My Great Outdoors: Eric & Christina's Atlanta Loft Balcony

Name: Eric & Christina Location: Atlanta, Georgia Type of space: Balcony Tell us about your outdoor project and how you enjoy it: We live in an industrial manufactured loft, complete with an exposed brick wall. Our goal was to double the size of the living room, by extending the livable space to our uncovered balcony located directly off of the indoor living room. We created a comfortable seating and conversation area in order to do just that. We shifted the sectional into two couches if we are entertaining, although its L shape is the favorite for lounging. We chose a fabric similar to the brick given that the view from the inside out is so important......We were introduced to gardening the day we chose our flower beds. Since Atlanta experiences such drought and heat (high of 92 today!), we chose the perennial succulents Ice Plant and Portulaca. They've taken off really well, although they only have a nice bloom during full sun when we're typically at work!

We stacked the stainless steel planters thanks to the ingenuity of our neighbor. He screwed a leg onto the side of one planter and let it "rest" on the lids of the other two. No tipping problems yet. We put marigolds in the top planter (our star student), a gardenia bush in the left planter, and a Tropicana Gold palm in the right. The Tropicana Gold makes amazing orange lily-like blooms, but haven't caught any on film yet.

Our outdoor space is pretty much complete. Once the store re-stocks our flower bed containers, we plan to hang several more. Besides that, we love eating, drinking, reading, all in our second living room.

How did you create it? When we moved into the loft, the uncovered concrete patio floor was red with gook buildup. After a bleach bath and some scrubbing, the floor looks like new. We created our space about a month ago, but we love that the plants have already taken off. The key was to find the right employee at Lowe's to counsel us on planting decisions, as we had no experience or know-how.

Of course we needed someplace to sit, but this was definitely the hardest part. After searching high and low for the perfect sectional, we eventually went with...a Target one. We're pleased so far — it's huge and pretty modern.

Recommended store, site, product or resource? Our favorite accents, the river rock mats and steel planters, are from CB2; the plants and flower beds are from Lowe's; the green rug was a steal at under $20 from Home Depot; and the sectional is from Target.

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