Spring is here! After all those months spent cooped up inside, the weather is finally nice enough to enjoy the outdoors. Because we know that a lavish roof garden (or even a backyard) isn't a reality for a lot of apartment dwellers, we've compiled this gallery of inspiring small outdoor spaces. Even if your balcony is one of those tiny ones with barely enough space to step outside, there's something here for you.
Above: I've decided to arrange these balcony photos in order from largest to smallest, so this balcony may not be the smallest you've ever seen. But it's also not particularly large, and it still manages, in a relatively small footprint, to create the feeling of a garden retreat.
How to do this? Use planting of different sizes and heights. The tree on the right draws the eye upward, while the plantings underneath read as a cohesive whole. In the middle of the balcony, flowers live in a box that perches on the opposite side of the rail, which avoids taking up valuable floor space. The little railing-mounted table provides a great perch for a glass of wine without cluttering up the balcony with table legs. From Marie Claire Maison.
Trent has a pretty standard apartment balcony that he's elevated to a resort-worthy retreat with a comfy bench, piled high with cushions and pillows, and — this is genius — a hammock. You can see more of his home here.
If you have the room, a small outdoor sofa, like this L-shaped one spotted on House and Home, can be a great addition to your balcony. The side tables and rug further enhance the feeling of being in an outdoor room, and the shelf is a great way to create space for more plans without sacrificing floor space.
If you don't want to buy a sofa, or don't have the space, you can still create a little seating on your balcony with some crates with cushions piled on top. Spotted on House and Home.
This balcony from Planete Deco has enough space for a small bistro set... and for bamboo plantings, which besides being pretty also screen the balcony from the street below.
This balcony, from Refreshed Designs, maximizes plants and furniture. The plants here are relatively small, but placing them on all sides creates the feeling of being in a garden.
A smaller balcony doesn't mean you can't have furniture. Hang plants on the outside of the railing and pick pieces with a smaller footprint, llike Daniel did with the 39 square foot balcony of his Denver apartment.
This bench is really little more than a chest wiht a cushion on top, but it's still a great place to drink your morning coffee or relax in the evening with a book. From Welke.
Isabelle Palmer of The Balcony Gardener stuffed her space with plants. There's not a lot of space to move around out there, but I'm remembering some advice I got from an architect friend years ago — even if your balcony is too small to do much with, you can still open the doors and let the outdoors in, so that your whole room essentially becomes an outdoor space. Spotted on Design Sponge.
I love the idea of fitting a cushion to a little bitty balcony and making it a place to curl up and relax outside. From My Paradissi.
The couple that belongs to this London apartment spend plenty of time outside, and we can't blame them: even though this balcony is only about two feet deep, it has a lot going on. Cafe chairs provide a place to perch, and a riot of plants proves that when it comes to outdoor spaces, sometimes size really doesn't matter.
(Image credits: Marie Claire Maison; Adrienne Breaux; House and Home; Planete Deco; Refreshed Designs; Daniel; Welke; Design Sponge; My Paradissi; Gorgeoux)