Before & After: Jenny's Creole Balcony

What is a garden designer without a dirt level garden to do? Well of course, make the most of the available 150 sq ft balcony. Jenny Peterson, who lives and works in Austin, Texas transformed her 'L' shaped balcony from a mish-mash of outdoor 'stuff' to a cohesive and relaxing southern inspired place for her to enjoy the outdoors.

The goal was to transform the space into a Jazz Creole Courtyard a la her inspiration - the 2010 Show Garden at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show by Dawn Engel.

The makeover took about 2 months from beginning to end, with materials running about $1200 - many of which were bought on Craigslist.

To re-created the New Orleans feel, dark saturated colors, fountain, party lights, and lots of fleur de lis accents were used.

There were a number of challenges -- wind being the biggest so planting had to be tough. The biggest trick of the project however, was mounting decor on the apartment building's walls. They are cement board and not something that she could mess with (crumbling would ensue and they were unable to bear weight) -- so every 'wall mounted' item had to be mounted on a fake wall in front of the real wall or had to find some other creative solution. But even with a false wall, the fountain posed a weight problem which was solved by using a lightweight resin fountain that was faux painted to look like the much heavier aged iron that was desired. On another wall, antique ceiling tiles with a fleur de lis pattern were hung with velcro.

Special details that bring the creole feel to life include (real!) little alligator heads that were added to the fountain and a trumpet planter with string of beads (real trumpet, plant version string of beads).

images from Jenny Peterson

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