Franch­esca Wat­son’s savvy bal­cony gar­den tips

Land­scape de­signer Franch­esca Wat­son of­fers so­lu­tions for the most com­mon chal­lenges

Condé Nast House & Garden - - CONTENTS -


This is of­ten the first is­sue to over­come. You may need space-sav­ing so­lu­tions, such as wooden or metal screens. If you have the room, grow­ing hedges in a line of sim­ple trough con­tain­ers that are deep enough can give you great green­ing and screen­ing at the sides – choose ever­green clip­pable plants that will take a bit of a breeze, such as Sear­sia or eu­clea species, and keep them neat so as not to take up too much space.

For pri­vacy from over­head, per­go­las and awnings work well, but if these aren’t fea­si­ble put one large con­tainer some­where cen­tral in which you can grow a small tree. The con­tainer needs to be of a size that will al­low the tree to de­velop some sub­stance; square ones are good as they’re eas­ier to walk around. If you train the tree to spread out, you’ll be able to sit be­neath it with­out feel­ing over­looked from above. Again, trees that will take a breeze are usu­ally nec­es­sary – con­sider thorn trees, bot­tle­brushes, olives or large shrubs such as Bud­dleja and Brachy­lae­nas that can be trained into small trees.

Ex­tend­ing the space

If you have a strong bal­cony rail­ing, at­tach win­dow boxes all the way around – I like to hook them to the out­side of the rail­ing, then you are not en­croach­ing on your space and drips don’t be­come a prob­lem. Get boxes in a de­cent size so you can grow a va­ri­ety of things if the wind is not too strong. If all else fails, try trail­ing suc­cu­lents – there is a huge se­lec­tion avail­able.

Fur­ni­ture & Light­ing

Avoid hav­ing air-con­di­tioner units or per­ma­nent wash­ing lines hog all the space. If you have to use the space for stor­age, it’s worth in­vest­ing in clever so­lu­tions that can dou­ble up as seats or day beds. Choose ta­bles and chairs that are com­pact and neat (with­out legs that splay and un­nec­es­sary arm­rests) and make sure they’re fin­ished in a ma­te­rial that is easy to keep clean. Ar­ti­fi­cial grass un­der­foot will soften the whole feel and make it seem more like a gar­den, and is re­ally prac­ti­cal, too. Keep the light­ing muted. If there is a fix­ture de­liv­er­ing too much light, put a plant in front of it or a screen over it.

choos­ing plants

In a small area ev­ery plant is no­ticed, so they need to be thought­fully cho­sen and easy to main­tain, with­out too much down­time in the off sea­son. Size and habit are es­pe­cially im­por­tant, so un­der­stand what the plant will do, es­pe­cially if it’s go­ing to be re­stricted by a con­tainer. Also keep in mind plants that can be trained or clipped, as these are es­pe­cially use­ful in tight spa­ces.

And try not to have mil­lions of small pots even if that’s your usual style – in­vest in some large con­tain­ers too, and do ef­fec­tive com­bi­na­tions of plants in them. Franch­esca Wat­son % 082 808 1287 n 8 franch­escawat­

EVER­GREEN clip­pable plants ARE GREAT for GREEN­ING and SCREEN­ING a Bal­cony

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