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Creative high-rise balcony ideas
September 11, 2005 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Creative, functional, even fanciful uses for an east-facing 5' x 9' 23rd floor apartment balcony?

The balcony is carpeted, and protected from the wild world outside by a 42" high railing with sheet metal panneling that throws a considerable amount of shade after 10am. I am in Canada, so apartment gardening is somewhat of an option. Are there weatherproof options for outdoor storage?

For the moment, all I have is a sad, lonely folding canvas chair. I'm in a small, one bedroom unit and would like to get maximum use/swankness/enjoyment from what little square-footage I have!
posted by onshi to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
 
If that were my space I would do this: buy a small patio table and a pair of chairs. Cover with a nice, plastic table cloth, add candles in hurricane glass or other wind-proof enclosures. I would also buy sq ft planters to go in the corners. Fill with climbing plants and flowers. Add a potted tree, window boxes and some hanging baskets.

I would try to make the space as organic and plant-filled as possible. An escape from the city hustle and bustle where I could perch in my oasis and watch the city, feeling apart from it instead of in the middle of it.

I hope you have fun with whatever you decide to do with this space!
posted by LunaticFringe at 8:14 AM on September 11, 2005


Here is an excellent example of what I mean. Not quite applicable to your situation but it conveys the general idea I was trying to get across.
posted by LunaticFringe at 8:17 AM on September 11, 2005


Bungee-jumping platform?
posted by alby at 9:27 AM on September 11, 2005


Agree with LunaticFringe, especially on using plants and candles.

More ideas:
- miniature rock garden
- space-saving garden furniture. Two of these or these chairs and one table like this
- alternatively, consider furniture that you can use indoors as well as outdoors, such as these stackable plastic chairs.
-decorative electric lightning
- cook outdoors with an electric table grill, such as the one from Bodum. It doesn't take up much space and should not be a fire hazard.
- if you want to use (parts of) the balcony for storage, there are lots of (reasonably) weatherproof storage boxes, cabinets etc on the market.
- consider an electric patio heater. Fire regulations will probably prevent you from using a gas heater on a balcony.
- is it possible to change the sheet metal panelling under the railing to something that lets more light through, such as Plexiglas or Lexan ?
posted by iviken at 10:44 AM on September 11, 2005


Here is a link to a plant zone map for Canda. You could probably have some kind of fir or pine in a pot year-round. If you celebrate Christmas, or just like lights, you could decorate it.
posted by slimslowslider at 10:59 AM on September 11, 2005


One of the problems with balconies that high is that the stuff you can put on them changes. You've got wind issues, especially.

Since we've got a bunch of hideously expensive new high rises in my area, our local home & ritzy living magainze put out an article on decorating high-rise balconies. The big thing, they said, is to make sure your stuff won't blow away. Use heavy pots. The second thing they suggested is to use evergreens and other durable, windproof plants (rhododendrons are another, but wouldn't do well in a pot on a balcony... generally, anything that you'd find a couple thousand feet up on the top of a mountain), and furniture that's designed to be durable. Stay away from plastics, and instead get well-made treated wood. They suggested those small grills, but sometimes grills aren't allowed to be used on balconies, so check with your local codes.
posted by SpecialK at 11:43 AM on September 11, 2005


Apiary.
posted by furtive at 1:00 PM on September 11, 2005


SpecialK has a good point.

If you buy or make a mini greenhouse/balcony greenhouse/wall garden, you can grow plants or herbs there, sheltered from the wind.

Another option: artificial plants. Some can be used outdoors.
posted by iviken at 1:05 PM on September 11, 2005


Dude, the hammock makes our balcony a sanctuary.
posted by dreamsign at 2:27 PM on September 11, 2005


You might consider a water feature, which can be quite soothing. Also, if city noises bother you at night, install a timer to help you fall asleep.
posted by rob511 at 1:17 AM on September 12, 2005


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