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3 Ways to Give Your Balcony a Fresh Start in 2011

by Fern on January 3, 2011

in How To

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HELLO 2011! New year. Fresh start. Deep breaths. It feels great, doesn’t it?!

Except your balcony is still stuck in 2010, right? That’s okay, there is plenty of time before Spring to whip things in to shape. And the great thing about being a balcony gardener is that your gardening space isn’t overwhelmingly large. With a little elbow grease, you’ll be able to whip things in to shape in no time flat.

Clean The Floor

I know this doesn’t sound like fun, and I won’t lie to you and tell you that it is an exciting way to spend an hour, but you will be surprised how much a clean floor makes a difference.

So. Time to move all your pots, chairs, and tables to one side of your balcony and thoroughly sweep and scrub the floor of the other side. Then, repeat the process for the other side. If your flooring is impossible to clean, check out balcony deck tiles. You can install them easily and without damaging the original flooring.

All done? Don’t things seem better all ready?!

Paint Your Pots

If your pots are looking a little worse for wear, it’s easy and cheap to give them a facelift with paint. In the past I’ve shared ideas for using a stencil to give a cheap plastic pot a cool, modern look. But you could also give your pots a batik look or do clever things with chalkboard paint.

If you don’t want to paint your pots, at least give them a good solid scrub to clean off last year’s dirt and spider webs.

Rearrange Your Pots and Furniture

This is my favorite thing to do with my own balcony, because it doesn’t cost anything, but makes you feel as though you’ve got a whole new balcony. I don’t know about you, but I often think to myself that I should put my bench over there in the shade, and move that tree over into the sun and we’d both be happier for it. But for whatever reason, I never get around to doing it. Well, now is the time!

I remember once that my uncle recommended that I sit in a different part of my synagogue to get a different perspective on the prayer service. Moving things around on your balcony can give you a similarly new perspective. Even if you grow all the same plants as you did last year, maybe sitting in a different spot will allow you to appreciate how the light hits your favorite flower, or appreciate your city lights view.

How do you plan to renew your balcony for 2011?

Photo by SantiMB

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

lidia varesco design January 3, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Wow, what a lovely balcony! Thanks for the tips. Now that I have one year of balcony gardening under my belt, I plan to add more plants to my balcony, including more veggies. I also want to experiment more with growing tropicals in the Midwest and add a few new pieces of furniture or other garden accents. Happy New Year!

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carolyn January 4, 2011 at 7:04 am

Happy New Year! While my balcony sits in frost and snow, I just walked out and saw all the things I could be doing to be ready whenever the Gods smile on us again. Painting pots, organizing, etc. Thank you so much. Your site gives ideas and hope for us Eastern balcony dwellers! ~Madds

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Fern January 4, 2011 at 9:23 am

Sounds like an exciting year of gardening for you Lidia!

Good luck Carolyn! I actually find winter to be a needed rest from actual gardening, and a great opportunity to do the things you mentioned.

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lidia varesco design January 4, 2011 at 9:30 am

I agree. Winter is also a good time to focus on the indoor plants that may have gotten a bit neglected.

I made a list of gardening goals for this year on my blog: http://urbangardeness.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/gardening-goals-for-2011/. They are pretty simple, so hopefully I can stick to them!

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carolyn January 4, 2011 at 10:35 am

@ Fern, yes of course, I agree, however, I did start some herbs and flowers under grow lights this year and I am having great fun and also it feels so good when my daughter calls and says, “do you have any parsley?” and I have it!
@Lidia, I read your list and I posted on same, this is a great way to communicate with others, you in Chicago (brrrr) and me in Boston (3/4 brrrrr), thanks. Love the ideas you mention!

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Ramona January 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Fern, I’m always wishing the winter months away so it can be spring, and of course our winters are longer and much colder than your area, but I guess I need to take a new approach and make a list of projects that I would otherwise not have time to do during my growing season. Also reading, connecting with great bloggers, and making my garden wish lists for the next growing season would be some things to do to fill my time.

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kym January 17, 2011 at 10:35 pm

ha! it’s so tiny…but beautiful… i live on a BIG porch/rooftop!!

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Janet February 2, 2011 at 8:24 am

That balocony is beautiful,what kind of flowers and plants are in the picture?

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Fern February 2, 2011 at 10:12 am

Ramona–I think appreciating each season for what it is helps me enjoy life more. It’s stressful to dread a season and then spend that season waiting for the next one. :-)

Janet–Those are mostly different types of begonias.

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Janet February 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

I live in S Calif Zone 9 or 10 and would like to have my balcony look like this. But if I planted Begonias in the Summer could I plant annuals for Spring next to the Begonia bulbs? So I would have Spring annuals and Summer Begonias in the same trough planter.

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Fern February 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

Janet–Many Begonias aren’t bulbs (there are some that are tuberous). They will have leaves year round and flowers nearly year round in Southern California. I don’t recommend planting annuals and perennials (or bulbs/tubers) in the same container unless you plan on removing the bulbs/tubers when you plant the annuals. You should plant begonias in the spring, and you’ll have flowers through fall. You can remove the tubers (if you get that kind) and replace them with winter annuals if you’d like.

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