Too often in apartment living, renters fail to recognize the potential in even the smallest patios and balconies. Instead of taking advantage of their own private outdoor area, these spaces are used for storing items unfit for indoor life. Unsightly trash bags, folding sports chairs and dirty shoes are among the common inhabitants. End this madness! A charming breakfast nook, a thriving garden and even a safe place for pets to sun themselves are easily achieved. Here are our favorite ways of turning balconies and patios from an afterthought to an attractive and functioning extension of your home.
Do you have a green thumb or want to cultivate one? There are so many great ways to turn your apartment’s balcony or patio into your own personal garden. Small potted plants, attractively arranged, not only give you a relaxing hobby, but great smells and an outdoor space neighbors will envy. Upcycle an old hall table, ladder or shelf to stack your flowers or vegetables and create several visual levels. Remember to arrange according to size, with bigger pots on the floor and the smallest pots on the top shelves.
• Try hanging a basket of Verbena where it can soak up the sun.
• For tomatoes, use a larger pot with a wire cage inserted in the soil for support.
• Colorful Marigolds do well in smaller pots.
• Mint, basil, Rosemary and Thyme are all herbs that you can use in your own cooking.
Who doesn’t want a cozy nook where they can enjoy a light meal or cup of coffee? The key to making a perfect outdoor spot is stability. Even if it isn’t permanent, make it feel that way. Ditch the folding sports chairs. They’re an eyesore and not the easiest things to get in and out of. Target’s Patio Bistro Chair and Bistro Tables are great options for less than $30. Both the chairs and table are space saving and brightly colored options with a European flair. Looking for something more relaxed? Thrift shop or invest in a comfy patio chaise. Pair with a side table for the perfect spot to sunbathe or enjoy your favorite book.
• Make sure your furniture is weatherproof.
• Remember to take any seat or chaise cushions inside when it rains.
• Keep a scented candle outside for bug repellant and additional light.
Is the thought of the prying eyes of passersby putting you off an outdoor experience? Privacy is only one or two crafty steps away. On a patio, hanging a few semi-sheer outdoor curtains can create a cabana-like haven that allows the sun in while keeping your space private. For a balcony, select a sun-proof and weather-resistant fabric to cover the outside of the safety railing. Covering the railing will increase privacy and give the balcony an enclosed feel. This can be great for pet owners. No more worries about your pet squeezing through the bars or barking at every visual stimulation available when they’re outside
• Use curved shower curtain rods to hang your patio curtains. They give a more open feel, and, with the right size, no tools will be necessary during installation.
• For balcony fabric, try matching your apartment complexes exterior decoration for discreet coverage. Neutral canvas colors work great!
• With a slim panel patio pet door, your pet can have easy access to your balcony or enclosed patio. Filling a boot tray with one or two pieces of sod acts as an emergency bathroom for them while you’re away.