A balcony is a wonderful asset to every home; a convenient place to step out and enjoy the sun and get some fresh air. It is even better if the balcony is beautifully set up and offers a feel-good ambience and a peaceful retreat.
To enjoy your balcony to the fullest, it will pay off to take certain factors into account when setting it up. The limited space available and the direction your balcony faces play a crucial role in the design. After all, the latter factor determines the amount and duration of direct sunlight which is in turn important for the choice of balcony furniture and plants as well as the need for sun protection. Here are a few tips:
South Facing Balconies
South-facing balconies are the best place to create a sunny retreat. Such a balcony will get direct sunlight all day long and is therefore the perfect place to sunbathe. Depending on the size, an area dedicated to sunbathing might be a good idea.
As beautiful as a south-facing balcony is in spring and autumn, it can get really hot in the summer. Therefore, investing in a good sun shade is definitely worth it without which the balcony will be unusable in the summer.
Choose sun-loving plants such as hibiscus, lavender or olive. But remember to water them frequently.
East or West Facing Balconies
A balcony facing the east will get direct sunlight in the morning. So, in good weather, you can use it to enjoy breakfast. A small table and two chairs could be a part of your basic balcony setup. A sun shade is not absolutely essential unless even the morning sun is too much for you. From noon onwards, an east-facing balcony is in the shade which makes it ideal for plants that need partial shade.
Conversely, a west-facing balcony gets plenty of direct sunlight during the second half of the day. This is the perfect place to relax in the afternoons and evenings after you get home from work. On such a balcony, comfortable furniture for lounging or a couch is a must.
North Facing Balconies
A north-facing balcony does not get much direct sunlight and does not need sun shade. Setting up a sun lounger here would be pointless too. But on hot days, they are the perfect place to hang out as they provide respite from the heat.
Furniture on a north-facing balcony will remain mostly in the shade. Therefore any dew that collects on it will not get dried out by the sun and will remain damp. It would be advisable to invest in high-quality outdoor furniture that can withstand these conditions. You will need to clean and treat wooden furniture after every season to keep it in good shape.
Ferns, grasses and herbs that do not require much light are a good choice for north-facing balconies.