Alfresco living is a widely celebrated aspect of the Australian lifestyle, so whether you’re happiest throwing a dinner party or prefer nothing more than a quiet drink watching the sun go down, your balcony offers the perfect space to enjoy your own city oasis.
Our resident expert Charlie Albone, and his stylist wife Juliet Love, have teamed up with leading developer Mirvac to help Australians create their ultimate outdoor space this autumn. So to help get your balcony looking bespoke and beautiful for 2015, Charlie and Juliet have pulled together their top landscaping and styling tips for the perfect outdoor space.
Charlie’s top balcony landscaping tips
- Green walls get the green thumbs up
It’s no secret that vertical gardens, otherwise known as green walls, are a gardening trend on its way up. Aside from their aesthetic appeal, the concept of a green wall makes them suitable for any balcony size as they require very little space. They also have a positive effect on the environment as the increased green space within the urban environment helps reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect.
- Weathering the conditions
Densely populated suburban areas receive milder temperatures and reliable rainfall allowing you to successfully grow a wider range of plants. If your balcony gets a lot of sun then try herb gardens, grasses or succulents as they are more tolerant of heat and harsher climates.
- Potting appeal
Decorative or oversized pot plants are an ideal option for adding visual appeal and breaking up a space. Potted plants dry out much quicker than plants in the ground so ensure you keep the watering up during hot dry weather.
- Styling your garden
Different garden styles evoke different emotions and set a distinct mood and tone for your space. Designing your garden to reflect a particular style that resonates with you starts with choosing a combination of similar plants known as a plant palate. Contrasting styles can also be achieved with the right balance between style and layout, however only select a few elements from each to avoid a busy mismatch of styles.
- Choosing the right plants
Just because your balcony is shaded doesn’t mean you can’t grow stunning plants and flowers — there are plenty of beautiful plants and flowers that thrive in shady conditions. Walking Irises, Peace Lillies, Fuschias and Bleeding Hearts are just a few plants that will still blossom in low-light areas.
Juliet top 5 outdoor style tips
- Cushion candy
Stylish people know the power of a throw cushion or two — they can transform a space in seconds, making them a fun and easy decorating tool! From monochrome to vibrant floral prints, you can add a pop of colour and pattern to any outdoor ‘room’. Play with size and texture to achieve the most interesting look. For seasonal updates, experiment with trending colours or opt for geometric patterns for a more trans-seasonal look.
- Weather-proof your furnishings
Weather-proof outdoor furniture can be both stylish and practical. When styling your outdoor area, consider the elements your outdoor furniture will be exposed to and choose materials that are built for those conditions. For wet or damp weather, choose synthetic rattan and waterproof fabrics to prevent rotting.
- Don’t just look at it
With balmy nights and beautiful weather all year around, there’s no reason not to go outside. The simple addition of a table and chairs will immediately convert an outdoor area into an outdoor living area. Grouping your furniture and adding large pot plants to break up the space work well as virtual room dividers should you want a lounge that is separate to the dining area.
- Balance the space
Symmetry and balance play an important role in good design and should be a priority when considering the layout of items within a space. The aim is to enhance some areas while concealing others by evenly distributing the proportions of furniture and decor. Select two or three focal points and spread them out within the space so the eye can rest on one before progressing to the other.
- Dine in style every season
Make your outdoor area an entertainer’s paradise by updating your dining table accessories to reflect seasonal trends. Consider the trending colours of each season and how they fit with your existing furniture and natural surroundings. Soft lighting from practical and pretty hurricane lamps or candle holders makes dining outside a delight.