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What to do with ground floor balcony

(21 Posts)
Applesauce29 Thu 18-Jun-15 09:23:50

So ladies, I need some ideas. I have a ground floor flat with a balcony / patio area sectioned off by railings around 1m tall. The flat is on a public path, so have lots of joggers and dog walkers walking along. I'd like to create a nice area to sit out and have a drink / dinner. East facing, so only get light in the mornings.

We currently have a small bistro table set, that needs re-painting, and a couple of pots with azaleas (planted two years ago but should come back to life again if I top them up with soil and start watering). Due to being in quite a socially divided area, we have to keep the table and chairs locked to the railing, which makes it inconvenient to unlock and just sit out with a coffee when my baby is napping (we had a BBQ, which was unlocked, and some teenagers apparently threw it into the river). Neighbours have a standard large picnic table that looks good, so I could order one from B&Q (£42 + £20 delivery), but would like some ideas for alternatives for large cheap furniture that I can leave out that can't be easily stolen / lifted over railings and throw in the river the other side of path.

Also, if anyone has ideas for making the area baby friendly for 10 month old who's not yet walking, that would be great. No outdoor storage area, so would need to be something that could be just left outside. Area is small brick pathway type material (with massive weed problem, so although I like the fake grass idea, think it would be too expensive and too much of a hassle to lay and maintain).

Thanks for reading.

shovetheholly Thu 18-Jun-15 09:34:44

Post this in the gardening forum and I am sure you'll get loads and loads of ideas.

I would suggest some screening plants to give you a bit of privacy without losing too much light. If the balcony is fairly large, you could use some more prickly things on the outside edges away from the baby's little hands to boost your security, and then move to more tactile/safe things closer to the house. I would suggest herbs as a good bet - they are edible and you can use them in cooking. You could grow an evergreen climber on the railings to soften them down too.

Are you able to get a nice table with substantial legs that you can drill through and fix to the floor with bolts? This may be quite a bit more convenient (and look nicer) than attaching it to the railings.

Applesauce29 Thu 18-Jun-15 09:50:14

Thanks. Had bookmarked this so didn't realise there was a garden page. We only get light from windows on this balcony, so don't want to screen anything (flat is a converted warehouse and already quite dark inside). Will try some herbs and maybe lavender, tho don't know if they would survive - we get a lot of wind as we're on the river. Also, we're thinking of moving in a year so DH doesn't want me spending more that £300 on plants / furniture, and he's massively unwilling to do any DIY or drilling anything into the paving. Think I'd be to scared to attempt this myself!

TinklyLittleLaugh Thu 18-Jun-15 18:54:49

How about some really light folding stuff that you just take out with you when you need it, maybe a nice folding camping chair with a cup holder.

missnevermind Thu 18-Jun-15 19:09:18

Is it possible to extend the rails to ceiling height.

cestlavielife Thu 18-Jun-15 22:43:40

I have ikea skoghall garden decking on an uneven concrete patio it works could put long chains on furniture so they can move a little but still secure.

Applesauce29 Fri 19-Jun-15 15:45:50

Can't really extend the railings and want to avoid having to bring furniture indoors, tho I really would love a lounger (even for the few short hours we get sun in the morning).

Was thinking of an old rowing boat to use as a planter / trough or shelf for plants though don't know where I'd get one of these for an affordable price.

Don't know if decking would really work as it wouldn't be in keeping with other flats, plus sounds like it would be difficult to lay myself (only just learnt how to drill holes in plastic plant pots for drainage).

Applesauce29 Fri 19-Jun-15 15:46:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bilbodog Fri 19-Jun-15 16:45:07

looks nice - sounds like you couldn't put window boxes on the railings if people can reach and lift them / damage them? Just more pot plants close to the building? Hostas and ferns look good in pots and give a sort of tropical look. can only think of a rug for child to go on when small which could be brought in and rolled up in a corner so it doesn't get wet or stolen.

shovetheholly Fri 19-Jun-15 17:13:18

It's gorgeous, applesauce! It looks like you have an amazing view.

I would just fill it with plants in pots. You can even grow some stuff that you can eat- e.g. herbs - from seed! Then you can take them with you when you move and it will give you an excuse to bargain with your DP for more of a budget.

You can buy excellent cheap pots from Ikea, including troughs into which you can insert trellis-like things for climbers. These could go either side of your lovely big window and would really green it up. I have seen many lovely continental restaurants grow plants through railings too, so that might also help. I wouldn't be too shy of putting in bigger things in pots either - a standard bay, for instance, or even a small fruit tree would help to make it feel like it was 'your' space a bit more.

shovetheholly Fri 19-Jun-15 17:18:14

Oooh - another idea! Have a look at plant staging/etagere/plant theatre. You can paint them lovely colours.

If you look at 'auricula theatre' on pinterest, you'll see how spectacular this can look!!

starsandunicorns Fri 19-Jun-15 17:24:32

We have railings simlar to yours and use windbreakers for privacy on the railings just weave the windbreaker in and out and secure with wire

DayLillie Fri 19-Jun-15 17:26:56

Passion flower can grow quite rampantly round railings if you put them in a big pot.

DayLillie Fri 19-Jun-15 17:29:09

Can you still get those grass beach mats like these?

Applesauce29 Fri 19-Jun-15 21:54:10

Oh, I like the idea of ferns, and the Passion flowers look lovely. Maybe a couple of long pots by the walls and some secure ones for over side railings and some windbreakers (tho they may not last long). We had a tree the first year we moved here and it didn't last the winter (Japanese Acer). It gets really windy where we are, and because it's easy facing its always quite cool.

The view isn't great. We look out on to the O2 and the industrial side of Greenwich Peninsula that runs behind the Blackwall tunnel approach. There is a master plan to develop the area but think that bits last - ear-marked for some tower blocks and an entertainment zone apparently...

Applesauce29 Fri 19-Jun-15 21:55:00


Applesauce29 Fri 19-Jun-15 21:57:53

I'd love one of these for a herb planter but can't really justify price of a large one. Would be nice to have a nautical theme.

Applesauce29 Fri 19-Jun-15 22:02:58

Also love these herbs in wine crates

MrsBertMacklin Fri 19-Jun-15 22:08:54

Good evening, Debbie Downer here.

Just wanted to recommend that before you spend any money on screening etc., that you check your lease if not done so already, to see if there are any restrictions on what can be displayed/hung in the area.

Hopefully not, but would be annoying if you bought things then got a letter from the freeholder/managing agents instructing you to remove them.

StonedGalah Sat 20-Jun-15 09:41:51

Mrs l was wondering why your were giving you name pregnancy has made me slightly ditzy grin

Apple l think your balcony, and view is lovely. What about table and bench chairs that can be discreetly chained together and then you'd only need to pull the bench chair out a bit to sit down?

Second the rug idea for dc that can be rolled up and put away.

everythingsgoingsouth Sat 20-Jun-15 17:21:42

these look nice.

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