Tue 06 Oct 2020
Paul Bennett, Director
While property searches indicate that home movers are increasingly looking for homes with outside space, not every wants - or can afford - a house with a garden. Never fear as the balcony is back in fashion, offering apartments and inner city dwellings a bijou oasis in the sky.
The advantage of a balcony over terra firma is height – even the smallest of elevations can yield fantastic views. There’s also the low maintenance aspect, with no grass to mow or patios to weed. And now, in our ‘new normal’, even the smallest slice of outside space is something to celebrate. So if you find yourself looking at a property with a balcony, here’s how you can make it your own.
Finding the right furniture
If your aim is to eat breakfast while watching the sun rise or sip spritzers at sundown, you’ll need somewhere to sit. Bistro sets have come a long way from the traditional and very heavy cast iron varieties, and this curated collection of 21 bistro sets shows the diverse materials and styles now sold. Looking to lounge? Try a frame-hung hammock or outdoor beanbags.
If you think you’ll miss something green underfoot, why not lay some fake grass or add a dash of texture and colour with an outdoor rug? If space is super tight, folding tables are available – just hang them over the edge of the balcony rail for a place to lay your laptop and rest your cup of coffee. And don’t forget lighting – opt for battery-operated festoon or fairy lights if your balcony is short of direct sun.
Successful gardening needs soil but that doesn’t have to be a vegetable patch or flower bed. Pots, troughs and hanging baskets are just as home on a balcony as they are in a back yard. Also now widely available are vertical pocket growing and living wall systems, which can soften outside walls, or opt for freestanding step and ladder-style planters.
You’ll find oodles of inspiration in Isabelle Palmer’s book Modern Container Planting and she’ll even design a small space or set of window boxes on your behalf – simply visit Isabelle’s website at thebalconygardener.com. Great things can be achieved with little more than a watering can, some container-specific compost and a trowel.
Enclosing your balcony
Creating a sun room by enclosing your balcony is a halfway house between sitting inside and being open to the elements. It is a useful option for UK residents who want to enjoy the view and natural light on a year-round basis, as well as for those living in high traffic or pollution areas.
If you are a leaseholder, a tenant or live in a block where the freehold is shared, seek permission from the landlord or building owner(s) before planning any enclosure works. It’s also wise to contact your local authority’s planning department to establish whether planning permission is required. Safety glass is the most popular material to use when enclosing a balcony as it can be custom made to include ventilation and sliding or pivoting panels, and can be eco efficient too.
Contact us if you’re keen on renting or buying a property with a balcony, or ask us to market a property with a balcony that you currently own.