20Blooming lovely

On the artist’s impression every balcony is an oasis – gentle breezes wafting the leaves of perfectly manicured plants.

But as any glance at any existing apartment complex will tell you, many residents fail to master the art of balcony gardens.

So what do you need to do in order to get your sky garden growing?

The first step is to remember that each balcony is a micro-climate and something that grows on one will not necessarily grow on another.

Does your balcony face west? You will need plants that can handle Perth’s hot summer sun. Do you face south? You need something that will survive without long hours of sunshine. Face east? You may be on the end of the warm easterly wind over summer.

“North-facing apartments are obviously in high demand as they get the best balance of light and sun,” says Colliers International agent Ashlee Arnott.

“Wind is the big threat, though, as it can batter plants, dry them out quickly and topple your plant stand or pots.”

A better option than small pots is to use a large trough or bot that won’t dry out as quickly, though it will still need regular watering – up to daily in hot weather if they dry out.

As always, there are the neighbours to consider, so if you are looking at pots that will be visible from the road or which attach to the balcony, check with your council of owners that no-one is likely to object. The same goes for anything that might drive others crazy, so ask before you deck every inch with flashing fairy lights or add a life-size garden gnome.

Some developers are taking the lead in greening balconies, with Psaros offering its residents planter boxes for fruit and veggies for their balconies, while the new Elizabeth Quay apartments will feature ‘winter gardens’ with glass louvres that can enclose the balcony in cool weather.