Brown Thumb Gardening on a Balcony

Source: Alvhem Brokerage and Interiors
Source: Alvhem Brokerage and Interiors

If you would like to have a garden but don’t think you have the space or green thumb, think again.

Gardens can be small and low maintenance, like the balcony (container) garden in the above photograph.

You can place your plant, straight from the nursery, into any of the planters like the ones shown, or you could transplant them into pots (this will involve getting potting soil). If you’ve got a brown thumb and plants die when you look at them wrong, you may want to avoid transplanting them yourself, and either ask for help by hiring someone or learning how to do it first from a knowledgeable nursery worker or online video.

Do note that some planters don’t have drainage holes–they’re meant to hold a potted plant like a vase. An easy solution is to drill a drainage hole (some nurseries, lumberyards, and pottery stores will do this for you for a minimal charge) or take out your potted plant for watering and then replacing it in the planter.

Your choice of plants will help you maintain an effortless green spot in your home. Go for lavender and rosemary in sunny spots and if you’re into flowers, check out the annuals (they’re supposed to die, it’s not your fault) section again at your local nursery. Perennials are the ones that keep living, and that’s a pleasure in itself, but the annuals are like living bouquets you get to replace easily. All of these plants still need to be watered regularly, so if that’s a bother, go for succulents.

Source: Alvhem Brokerage and Interiors
Source: Alvhem Brokerage and Interiors

Dress up your balcony or small space garden by using size appropriate patio furniture and textiles (make sure the rug is suitable for outdoor use, or be ready to roll it up in rainy weather). The throw is nice for nippy mornings when you’re enjoying a cuppa al fresco.

Notice how the use of woven baskets gives a warm, rustic feel in an otherwise urban setting? It’s also a great way to hide plastic pots that are less attractive.

Check out how the table above is decorated with the basket of live herbs. They smell nice and can be fun to pinch a sprig to enhance whatever you’re noshing on.

Source: Apartment Therapy, Design: Jenny Carlson and Collin Cannaday, Photography: Adrienne Breaux
Source: Apartment Therapy, Design: Jenny Carlson and Collin Cannaday, Photography: Adrienne Breaux

Remember, if gardening is not your forte, keep it simple. Vary the pots, heights, foliage and plants for visual interest, and look for brown-thumb-resistant species like jade plant, Boston fern, rubber plant, and clumping bamboo.

Want to create a balcony or small deck oasis? Let’s do it! Contact me here.

Featured image source: Alvhem Brokerage and Interiors


  1. Great post! I’ve been eying container vegetable gardens lately. Seems like a great solution when planting area is limited. I’ve also been trying to figure out what makes a good succulent mix. I see these premade bowls of different succulents and they look so lovely and easy, but I can’t seem to get it right. Maybe my creations are not dense enough? Not varied enough? I don’t know!

    1. Container gardening is a great solution to limited space! I’ve been avoiding it for years because I like plants in the ground, but I think I’ve been denying myself the pleasure of gardening. Dwarf citrus might be the next stop on my journey!

      Send me some pictures of your succulent mixes, I’d love to see them. They grow slowly, so you do want a little density, but with enough room for future growth. Varying the heights (taller plants versus creepers), colors, and foliage type will add interest.

      I would suggest making several bowls of succulents and have fun with it. Arranging them is a skill you’ll develop. Then go back and replant your first bowl. 🙂

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