The Up-Scale House:  Terrace by Thumbnail Design Studio

Simple balcony garden design ideas for Indian homes

Sunita Vellapally Sunita Vellapally
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Everyone dreams of having at least a small garden in their home. However, with urban living in small apartments, often, the balcony or terrace is the only option for setting up a small garden. Creating a green space not only is therapeutic but adds beauty to the house. For those who value plants and want to include them in their home, we’ve put together these balcony garden design ideas for inspiration.

Read on for tips on choosing low-maintenance balcony plants, ideas on the type of containers to use in the balcony or terrace as well as design ideas on creating a perfect garden within the limited space.

Tip 1: Observe or learn about the natural conditions in the balcony garden

It’s pointless to buy a variety of colourful plants to beautify the balcony garden without knowing whether the conditions are suitable for the survival of the plants. Each species of plant requires a certain set of weather conditions to thrive. For example, some plants do well in sunny balconies whereas others need shade to look their best.

In general, balconies on higher floors get more sunlight as they aren’t obstructed by walls, neighbouring buildings or trees. Therefore, when looking for the best potted plants for balcony gardens, one can even consider growing fruit trees such as pomegranate or lemon in pots. For the lower floors, where most balconies are in the shade, ferns and other plants that don’t require much sunlight will work best.

Tip 2: Choose the right type of plants for the balcony garden

BALCONY:  Terrace by Rubenius Interiors

As we mentioned earlier, one should choose the right type of plant depending on the location of the balcony as well as the weather.

Plants for low balconies: Since sunlight is limited in a balcony garden on a lower floor, shade plants are the most suited for them. Besides ferns, orchids, Peperonia, succulents and African violets will work well.

Plants for windy balconies: When a balcony is located in a place with strong winds, then the type of plant should be able to withstand those conditions. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid plants with a thin stem that can easily break. Among the best choice of plant species for such balconies are succulents, crotons and cacti.

Balcony gardens with ample afternoon sun: In this type of balcony, plants that handle the harsh sunlight are ideal. Bougainvillea and geranium are the best plants for sunny balcony gardens.

Plants that require morning sunlight: The early morning sun is much milder than the afternoon sun, so flowering plants that require partial shade will suit these spaces well. Peace lilies, anthurium and begonia, are the perfect species for these gardens.

Enclosed balconies: In the case of covered balconies, air circulation can affect the plant growth. However, one can use indoor plants that not only thrive in such conditions but also purify the air in the balcony. Spider plant, English ivy, aloe vera and azalea are among the plants that can be used in enclosed balcony gardens.

It's advisable to get help from an expert before choosing plants for the balcony.

Balcony garden designs ideas

Besides the types of plants, the design of the garden will depend on the amount of space available in the area. Choosing the right layout and design can improve the look of the balcony without making it appear cramped.

Vertical garden

For tiny apartment balcony garden ideas, consider installing a vertical garden to save space. Fixing a vertical garden system with drip irrigation makes this a low-maintenance option for a garden in the balcony.

Pergola

In a larger balcony or terrace, a pergola is an excellent solution for providing a cosy seating are in the shade. Surrounding the area with potted plants or balcony planters creates a charming green space for relaxation or entertaining.

Small flower pots

For a small balcony, instead of large planters that take up a lot of space, using tiny pots helps to grow more species. They can be arranged on a table or shelf.

500 sq ft Terrace of a private apartment at Clover Water Gardens, Pune.:  Terrace by Global Associiates
Global Associiates

500 sq ft Terrace of a private apartment at Clover Water Gardens, Pune.

Global Associiates

Flowers arrangement on a table

In a narrow balcony that only has enough space for seating, placing a flowering plant on top of a sideboard or table refreshes the area and adds beauty to it.

Villa Interiors & Exteriors , Bangalore:  Terrace by De Panache  - Interior Architects
De Panache —Interior Architects

Villa Interiors & Exteriors , Bangalore

De Panache - Interior Architects

Creeper for privacy

An interesting way to create a privacy partition in the balcony garden is to grow creeper or vines along the wall or partition grill.

Residential Interior of 2bhk:  Terrace by ENTWURF
ENTWURF

Residential Interior of 2bhk

ENTWURF

Plants on wooden shelves

Instead of a vertical garden, a DIY alternative is to arrange small pots or planters on wooden shelves. Add a couple of chairs to provide seating where one can relax.

Old flat renovation:  Terrace by Rennovate Home Solutions pvt ltd

Adding layers to the garden

Growing plants of varied heights can bring an interesting look to a balcony garden, making it almost appear like a garden in the backyard.

Unchagaon:  Terrace by Studio Ezube
Studio Ezube

Unchagaon

Studio Ezube

A balcony for dining

Sometimes, it’s nice to have a place where one can eat in the open-air, whether it’s a lazy Sunday breakfast or evening tea while watching the sun go down. A tall table and two chairs are all it takes to create a dining balcony.

Vase planters

Instead of terracotta pots or wooden balcony planters, placing shrubs or flowering plants in tall vase-like planters adds a sophisticated and modern look to the balcony.

Balcony makeover - English:  Terrace by Studio Earthbox
Studio Earthbox

Balcony makeover—English

Studio Earthbox

Balcony railing planters

When space is scarce, it’s a good idea to keep the floor uncluttered. Planters that can be hooked on to the balcony rail allow plants to be grown without taking up floor space.

Find inspiration for unique balcony planters.

An organised garden

Another idea for keeping the balcony looking spacious and neat is to grow plants in planters that run along the border of the balcony.

Plant partition in a balcony garden

In a large balcony or terrace, one of the best ways to partition the area to separate the seating from the rest of the elements is to create a partition using tall plants or a trellis with a climber or vine grown on it.

Mr & Mrs Pannerselvam's Residence:  Terrace by Muraliarchitects
Muraliarchitects

Mr & Mrs Pannerselvam's Residence

Muraliarchitects

Adding colours to the garden

While flowering plants add splashes of colour to balconies and terraces, many of them are seasonal, so there will be times when the garden look one-dimensional with just green. Adding colourful foliage is another solution for adding to the colour palette of the balcony garden.

While a visit to the local nursery is all it takes to find plants to decorate the garden in a balcony or terrace, it’s essential that the right types of plants are chosen so that it’s a one-time investment that requires minimal maintenance. If the plants don’t thrive in the existing balcony conditions, they would require frequent replacement to keep the balcony garden looking beautiful.

Additionally, there’s a lot more to the efficient design of the terrace or balcony area to make it attractive and functional. That’s why we recommend consulting a professional landscape architect who can provide advice on the layout, style and ideal species for the area. This is especially essential when one is looking for small balcony garden ideas as it requires careful planning and design of the area so that all the essential elements can be incorporated without cluttering the area. Additionally, for home owners with a busy lifestyle, who want to have a balcony garden in their home, but don’t have the time to maintaining it to look beautiful always. The advantage of consulting a professional is that they can help with everything from installing self-watering balcony planters to installing drip irrigation so that the daily chore of watering the plants with a hose is eliminated.

Find out how to create a kitchen garden in the balcony.

Which of these ideas is your favourite? Leave a comment.
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