Though it may not look like it (cursed snow!), Edmonton's fleeting patio season is approaching! Even I'm excited, and I'm a self-declared winter lover. I need to get my tan on.
Although many of you might have large backyards with massive, gorgeous decks, some folks (aka me) are condo or apartment dwellers with cute balconies. Even if your balcony is petite, it can still be a summer oasis! Here are some tips to making your postage-sized patio feel a little warmer this summer.
1. Clean It Up!
After a grubby Edmonton winter, my balcony is always in need of some TLC. Dust & dirt seem to love collecting on balconies, so I start off by doing a good sweep. My husbands job is to clean the barbecue (inside & out) and wipe down the cover. I also wipe down all my railings & glass, and finish with a light mop of the floor. For those who live on the Main Floor or have an adequate drainage system, you might even be able to spray down your entire balcony. Just watch out for downstairs neighbours if you're using a hose!
2. Make Use of Outdoor Textiles
I believe in the power of rugs. And throw pillows, for that matter. Adding an indoor/outdoor rug, like the Crate & Barrel Sachi Blue Stripe rug (below, left), makes your balcony look like an extension of your home instead of an afterthought with a few folding chairs.
And why not finish the look by adding complimentary pillows and cushions to your seating? Either go for matchy-matchy, or mix things up with an eclectic/bohemian array of patterns & prints.
3. Channel Your Inner Gardener
I have been in my current condo for about 2.5 years now, and whenever I start to feel stir crazy, I add another plant to my home. They make me happy. And in the summer months, there's nothing like planting some tomatoes or lavender & getting a mini "crop" at the end (especially if you had to evict aphids). So what if you're one of those people who kills every plant they touch? Opt for fresh cut flowers or even (gasp) fake plants! Plastic props can be reused yearly...so you're totally saving green too!
To make the most of your space, find ways to create different levels for your plants. Stack wooden crates, invest in a plant stand (like the Satsumas from IKEA, below), buy window box or railing planters, and use your wall/ceilings space to hang pots! Using different levels for your plants will make your balcony look more dynamic.
My balcony garden usually consists of a few tomato plants, some colourful herbs & flowers (dahlias, lavender, alyssum, and bright green basil), a bunch of succulents, and a few creeper vines (sweet pea or yellow beans). I go a bit crazy, but even a few varieties will brighten up your balcony.
4. Dress It Up With Faerie Lights
Balconies usually come with something that backyard/suburban home decks do not: a view! Make sure you make your balcony accessible during the day & at night! Rig up some cute party lights or wind twinkling little faerie strings between your pots & railing. The result will be a chic & romantic balcony fit for Juliette.
No outlets? No problem! Use tea lights and lanterns to create ambiance on your little deck. I even have a few solar-powered lights stuck in my planters. Hot tip: If you're using candles, get a citronella version & repel mosquitoes while enjoying your balcony!
There you have it! Follow these steps and make the most of your Edmonton Summer, regardless of patio size!