The Start up
Make a clear start up plan for your flat balcony. Mark out a zone for plants and a clear demarcation for your seating area or chairs. Make sure you leave enough space between pots for cleaning. If you dry clothes on your apartment balcony and if space permits, install a screen that demarcates your garden from the utility space.
Spend some time on your balcony to figure out how much sunlight it receives. This will help you make your choice of sun loving or shade loving plants. Make sure you get the direction of rainfall also correct. West facing balconies receive more sunlight. Place your pots aesthetically, not in a line. Place your pots in clusters or islands. Plan the colour combinations of the pots, flowers or leaves. Make sure you vary the size or girth of the pots.
You don't have to make all your decisions at once and buy all your pots together. Just keep adding to your garden. If your flat or villa is in tropical area you have the luxury of mixing ornamental plants with herbs and veggies. Other tropical plants include Anthurium's, Spathiphyllum for flowers and Diffenbachia, palms, ficus and philodendrons for their leaves. They also do well in the shade. Your herbs and greens need more sunlight and the easier varieties to grow are spinach, coriander and mint.
The green lung of your flat or villa can be made more fun by varying the shapes, sizes and colours of the containers or pots. You can add creative touches by up-cycling old coffee mugs, wooden crates, wooden basins, cans, bottles, etc. make optimum use of railings and walls for climbers. Hanging multi colored mugs with a collection of your favourite plants in them look great.
Who says you can't have your piece of paradise in an apartment or villa? Change the concrete jungle effect with your very own garden.