October rolled around and, along with what’s surely to be a state-wide case of hardcore hay fever, brought with it the glory of longer days. No longer will you be wondering home overloaded with groceries and stumbling around in the pitch black of night, trying to get your key in that ominous little hole. Rejoice! Daylight Savings slipped in without so much as a sound and before we knew it we were collectively caught up in the gleeful promise of twilight beers, 9pm BBQ sessions in the backyard and the thrill that can only come from pulling up on the side of the beach for a quick after work dip in the ocean. As you head outside to contemplate all the different chunks of meats you might want to try your hand at grilling though, beware of what is bound to lay before you. Six months of wind, rain and the very real threat of snow, has probably meant that your outdoor entertaining area is probably reminiscent of a some long forsaken amusement park. You friend, are not alone, so we have put to work some House Training for getting your outdoor space silly-season ready. For us, this is a balcony, though the same principals can be applied to any alfresco-styled space. So, grab yourself a broom, snap on some gloves and we will have you ready to face the twilight loving masses in no time.
Start by sorting through all the unnecessary items you have on your balcony. Typically balconies become a dumping ground for an array of household junk. How does the saying go? ‘Out of sight, out of mind.’ All well and good till you remember its your turn to host your annual Boxing Day BBQ. Once you’ve de-cluttered it’s time to give the area a good, elbow-greasing. Clean the windows, sweep and mop the floors and remove any cobwebs, dirt or other gritty bits. Yup, this is the messy part of the job but will make all the difference in the end. When all the prep work is completed and you have yourself a nice, squeaky clean, canvas to work off, so the fun begins….
When thinking about the design and layout of a balcony space, it’s important to KISS (keep it simple, stupid). Try not to get carried away by including every design feature you’ve ever seen. Also, unless you are a designer and ‘get’ colours, keep your colour palette easy too, with just two or three shades. Another important consideration is size and scale, a few large pots work better than lots of small ones, which can make the space feel cluttered. Plant selection is also another important consideration. Balconies conditions are typically windier, hotter and drier than plants would normally experience in a ground level garden. You will need to take into account your apartment’s aspect, sunlight levels and volumes of wind. A safe bet is to grow hardy varieties like Yuccas, Agave’s, Crassulas, succulents and herbs.
Once all the hard-work is done your newly completed balcony should feel like an extension of your home’s interior. An inviting space that looks attractive from inside and out, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy – we suggest doing so to the sizzle of some lamb and the lovely effervescent bubbling of a cold one.