How To Add Plants to a Small Courtyard

Apartment or condominium living can seem restrictive to the plant lover.  City dwelling resembles life in a concrete jungle at times.  But it's amazing what a few potted plants can do to brighten up a small courtyard, patio or balcony.  Plants bring oxygen to the air and a peaceful mood to any living space.  If you can't enjoy the wide open spaces in nature, why not bring some nature into your small, confined places?

It's easy to add plants to a small courtyard or apartment balcony. 

  1. First you'll need to determine the amount of space you have to work with.  Do you have some areas that can accommodate large planter boxes?  Maybe you have some earth you can uncover by removing patio stones or pavers.  Measure your patio or courtyard space, and try to envision how plants would look in relation to the space available.  Plants that are too large can be overwhelming, and they will actually detract from the beauty and function of your courtyard instead of enhancing it.
  2. Next you'll want to assess your courtyard or patio's use.  Is it a relaxing retreat for you and your family?  Is it simply a buffer between your living space and the outside world?  Knowing how to use an area will allow you to develop that space to its optimum potential.  If you use your patio or courtyard for grilling, you'll want to make sure that no plants are placed near the grilling area.  Chairs and loungers should have ample space to recline or be pushed into position without bumping into pots.  Hanging plants should not drape into seating areas, especially where dining or entertaining will take place.  Plants should accent living space.  They should not be cumbersome or overwhelming.
  3. Another consideration in the placement of plants on balconies should be a secure location.  Precariously perched pots that can tumble off balcony railings during strong winds can be horticultural hazards!  You'll also want to make sure that adequate sunlight can reach your plants.  If your courtyard or patio is too shaded by buildings or other obstructions, you may need to consider artificial lighting for your plants.  Water is, of course, another necessity for plants.  Do you have access to a spigot or faucet for bringing water to your courtyard garden?  Small plants can easily be watered using a watering can, but large potted trees need more water than a can will hold.  Hanging plants are also difficult to water using a watering can.  A hose with a gentle sprayer makes the job easier and also mimics the showers that nature would normally provide.

Whether you plan to grow vegetables, houseplants, small trees or shrubs, adding plants to your courtyard is sure to bring peace and harmony into your life.


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