Enjoy the cooler temperatures on your balcony
I can feel the temperatures going down and it’s brilliant. The weather will finally allow us to sit out on the balcony and breath again. It’s going to be wonderful! If only our balcony wouldn’t equal a mini desert. There’s sand all over, thanks to me not cleaning it often over the summer. What better time to create our own little balcony oasis than this weekend?
Are you ready to update your balcony, too? Here are our tips to start creating your own oasis:
Decide how you want to use your balcony.
With temperatures dropping, your balcony can become an extended part of your home. Before you rush out to buy any furniture, decide what you like your balcony to become. Will it be a garden where you can enjoy your coffee in the morning? Do you prefer to use it as your outdoor dining room and a space to entertain your friends? Do you want to lounge and read books there at day long? Is it your place to unwind after work, have a snack and drink there?
Depending on your space, can you divide your balcony into different sections and allow everyone in your family to enjoy a little piece of space? An example could be a play area for your children and a group of chairs for you and your spouse to relax.
Plan your space.
Now that you know how you like to use your balcony, design the layout. How much space will you have for furniture, e.g. a table and chairs? How may chairs can you fit in? You can use the design stage also to evaluate the must haves vs the nice to have. You’d love to have a little, inflatable baby pool as well as a large dining table? Which one will you use more often?
Look also for alternatives. If your space isn’t big enough to accommodate a large plant, use smaller ones as an alternative.
As you lay out your design, don’t forget your vertical space. This can be used as outdoor storage, e.g. a cabinet for toys or gardening equipment, or as a vertical garden, where you hang smaller pots or put them on shelves.
Ready to hit the stores or see what you have inside? Great! Before you buy anything, take measurements of your balcony. Little is more frustrating that having identified a piece, paid for it and it’s on your balcony but doesn’t fit. Perhaps you can’t even get it to your balcony because it doesn’t fit through your door. How annoying!
Be mindful with your furniture.
These days, a number of pieces are for multiple purposes. You can have a coffee table which doubles as storage for games or toys underneath. You can find a couch with space for blankets under its seats.
If your balcony is relatively small, consider folding furniture which can easily be stored and covered and just as easily be pulled out. Chairs and tables are common examples of folding furniture and available in most home improvement and furniture stores.
This may also be a great time to go through your gardening equipment, e.g. little shovels, soil, seeds, pots. Throw out broken pieces or hoses with a leak. After all, how many pots do you need?
Prepare for the night.
While we’re generally lucky and don’t have mosquitoes visit us, I’m reluctant to turn lights on at night. Candles which act as a repellent or incense can be used in addition to outdoor lights. Keep an eye any open fire. Too many fires have started with a small spark.
Protect yourself from the elements.
Depending on the location of your balcony, you may get a breeze during the day or evening. If it’s too much for you or you’re looking for an extra bit of sun protection, you can hang curtains made out of fabric.
Surround yourself with nature.
Plants and trees are great decorative pieces. Petals of different colours can look fabulous. Whether you’re going for the wild mixed look or all in the same colour, pick what makes you happy.
If you don’t want to water them every day, you may want to look for everlasting (artificial) ones. Maybe you’re going for those plants that don’t require that much water like a cactus. Gardening can be very therapeutic and even on a balcony, you can grow your own vegetables (tomatoes anyone?) or teach your children how to plant a seed and look after the plant.
A word of caution.
We hear of tower fires or tragic falls too often in this region. If you have children, consider raising the bar for them to not climb and accidentally fall over. Do you have any pets? You could put up a net which stops from them jumping over the balcony barrier. Fires from a carelessly disposed cigarette or what started as a fun BBQ has tuned into deadly fires.
How does your balcony look like? Are you also transforming yours from a sand pit, like mine, to a mini oasis in the city? I’d love to hear what you’re doing!
Until next time,