Not many Singaporeans have the luxury of space. With high-rise apartments and condominiums the preferred choice of living and many people adopting a hybrid work-life, balcony gardens are the modern housing trends these days. While they do not offer as much gardening space as their landed counterparts, there are several things you can still do with the size of your balcony.
We will show you five simple steps to setting up a successful and luscious balcony garden.
Step #1: Make sure you adhere to your building's rules and regulations
Many apartments and condominiums in Singapore have certain regulations in place. It may either be because of safety, aesthetic, or liability purposes. Because of such regulations, vertical gardening using trellises, living walls, and hanging pots are increasingly getting popular for balcony gardens. Do make sure to check if it adheres to building regulations. For the most part, Government-owned buildings like HDBs are fine as long as they are secured safely and will not pose any sort of danger.
Step #2: Consider care and climate
The survivability of the garden depends on three key factors: Sun, Wind, and Water.
Before you start creating your balcony garden, it is crucial to know the direction your balcony faces throughout the day. This will help you determine the amount of sunlight it receives, which will help you select the right plant as well.
North-facing: The balcony is least exposed to the sun.
South-facing: The balcony will be most exposed to the sun throughout the day.
East-facing: The balcony receives sunlight when the sun rises till noon.
West-facing: The balcony receives sunlight from noon to set.
Most plants suitable for Singapore's climate are sun-loving plants, which means they require at least six hours to eight hours of exposure. By knowing how much sun your balcony is exposed to, the plants differ between using sun-loving ones or shade or partial-sun loving ones.
The higher you live, the more wind your balcony is exposed to. In order to mitigate the issue, you might want to add a windscreen, build a trellis, or use plants as a windbreaker. Air circulation is necessary for the health of plants, but with stronger winds, it also means that your plants dry out faster, increasing the frequency of watering.
As compared to the landed properties in which most of the gardens are planted in the ground, balcony gardens use plants grown in pots or containers. This also results in the soil drying out faster. There are three popular methods that many use to ensure their balcony garden plants are properly watered.
Self-watering pots: These pots hold water in a separate section or reservoir and use a wicking system to draw the water towards the plant. You can either buy a ready-made self-watering system or make them yourself. There are many DIY designs available online that are cost-friendly and easy to follow. The self-watering system is often used for ornamental plants, especially during the warmer seasons.
Drip irrigation: Watering your plants using a drip line or micro sprayers, not only does this method saves water, but it also saves time. You can use this method either with a working tap on your balcony or by placing a reservoir at a higher height than your plants and using gravity to pump the water out.
Hand watering: The easiest method is to water your plants whenever necessary manually.
Step #3: Create a plan
Once you have gotten all the basics straight, it is time to create a rough sketch of the available space and plan what you need and want for your balcony garden.
Step #4: Start planting
There are many different pot considerations you need to note when choosing for your balcony garden.
Type: Pots come in different varieties, shapes, and sizes.
Colour: If your balcony is exposed to sunlight throughout the day, using dark coloured pots might result in it absorbing too much heat and "cooking" your plants.
Porosity: Pots made of nonporous materials such as plastic are able to hold water, hence are better for plants that require more frequent watering. Porous materials, such as terra cotta pots, are not able to hold water well. Hence, many would recommend using such pots for plants that require less frequent watering, such as cactus.
Dept: It is important to know what plant you intend to grow in your balcony gardens. Some plants have deep roots, which means you might need to get pots that have greater depths. While certain plants have spreading roots, which means they do not grow as deep, hence they need a wider but shallower pot.
Drainage: Always ensure that your pots have drainage holes at the bottom so that your pot does not stay flooded.
Besides choosing the right spot, you must also take into consideration using the right soil for your plant. Plants are categorised into high-water-use and low-water-use. High-water-use plants such as tomatoes need a lot of water. Hence, using soil that is rich in compost and vermiculite helps as they hold water better. Low-water-use plants such as cacti and herbs need soil that promotes high airflow. Hence, using soil that is rich in perlite is better.
Step #5: Maintaining your balcony garden
Now that you have set up your balcony garden, you need to need properly ensure that the plant is sufficiently fed with the right nutrients and fertilisers, as well as protected from unwanted pests.
You do not need a large amount of space to create a beautiful and relaxing garden. With the right knowledge and proper planning, you can convert small spaces like your balcony into a luscious garden. Nevertheless, it is always best to leave it to the professionals to help you create the dream garden you always wanted.
If you are looking for a professional landscaping company in Singapore, do consider Star Landscape. We provide award-winning landscaping designs such as water-based designs like terrariums and paludariums, trellis and wooden decking, as well as vertical gardens. We also provide garden maintenance services too! Contact us to find out how you can get started on beautifying your balcony today!