looking for tips for my balcony
I posted this on the Balcony Gardening forum but it seems that forum doesn't get much traffic, so I'll try here:
While I have general gardening experience, this is my first foray into balcony gardening. I�d love to hear thoughts from some seasoned balcony gardeners.
The basics of my balcony:
My balcony is 40" deep from front to back and about 120" ? long from side to side.
The balcony completely juts out from the side of the building (so it�s not a recessed balcony). Therefore, weight must be kept to a minimum for safety reasons.
I have an amazing view from my balcony which I want to maintain as much as possible.
I have two cats that I want to be able to come and go from the balcony, without my having to worry about them falling/jumping.
I want the balcony to have a nice natural, garden feeling to it and I also want it to look attractive to the neighbors on either side of me...from their own balconies...
The door from my apartment unfortunately opens out into balcony (so if I want to keep the door open - which I definitely will in the nice weather - it will take up precious space on the balcony.). Ideally I'd like to figure out a way to secure the metal door to the side of balcony so it is flush and not so much in the way of remaining balcony space. I think I'll have to work with the door handle....using some type of a 'tie' that is secured to the balcony railing on one end and then the doorknob on the other.....
The balcony railings are matte black in color and about 38" high.
I am not concerned about privacy from other neighbors ...the nearest other balcony within view is about 10' away...
I have an apartment window that looks out over the balcony. This window has a concrete shelf on the outside, and onto which I plan to rest some windowboxes. However, this outdoor windowsill is sloped downward so I need to figure out an attractive way to elevate the front side of the windowboxes so they are level. I wonder if there are things on the idea of little sloped doorstops or similar...that are usually 'planed'?
I currently have on the balcony a cafe table and two chairs, and a small charcoal grill (I keep it there mainly because I have no other place to store it. When it's time to BBQ I would bring the grill up to the rooftop. I'm not allowed to keep the grill up there....) I also have two small plastic boxes of gardening supplies and usually have a bag of potting soil and/or perlite out there....
Thus far my primary goal has been securing the balcony for the cats. I had someone put some strong black plastic netting around the entire side of the balcony railings. This does a great job of ensuring my cats cannot fall through the railing spaces. However, I still need to create some type of a 'roof' or ceiling, to ensure that they cannot jump straight up to the top of the balcony railings.
So here's my ideas and where I'm looking for your thoughts....
I want to create a feeling of an oasis�....earthy....sort of asian... The floor of my balcony is white cement. Not exactly 'earthy' looking. I'd heard about these interlocking teak floor squares that look really nice, but they are a bit pricey. Any other ideas for making the cement floor look better?
To create a roof for the cats, I thought about getting taller trellises and putting them on the sides of the balcony only. Don't want to put them along the 'front' of the balcony as well, as then it might feel too boxed in and take away from the view. Maybe I could then 'string' across from one trellis to the other, some type of chicken wire...and then also hang it down along the front side as well and then secure to the top of the balcony railing? But then I also need to remember the door that will always open out into the balcony.
Is there a more attractive way to store my garden supplies out on the balcony...while at the same time it's functional? I looked into balcony boxes or storage seating, but they were all too large for my balcony. Maybe I can simply store my supplies in a box that's more attractive or natural looking versus clear plastic boxes which just don't add to that natural look I'm trying to achieve?
For the trellises, my plan is to grow plants up the trellis. I thought about peas and green beans and that I'd just plant them in windowboxes which I'd then just lay on the balcony floor directly in front of the trellises. Would that work? I thought windowbox planters would be best because again they'd take up the least space on the balcony floor.