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The balcony of an apartment is often an overlooked feature – consisting mostly of one or two chairs and various scattered gear. You may question the point of sprucing up your limited outdoor area with the Cape in a drought and non-existent garden watering.


There are however many ways to make your balcony an outdoor haven that you can escape to at the end of each day.


4 ideas to turn your balcony into an eco-friendly sanctuary


1.      Make a centrepiece

Limited space does not necessarily mean you need hundreds of tiny pot plants. In fact, this can make the area look even smaller and cluttered. Not the relaxing atmosphere you desire at the end of a busy work day. A centrepiece like a beautiful rocking or hanging bench can be the perfect place to relax in the sun and read a book.


2.      The right amount of accessories

As we have mentioned, hundreds of tiny pots will make your space look cluttered. Accessorise with a few key pieces that have a strong impact on your space but still present a sense of calm such as a coloured glass lantern and scattered solar fairy lights.


3.      Plants

Contrary to what you may think, a few select larger plants should be the focus of your limited balcony space. Larger plants will give your balcony structure and simultaneously create a bold aesthetic. Try adding a few larger shrubs or bamboo trees in beautiful statement plants to create the right amount of drama, with relatively low maintenance in a water-wise environment.


4.      Faux, faux, faux

Your balcony at present probably consists of a cement floor and a bricked or plastered wall on either side of an iron railing. Turn this concrete creation into an urban jungle by rolling out and securing a faux looking grass lawn on the floor and a weatherproof faux ivy wall covering to create that lush garden haven you crave. You can even go further by adding layers of other faux vines and faux flowering vines to create more depth and dimension.


What plants should I plant on my balcony?

Keeping in mind that we are in a drought, there are still plants that you can use in your balcony sanctuary that require very little water. Keep in mind that you should only be using recycled grey water to water your plants. For tips on how to be more water wise in your apartment, click here.


The following plants require full sun or part-shade and only require watering when the soil becomes dry. Some drought plants are aptly named as they do not survive in areas where there is a lot of water and may develop a disease as a result of over-watering.


If you are looking to transform your balcony into an eco-haven and not simply keep a plant or two, we suggest selecting plants that bring ‘drama’ to your outdoor space.


Full sun balcony plants


The Alcantarea Imperialis brings great dimension and colour to your outdoor space with its brought and expanding leaves. Native to Brazil, this plant brings deep colouring and requires full sun or part shade with light, intermittent watering only when the soil is dry.

Shaded Balcony plants

The Zygocactus adds a burst of colour to any outdoor space with its stunning pink, white, red or purple flowers. This striking plant thrives in pots and dappled or bright shade. You can even plant this in a hanging planter for a better use of space.


Drought resistant flowers

As mentioned, some plants may contract diseases as a result of over-watering and this includes the aloe. While aloes come in various shapes and sizes, the most common include the Krantz Aloe, the Mountain Aloe and the Bitter Aloe.


A final word on grey water and recycled water

At this point, every household should be taking an active role in not only lowering their water wastage but also putting all grey and recycled water to another use instead of down the drain.


Grey water can be the water in the shower buckets in your shower that catch all the falling droplets or the relatively clean waste water from sinks, washing machines and other kitchen appliances.


Remember to always recycle and re-use all grey wastewater and reduce your water consumption today. It’s as simple as starting a few beneficial household habits in your daily schedule.