Gardenless gardens: 6 looks to reinvent your balcony or home today

Enjoying time outside, especially in green spaces, is one of the best ways to improve your health and happiness. And for those of us with gardens at home to appreciate, there’s no better feeling than stepping out into your own oasis of tranquillity.

But not everyone has this luxury. With one in eight households in the UK having no access to a private or shared garden, it’s time to get a little creative. Here we’re showing the possibilities for gardenless gardens with six re-imagined spaces both outside and inside city homes. We’ve even got some tips to get the look and those essential plants to make it a reality.


Ways with wood

If you have an outside space that already features wood, you’re halfway there as there are so many elements in the garden that timber can be incorporated into. By using some clever design that is. With just a few touches and a little flourish a functional outdoor living space can be transformed, with a natural, organic feel.

How to get the look: Use wood to create striking visual features that also enhance the functionality of your space. Importantly, complement the natural feel and look of the wood with other natural materials and of course, plenty of greenery.

Which plants to use

Complement your timber by offsetting it against:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Lovage
  • Viburnum tinus
  • Polystichum setiferum (soft shield fern)

The minimalist retreat

Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference. This minimalist retreat uses sleek and simple design to make a feature of empty space. Nothing feels bare. In fact the space offers a calming, peaceful and tranquil environment. Bliss!

How to get the look: If you’re trying to recreate this look on your balcony opt for simple yet bold minimal plants. These should be your standout feature, and nothing should be overcrowded. When considering the colour palette, this look is all about greys and whites as the predominant colour. Think calming, simple and stylish.

Which plants to use

Strip things back and keep it simple with:

  • Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple)
  • Bamboo
  • Bonsai Tree
  • Eucalyptus
  • Chamaerops humilis

The nomadic sanctuary

Whether meditation is your thing, you simply want to evoke past memories of far flung travel, or dream of your next adventure, you can re-imagine your inner city balcony to be anywhere in the world.

With a few simple design elements, the right accessories and of course the right plants you could be in Southeast Asia, South America, India, or wherever your imagination takes you.

This eclectic colourful space is inspired by global travel and evokes the warmth and colour of a real-life tropical retreat.

How to get the look: Key for this look and to create this gardenless garden is to use colour and lots of it. Think terracotta pots, bright pops of colour on your soft furnishings (the more the better), and white lanterns. Opt for these key features but always make it your own eclectic mix, with some colourful plants too.

Which plants to use

Create your very own sanctuary by using:

  • New Guinea Impatiens
  • Lady's Mantle
  • Barrel Cactus
  • Fatsia japonica
  • Chamaerops humilis

The wildlife oasis

The best gardens are those teaming with plant and animal life. And guess what? It is possible to recreate this wildlife oasis high up overlooking skyscrapers and cityscapes. Here we’ve got a range of green and lush leaves and a selection of flowering plants mixed in with the greenery to act as an oasis for bees, butterflies and birds.

How to get the look: To create a wildlife oasis at home, you’ll need lots of plants. Make sure you have a good mix of flowering plants as well as shrubs and trees to provide cover. This should feel less styled than some of the other designs. The centre stage must be reserved for the plants and foliage.

Which plants to use

Attract the right wildlife with a mix of the following:

  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Foxglove
  • Honeysuckle
  • Musk mallow
  • Bay tree
  • Hydrangea
  • Salvia

Bring the outdoors in

Even without a balcony to revamp into a beautiful outdoor sanctuary, a gardenless garden is always a possibility. Just simply bring the outdoors in.

Here we’ve brought to life an indoor area and complemented the existing natural light with a good selection of indoor plants and greenery that truly bring a feeling of the outdoors inside. And with a few well-chosen accessories it quickly becomes an inviting and calming space.

How to get the look: A lot of houseplants are essential for this look. Hanging baskets are a great space-saving option, while larger plants that offer plenty of greenery help with the feeling of transitioning from inside to out. By using different surfaces and textures you can easily create something that has a similar feeling to a balcony.

Which plants to use

Create the outdoors in look with a selection of the following plants:

  • Snake plant
  • Cast iron plant
  • Boston Fern
  • Philodendron
  • Jade Plant
  • Pothos
  • Peace Lily
  • Any succulents
  • Dracaena
  • Aloe Vera
  • String of pearls
  • Spider plant

The living wall

Everyone’s heard of creating a statement wall in their home. But while this usually involves some brightly coloured paint or quirky wallpaper, have you considered taking the same approach on your balcony? But just with plants? Here we illustrate what’s possible with the right choice of greenery.

A statement living wall can make a stunning feature out of what would otherwise be an unused space.

How to get the look: To get this look and ensure your living wall really stands out, it should be made the centrepiece of the space. It must immediately draw the eye, with the rest of the area designed with simplicity to enable the feature to sing. And remember, just opt for one striking wall to really make a statement.

Which plants to use

Choose from the following to recreate the look:

  • Adiantum (maidenhair fern)
  • Care oshimensis ‘Evergold’ (sedge)
  • Fragaria ‘Mara des Bois’ (strawberry)
  • Galanthus (snowdrop)
  • Heuchera ‘Purple Petticoats’
  • Liriope muscari (lilyturf)
  • Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese spurge)
  • Pelargonium peltatum (ivy-leaved geranium)
  • Saxifraga x urbium (London pride)
  • Tiarella cordifolia (foam flower)
  • Vinca minor (lesser periwinkle)

Whatever the space you’re working with – whether outside or in – and your favourite style, you can find the gardenless garden to transform your home and get all the benefits of the outside world.

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