Garden Design

How to Design a Garden Balcony

There are so many benefits to growing a garden. Not only do they get us up and out of the house, but they provide us with all kinds of mental, emotional, and physical benefits that keep us healthier and happier. The benefits are limitless; unfortunately, some people struggle to find the space to grow one. The good news is, even if you live in a location without much outdoor space, you can still enjoy the advantages of having a garden. Even a balcony can become the garden oasis you’ve been dreaming of with a little bit of effort and a lot of imagination.

If you want to turn your empty balcony into the perfect garden escape, there are all kinds of projects you can start today! You’ll have a magical, thriving garden space in no time, and you’ll still be able to move about the space without anything getting into your way.

Follow along to find out about the latest garden design trends, and how to design a beautiful garden balcony.

Things to Know Before You Design Your Balcony

Before you start adding items to your balcony, be sure you know the answers to a few important questions:

  • How much lighting does my balcony get?
  • Am I allowed to manipulate the space with hooks, nails, and screws?
  • How much heat does the balcony get?
  • Is it exposed to rain?
  • How windy does it get?

Knowing these things about your balcony will help you make smarter decisions about what you incorporate into the space, including furniture, potting, flower types, etc.

Hang in Layers

If you have a small balcony space that doesn’t have a lot of legroom, then you surely don’t want large garden pots taking up all of that space. Luckily, one of the trends in garden design these days is to work vertically with your plants.

You can create an awesome visual effect by collecting some small pots and hanging them from hooks in the ceiling. You might choose to have them all in a row, but changing up the length of their hanging rod will add an extra dynamic to the look.

You’ll want to use smaller pots for this design so that you don’t take away from the view outside your balcony. Consider planting some herbs and vines that aren’t too large; you can even connect them so that when you water the top pot, excess water drains down to the ones beneath.

Window Boxes

Window boxes haven’t always had the coolest reputation, but these days, they’re a life-saver for gardeners with balconies. The window box trend is definitely back, and it’s making it easier to dress up a garden space that isn’t very big.

You can fill garden boxes with your favorite flowers or herbs. Hang these structures just outside your windows, and you’ll have a warm welcome every morning when the smell of flowers fills your apartment.

If your balcony doesn’t have a lot of sunshine, take this into consideration when you’re choosing your plants. Some plants prefer shade or only need partial sun. Make sure to do your research before you buy your plants.

Rail Garden

If you don’t have any way to access the outsides of your windows, then you might think about utilizing your balcony railing instead!

This garden trend is offering a very savvy way to incorporate a garden space onto your balcony without using up floor space. These balcony rail planters are built to hang on either side of your balcony railing, and they are easily fastened to stay put.

You can choose from a variety of colors and patterns, which means even the people down below will have an awesome visual to enjoy. This garden trend is also beneficial because it helps to expose your plants to more sunshine and a freshwater source.

The Ladder Look

A trend that has been popular indoors is the ladder look. This requires you to incorporate a ladder into your space where you can hang blankets or magazines, or where you can place small pots and other visual elements.

Depending on your style you might choose to have a brand-new ladder with fresh paint, or you can incorporate a rustic looking ladder from an antique shop. Take this design idea outside, and place one of these layering ladders on your balcony. You might want to cover it with a coat of finishing paint so that it doesn’t break down with the weather. Additionally, you can leave it rustic, or paint it a vibrant hue to match your personality.

With this kind of garden design, you take up way less space, and you can go wild with the number of plants you place on each step. Creeping vines will create an interesting look, as well as colorful pottery or even some string lights.

Wooden Pallet Project

Wooden pallets are often tossed to the dump, but these structures can actually become something beautiful with the right approach. A balcony that lacks space can still have a great garden design by utilizing one of these wooden pallets.

Stand the pallet up against a free wall, and drill it into the brick or concrete. Next, drill in smaller pieces of wood so that you create small shelves in each row.

You can fill these areas with soil and plants or whatever you’d like. From flowers and herbs, to smaller vegetables, you have lots of choices. Use the front of the pallet to label your plants, or paint it a funky color to liven up the space.

Raised Garden Bed

Garden design is possible in any space, and a balcony is no exception. Raised garden beds are handy for avoiding uncomfortable gardening, and you can make them whatever shape or size you want.

Consider adding a small, raised garden bed to the end of your balcony. You have control over how wide and deep it is, in order to reflect what your plants need. If you’re really handy, you can even build the bottom portion of the raised garden to have some storage space.

This kind of garden design is ideal for seniors who have trouble bending and lifting heavy objects. It’s also great for kids who will be able to see the plants growing at eye-level. It’s an immersive experience right on your balcony.

Outdoor Rugs

Not every balcony has flooring that is nice to walk on. Luckily, you can add a functional, fashionable rug to the space for comfort and color. Try to find something that breaks up the balcony space, instead of a rug that runs the length of it. By doing so, you can almost create the visual of different rooms on the balcony by separating them with your outdoor rugs.

These are easy to take care of, and they come in all kinds of patterns and materials. If you want, you can add furniture to your area rug and create a relaxing space. These rugs can easily be shaken out or tossed into the laundry after rainy days.

Zen Balcony Garden

It doesn’t matter what kind of garden style you’re after; every option is possible on a balcony! If you like the organized, clean look of a relaxing Zen garden, you can create a miniature version for your outdoor space.

Consider breaking up your balcony into two sections, where one utilizes bamboo wall decor and a small water feature. Depending on how much space you have, you can create a small bench for seating, and even some artificial tea lights around the space can make it more inviting.

Gardeners with some of the smallest balconies have managed to create Zen spaces just by devoting the entire space to Zen décor. If you’re going to use any rocks or gravel along the ground, be sure to create a frame along the balcony railing so the rocks don’t become a safety hazard.

Creeping Vines

If you love the look of a lush garden, creeping vines can be the perfect addition to your garden space. Lots of varieties will grasp onto brick and other wall elements, or you can put some lattice against your wall to guide it.

Vines tend to grow quite quickly, and if you choose a creeping plant that has large leaves, you’ll have created a living garden wall in no time. Even if you don’t have space for pots, this is one affordable and easy way to incorporate greenery onto your balcony.

Extend the Indoor Décor

One of the ways to make your balcony seem larger and more comfortable is to make it an extension of the indoors. If you have a color scheme in your home, trickle that outside to the balcony so it’s a seamless transition.

You might also consider adding some matching plants just outside and inside the balcony doors so that when you keep the doors open, you’re walking from one garden space to the next. It will make it feel like the balcony is just another room in your home, as opposed to a separate, smaller one.


Bring the garden to your balcony by utilizing some simple pieces of AstroTurf. This bright green replacement for real grass is an easy and affordable way to bring some extra green into your balcony garden area. It’s easy to care for and looks amazing when incorporated with potted or hanging plants. Additionally, you’ll love hanging in your updated space in bare feet – the soft texture will feel like you’ve just stepped out into the park.

Bar-Height Furniture

Add a seating area to your balcony garden design by incorporating some bar-height furniture. This style of seating often has a smaller surface area, and the taller table generally has a smaller base.

Using taller furniture can help to elongate the balcony, making the ceilings look higher. Add a nice centerpiece to your bar table, and the eye will be drawn to this area, as opposed to the ground, where there isn’t much space.

This is where your personal décor choices will really shine. Choose pieces that speak to your personality: modern, classic, or even country. Plants will be the icing on top.

Garden Privacy

Many people enjoy a garden space that boasts a quiet area where they can read or relax. Sometimes this is difficult in a balcony space since lots of these buildings face busy roads or neighborhoods.

Luckily, you can get some of the privacy you seek by building up a structure from the railing of the balcony to the ceiling. You can use recycled products like pieces of wood or a lattice board. Creeping plants will grab hold of these structures and help you to build a wall that can increase privacy and cut back on some of the noise. You’ll have your own little personal oasis that prying eyes won’t be able to see.

Wooden Floor Tiles

The image of concrete ground doesn’t exactly make us think of a garden, but there is a simple trick to update your balcony’s flooring.

Wooden floor tiles are a new garden design trend for gardeners in small spaces. The tiles can be painted whatever color you’d like, and they fit into one another to stay perfectly in place. They reflect the Zen garden style and will immediately make the space look more relaxing, comfortable, and stylish.

Floor Cushions

If you don’t have space for furniture in your balcony garden space, then you might consider the latest trend in furniture: floor cushions.

Some of these pieces are designed for meditation, which you can definitely do. Fortunately, they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, so you can choose the versions that suit your balcony design. Bring them outside when you have guests, and bring them back in to save on space. We suggest using them for stargazing, reading, and reflecting.   

Living Wall

Another very cool garden aspect that people are enjoying indoors is the living wall design. This design brings the outside gardens inside, creating a lush, vibrant visual on any wall space.

Living walls come in all kinds of designs, from layered buckets, to soft, material bags. The wall hardly needs any care, as it takes from its water source only when needed. You can grow flowers or herbs, and crawling plants are especially ideal for making the wall look fuller.

Even though this started as an indoor idea, this kind of project can also be taken outdoors to your balcony. Hang the living wall components on a free wall, and watch as the space begins to fill up with leafy greens and food sources you can take from whenever you please.

Wall Pots

If you already have all kinds of fun pots that you haven’t been able to use, these are great for decorating any balcony wall. There are all kinds of fasteners that you can use to attach the pots to your wall, whether it’s made from brick, concrete, or another material.

Choose a unique design for the pot placement; it’s your garden design so you can put the pots wherever you’d like. Keep in mind, plants do best when they have a drainage hole at their base. When you water these plants, they’ll likely drip to the ground below.

Our suggestion is to have another garden space below, like a raised garden bed, that will be able to capture this excess water and re-use it!

Butterfly Garden

Who doesn’t love to see a butterfly enjoying their garden? Even on a balcony, butterflies will be able to see and smell the flowers and plants they love the most. You won’t get much wildlife up on your balcony, but butterflies are a start! Not to mention, they are beautiful to watch, and they won’t become a pest. Consider planting some of the preferred plants of the butterfly to increase your chances of seeing them.

Some ideal plants to grow include bee balm, butterfly bush, lilacs, zinnia, and daylilies. Butterflies are also attracted to a variety of herbs including mint, sage, lavender, chives, fennel, and yarrow. With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to have these gorgeous pollinators visiting you in no time!

Bird Feeders

If you love to hear the sound of birds on your balcony, you might think about adding some bird feeders or even birdhouses to your garden design.

Naturally, you’ll want to choose the right kind of feeder and food so that you are attracting the kinds of birds you want to see. Vibrant songbirds like the blue gay and cardinal love unshelled peanuts, sunflowers, and suet. Suet feeders are great for blue hays and woodpeckers, and they usually prefer this food over dry seed options.

Similarly, many birds have preferences when it comes to the type of bird feeders they eat from. The bird feeder design that will attract the most breeds is the hopper feeder. Mealworm feeders are more common for the wintertime when food is more scarce. It can be very rewarding to watch the birds feed on your balcony during the colder months.

Simply hang some hooks from the ceiling and you’ll be able to string up your feeders. If you notice you’re not getting the birds you want, change up the food you’re using.

Birds can also make quite a mess when they’re eating, so make sure you aren’t setting up furniture or plants beneath them.

Hanging Chairs

Furniture is so great in a garden space, but it can take up a lot of area on a balcony. Fortunately, there are lots of new furniture options that cater to this kind of situation.

Floating furniture can be suspended from the ceiling, so long as the structure is sound. You could incorporate a love seat that swings or even individual chairs dressed up with some pillows. These pieces are great because they look modern and cozy without having to take up lots of usable space beneath them.

With all that saved space, you can add in an area rug, some potted plants, or even a space for your pet!

Fence Covers

Even if you’ve created a perfect balcony oasis, you might have a hard time ignoring the parking lot or busy road that you have for a view. Fortunately, this is an easy fix if you want to block out the less-than-beautiful scenery.

Simply purchase affordable material like wicker fencing or sheer fabric, and cover up the railings of your balcony. Make sure the material can hold up to the weather, and that it won’t get moldy from moisture.

Covering up the spaces between your railings can help to reduce the noise and clutter that the outside world is throwing at you. Block it out, and enjoy the space you’ve created.

Luxurious Lighting

Gardens are gorgeous by day, but by night, they can become magical spaces for an evening under the stars. Why can’t your balcony be the same?

Add some shimmer to your balcony garden design by incorporating some fun string lights, tea lights, or mason jars with candles inside. You can string them in plenty of creative ways from your railing or add hooks to the ceiling to hang from above.

Outdoor string lights will make the job even easier and are a great substitution if you’re not allowed to use actual candles. Set them on a timer and you’ll be pleasantly welcomed out into your space each night.

Best Balcony Garden Designs

Balconies come in all shapes and sizes, but there is always a way to turn them into your perfect oasis! You can bring your garden design dreams into the smaller space and manipulate the area you have to still incorporate your great design ideas.

All it takes is a little extra imagination and some handy-work, and you’ll have a balcony garden design that feels private, lush, and beautiful all year-long.

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