Bucolic Balconies

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Kathryn-in-Canada
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Bucolic Balconies

Postby Kathryn-in-Canada » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:26 am

Well, not quite bucolic (of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life) but more 'earthy.'

Given this is Canada and in my part of Canada it is too cold to sit out for 7+ months of the year and too hot for 2+ months of the year, high rise living is environmentally efficient since 90% or more of us really don't take advantage of their patch of yard. But people still long for homes and their piece of ground so flock to the suburbs. I've moved in the opposite direction but after a year am starting to feel the lack of being 'grounded.'

So I'd like to try and create a garden in the sky with the illusion of being grounded. I don't garden, at the house my property had about 120' of gardens but they were full of perennials (or pretty weeds) and cedar chips to keep the weeds down. Then I filled the spaces with decorations. Some of those came here, most went to dd (but I might be able to get them back.)

Over the past winter, the decoration of two cranes we kept out on the balcony were something both dh and I appreciated looking out at. We both found it calming and I suspect it is because they were in the garden at home and so we associate them with the garden.

Now the view from my balcony, in most directions, is bucolic. So I'm looking for a way to transform my balcony from the concrete slab upon which we enjoy the view, to an oasis that is worth looking at, instead of constantly looking over.

A transition from the inside, to the outside, to the world at our feet, so to speak.

I'll use this thread to take you all on the journey with me.

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Kathryn-in-Canada
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Re: Bucolic Balconies

Postby Kathryn-in-Canada » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:41 am

Site constraints:

1. Wind (almost always present and a risk to blow things over the side.)
2. Nothing mounted on the outside of the railings and very little on the inside (it might get blown up and over the side.) I'm not supposed to drill holes to mount things on the walls, but that might be able to be done with permission from the office.
3. Size. I have 7' x 16' to work with. But two balconies of that size, divided into a living space and dining space.
4. Lack of sun. In the winter - none. In the summer, morning and evening only (morning on the living space balcony, evening only on the dining space balcony.) I need to record the sun's patterns. There are parts that never get sun but other parts that get some even now (9:30 on an April morning the living space balcony is 1/6th in sunlight.)
5. Rain - very little since we are on the north side (rains come from the south primarily, here.) As well, the both are sheltered by the balcony above.
6. Entrances - two on the dining balcony, one on the living balcony.
7. Ugly, permanent issues:
*The weather station is mounted (with permission) in the corner of the dining balcony. It is a) ugly, b) noisy when the sun is out - the solar recharger makes a clicking noise. We can solve that when eating out there by putting something over the solar panel.
* concrete base of the balcony railing
* clear plexiglass cover over the old iron railings (the old railing is now too low for code and a child could slip through the gaps in the old railing.) The plexiglass gets dirty on both sides. I appreciate the extra height it gives since I can't imagine being able to go out on the balcony if the railing wasn't that high.
* concrete floor with globs of caulking on it. (Bad paint jobs and bad caulking jobs make the apartment look more run down than it needs to look - if it was a condo, I'd fix that, but I'm not keen on putting a lot of money into this place because I don't own it.)

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Kathryn-in-Canada
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Re: Bucolic Balconies

Postby Kathryn-in-Canada » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:57 am

Before photos:

small P1160658.jpg

The living space balcony. The cushions for the rocking chairs are stored in the deck box along with bike stuff and camping chairs so we can seat 7 on this balcony if we put two on the deck box.

small P1160663.jpg


The dining space balcony, with the ugly weather station. The cooler (in the foreground) can be stored elsewhere except when needed), the chair that is folded by the weather station is for lying out in the afternoon sun. We only have three proper dining chairs but there are two more lawn chairs tucked between the table and railing if we need more. I'm thinking of giving those to ds because I can just pull out dining room chairs if I need more chairs and that would be more comfortable.


My inspiration:

Small inspiration living.jpg


Here is their living space balcony. The tree turns out to be fake but even close up I like it.

small inspiration dining.jpg


They have only been here since October so they haven't learned the joys of dining outside. Thus, this leaves a bit to be desired as far as I'm concerned but you can see she's preparing to have quite the urban container garden once things warm up.
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DeeClutter
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Re: Bucolic Balconies

Postby DeeClutter » Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:35 am

Love the view!!
Begun is half done -SO! JUST BEGIN!!

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Sunny
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Re: Bucolic Balconies

Postby Sunny » Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:32 pm

Kathryn, the views from your balconies are beautiful. You will have a lovely, relaxing space when it is finished!
Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible. --- Francis of Assisi

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RunKitty
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Re: Bucolic Balconies

Postby RunKitty » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:24 pm

Lovely view. I'm sure you will create a comfortable and beautiful space for enjoying it.

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Ramblinrose
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Re: Bucolic Balconies

Postby Ramblinrose » Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:31 pm

Kathryn... Are you allowed to paint or stain the concrete walls? How abt drainage on the floor when it rains... Does it run down a gutter or does it puddle in areas.

I know you said you ordered tiles but what abt using outdoor carpeting the kind that looks like natural matting? Would be cheap and easy to dry. My parents had balconies like yours. They didn't eat put on theirs much because they were facing a river and the wind would sometimes pick up at night. My mom used small round tables between her chairs because they took up less space. She also had lamps out there as well.

She wasn't allowed to put anything on her railings either but she had containers filled with flowers and her tomato plant. She also had like a boom box to listen to music. I do the same thing.
Live Boldly, Take Risks, No Regrets...Jilliam Michaels

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Twins' Mom
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Re: Bucolic Balconies

Postby Twins' Mom » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:25 am

I love your balcony views, Kathryn. Our back patio is concrete and we've considered either painting, which would give it a little sheen and help reduce stains, or using pavers to cover it and actually extend it out a little. (You don't have that extension option!)

I really like having a seating area out there - the long "couch" type furniture it long enough for me to stretch out for a nap and then there are two side chairs to finish the seating area. Some room for an herb garden in a planter is nice; I have rosemary, an oregano and mint in a planter and they are all perennials here. Even if I don't cook with them, the smell is nice and refreshing. There is a neutral outdoor rug - undersized but it defines the seating area a bit also.

We also have a table and four chairs - at our old house when kids were younger we used the outside table a lot, but haven't in recent years. And a grill - I don't recall whether you grill much, however.

Might try to post some photos - our patio area is usable much of the year - we have sat outside on warm winter days. Since it faces west, it can be pretty brutal in late afternoon in the heat of the summer.
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better [wo]man. Ben Franklin

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Kathryn-in-Canada
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Re: Bucolic Balconies

Postby Kathryn-in-Canada » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:49 pm

Rosie: Not allowed to paint or stain the walls just because I have to leave the balcony as we found it (and wouldn't be able to do it. ) As for the drainage, there are two drain holes. There's little pooling of water (just one 4" divet that pools a little bit) so the drainage is good.

We are not allowed to slosh water on the balcony, just damp mop or preferably vacuum. The reason for that is that the water drips down onto the balcony below. I've been out on the balcony and had to come in because water from a balcony above is coming down on me. Since I can't be sure the water coming down isn't dirty wash water from a bucket, I don't want to put a carpet down. It would also be slowish to dry due to lack of sunlight. The tiles will drain well.

We are responsible for keeping the two drains (one in each corner) stays open so the tiles won't cover those. At least if I get my way (dh wants to cover them.)

Twins: I'd love to have a lounge seat like this:

http://www.costco.ca/.product.100095405 ... ItemViewCP

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Kathryn-in-Canada
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Re: Bucolic Balconies

Postby Kathryn-in-Canada » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:52 pm

Rosie: Not allowed to paint or stain the walls just because I have to leave the balcony as we found it (and wouldn't be able to do it. ) As for the drainage, there are two drain holes. There's little pooling of water (just one 4" divet that pools a little bit) so the drainage is good.

We are not allowed to slosh water on the balcony, just damp mop or preferably vacuum. The reason for that is that the water drips down onto the balcony below. I've been out on the balcony and had to come in because water from a balcony above is coming down on me. Since I can't be sure the water coming down isn't dirty wash water from a bucket, I don't want to put a carpet down. It would also be slowish to dry due to lack of sunlight. The tiles will drain well.

We are responsible for keeping the two drains (one in each corner) stays open so the tiles won't cover those. At least if I get my way (dh wants to cover them.)

Twins: I'd love to have a lounge seat like this:

http://www.costco.ca/.product.100095405 ... ItemViewCP

But it isn't affordable or practical. I can't keep the pillows out and I have yet to see anything like this where the base is a storage unit for the cushions. So my 'recliner' is my zero gravity chair which is on the dining balcony because that's the one that gets the most sun (and because of the wind it is often chilly to sit out.)


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