Balcony Gardening: Safety Precautions and Tips

Posted on Posted in Balconies

Modern times have brought more and more people to reside in the city and what they would call home is frequently an apartment in a multi-story building. As an urban dweller who would love to have nature close by, living in an apartment should not stop you from creating your own nature-scape. If you’re apartment has a balcony, you are even more fortunate and privileged than most. Your balcony is the perfect space for you to create a balcony garden – the perfect nature-scape that you have always dreamed off! This article will share with you safety precautions and tips so you can truly enjoy spending time in your balcony garden.

 

(from balconygardenweb.com)
(from balconygardenweb.com)

Before you start buying plants and pots, it would be wise to take note of the following precautions both from a safety and legal standpoint:

First of all, check with building management or your landlord for legal, safety, and weight considerations. Most balconies are required by building safety codes to support 60 pounds per square foot. It would be a good idea to research what the safety code regarding weight is where you live as this may vary from state to state or city to city.

Another thing to check with your building management or landlord are specific guidelines or rules to balconies with regards to putting furniture, grills, plants and planters, and décor on your balcony. If you plan on modifications such as mounting something to balcony railing or building exterior, you might possibly need permission. Secure any authorization you might need before starting on your planned balcony garden. You need not go through that heartbreaking moment of putting time and energy to this home improvement project only to be busted by building police or an upset landlord. No matter how lovely your balcony garden is, it’s not worth losing your security deposit over.

Here are some tips for growing your balcony garden:

  1. Make a plan. What do you want to be able to do in your new garden oasis? Do you intend it to just be a space where you can grow some herbs that you need for cooking? Do you dream of it to be a place where you can hang out by yourself for coffee and a good book? Do you see it as an extension of your living area where you can invite friends over and have barbecues?

These are important points as you will need to plan carefully especially if you want to put furniture and a grill aside from the planters and pots. As we mentioned earlier, there are weight restrictions in balconies for safety reasons. All the planters and pots (watered soil, too), grill, and furniture need to be included in computing for weight aside from the maximum number of people that can stay in the balcony at one time.

Aside from safety considerations, making a plan is essential so that you don’t overfill your balcony with furniture or pots. If you intend your balcony garden to be an outdoor haven for you, too much furniture or planter might make it look like a storage room and it would neither be eye candy nor an oasis for you or anyone who uses it.

If you desire the much needed garden feel to your balcony, you might want to consider changing the flooring. Weather resistant wood is a good choice as it is lightweight. Get waterproofing done to prevent leaks on the level below. (Westside Company is a waterproofing contractor serving most of Southern California.)

Don’t forget to consider utilities and drainage. Make sure you have a water source, outdoor electrical outlet, and storage space for tools and supplies. As any type of gardening requires plenty of water, check how and where the drainage goes.

  1. Weather conditions. Before buying plants, make sure that these are suited to your particular weather condition and that these plants are intended for the outdoors. You may also to need to consider the microclimate of your own balcony. Is it facing north, south, east or west? North-facing and east-facing balconies remain generally shady so sun-loving plants won’t thrive. On the other hand, south-facing and west-facing balconies remain sunny all the time. Is your balcony windy or sheltered? If it’s windy, you might want to avoid putting plants in hanging baskets as these may swing and fall. How much heat does your balcony get? How cold can it get on your balcony? All these need to be considerations when purchasing plants.
  1. Selecting Plants. You may have had your eye on some particular plants while planning your urban garden. Not all plants though may be suitable for your balcony garden. Aside from weather and microclimate considerations, also take into account the following:
  • How high a plant will grow-choose plants that are suitable even when fully-grown for the limited space in your balcony
  • How much care are you willing to give your gardens-are you available or do you travel most of the time? Do you intend to pay close attention to your garden or do you want minimal care? These are important things to consider as some plants need more attention than others to thrive.
  • Do you want to grow edibles such as herbs and vegetables-growing your own herbs and vegetables  can save you grocery money and enhance almost anything you cook.
  • Your budget-just like everything else, gardening prices can be a challenge to your budget. There are ways to maintain your garden without breaking the bank i.e. instead of buying brand-new pots, you can go to yard sales or second hand stores or better yet, recycle pallets, plastic containers or tin cans.

With proper planning and design, your balcony garden will definitely be the nature-scape you’ve always dreamed of in the urban jungle you live in.

For your waterproofing needs, we don’t want your neighbors below complaining about leaks coming from your balcony, call Westside Company in Los Angeles at 310 994 4626 or email us at westsidecompany@gmail.com and set up an appointment today. We also provide balcony maintenance to keep your balcony safe and sound and give you many more years of enjoying your garden there.