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Small Balcony Blues? Go Vertical!

Most people who call the Greater Washington DC area home love all the region has to offer: art, culture, museums, history, vibrant nightlife, and fantastic eats. As with all great things, there are trade-offs to urban living, and one of those things is space. So we learn to live elegantly, just in a smaller footprint!

One area that often gets neglected is the outdoor space…maybe because  a small balcony seems too small to do much with, or because we just don’t know where to start. But if you are lucky enough to have a balcony, patio, tiny backyard, or even a rooftop terrace, you can instantly create additional living space or your own personal greenspace, with just a little planning and creativity.

The key is to go vertical! What you lack in square footage, you can make up for with wall, fence or rail space. Make use of this vertical space for gardening to create your own little bit of horticultural paradise, then add a bistro table and a couple of chairs, or a slim bench, so that you can soak up your handywork. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Turn a wire mesh hanging file organizer into an herb garden! All you need is a wire mesh hanging file holder (or make several for a stunning cluster of living art!). You can paint the wire file organizer, if you don’t like the color, or leave as-is. Add a coco fiber liner (found at many garden centers), soil, and a variety of herbs. Hang on a wooden fence or wall. And the bonus? Your outdoor space will smell AMAZING with the combination of herbs. You may never want to go back inside!

If you don’t like the look of the wire mesh, you can also hang small window boxes on a fence, or use hooks to hang the window box over a patio railing.

Recycle a pallet to create a unique vertical plant stand. The back side of a pallet offers a great space for small pots and planters. You’ll want to choose a pallet that is in really good shape, although the rustic look may work well, too, depending on your space. Paint the pallet any color you desire. If you prefer the natural look, you may want to consider using a deck sealer or wood preserver to help the wood last longer in the elements. Place the pallet on the ground, up against a wall, or hang on a fence or wall for an elevated look.

If you can’t (or don’t want to) hang anything on the wall, you can get creative with hanging baskets. You can repurpose sturdy nested baskets into a hanging pyramid of cascading flowers or herbs. Get the instructions here. Or use an old metal colander. The possibilities are endless! Just install a hook in the ceiling of your patio or along the wooden fascia. If you are renting or have strict HOA or condo requirements, you should probably check first before installing hooks or anything that will penetrate the exterior of your home.

This one may require a little bit of handyperson know-how, or at least the proper tools and a willingness to learn. But if you don’t have the space for a bistro table, you can create a “Murphy-bar” that folds up when not in use. Put it at bar height, or a little bit lower to serve as outdoor dining space. Add a couple of slim outdoor stools or chairs, and you are all set for intimate entertaining for two on your balcony or patio! Get the how-to instructions here. 

While not technically used for planting, anything that can serve double duty on your patio or terrace can be beneficial. If you have the space, consider a small bench that doubles as storage, so you can keep your planting and gardening supplies hidden from view when not in use.

When it is time to sell or buy a home, having a local team you can rely on will make the process a smooth one. Call the Realtors® who love where they live and understand the local real estate market. ADMC Realty Group happily serves the communities in and around the Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia areas. From start to finish, we’re here to help with all your Real estate needs. Give us a call at (202)596-8101 or email us at [email protected].


Image Attributions

Image 1 – Michael Coghlan via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Image 3 – via Pinterest (source unknown)
Image 4 – Rachel Pereira via Shades of Blue Interiors (all rights to Rachel)

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