company has wave-shaped braids with a fringed edge in weather-protected yarn for interest, colour, and a luxe touch.

Disguising bad views

Constructing a trellis of climbers or pleached fruit trees to the front of your balcony is a lovely way to enhance a bad view and gain privacy.

Trick the eye to extend the space

Add a collection of pots in front of an outdoor mirror for depth. Adding mirrored window frames give the illusion of space, as does a fake door. Place a few planted pots in front

of the door to make it look unused.

Lighting

Using lighting in the garden, especially solar lights can help you make the most of the space. Use ambient lighting to highlight planting and draw the eye to different areas to give an illusion of space, inviting people to explore and discover more, or simply providing the light to sit and eat at a table. Use candles, too, for mood lighting. The LED Taki Lamp from the AQUA CORDA COLLECTION is a series of domed suspension lamps made with a colour rope cord in a spiral-like pattern. Additional internal shade, made of a semi-transparent polyester cord, enhances the lamp’s brightness. RODA extends its know-how to lighting with a variety of contemporary outdoor lamps. Each modern exterior light is a piece of furniture in itself.

Outdoor kitchen

Add the positives of an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven or a wall, or balcony rail hung barbeque — a fold-up model ideally. Tabletop biofuel fires add ambience—and a ‘feeling’

of warmth.

Heat and fire

A heater illuminates and keeps you warm and toasty on chilly evenings, extending the evening and enjoyment of your outdoor space for longer. When space is at a premium, tabletop, wall-mounted, or hanging heaters are ideal. Heatlab’s Infrared Hanging Patio Heater is a stylish outdoor halogen heater that lasts up to 3,000 hours that addresses your heating and lighting needs. The sleek lamp style Kalos Plush Floorstanding Electric Patio Heater has infrared technology that heats the body rather than wasting energy on the air around you, making it efficient. Just plug it in for instant heat without noise or fumes. The heater comes with three brackets to secure the heater. Jotul has a super selection of designer outdoor fires. The Jotul Froya comes in Cor-Ten® steel that naturally oxidises beautifully with a gorgeous rust patina finish that protects itself from the outdoor elements for years to come.

An optional mesh screenprotects from sparks, and a black enamel base plate protects your flooring.

Enjoy

That’s all that’s left to do—just sit back with your soundtrack of choice and a glass of something, and chill.

Anji Connell

Interior Architect

ACID+ Design

www.anjiconnellinteriordesign.com

@anjiconnell_acidplus