City dwellers don’t have a lot of space in our compact apartments these days. Apartments barely have enough space for all the furniture we need, never mind the space to make a small garden for ourselves. People living in an apartment have to be satisfied with the small terrace, balcony or rooftop they have access to, to grow a few plants of their choice. 

If you are living in an apartment in a busy city and you have access to a terrace, albeit a small one, you are one of the very few luckiest people in the world. These days, we all have limited space in our homes, but you can turn your terrace into a piece of heaven for your relaxation and leisure. 

If you own an apartment or if you are renting one, you too can make a small terrace garden for yourself without going into too much trouble. You don’t even need a lot of space for a small, functional terrace garden that can completely change the way your home looks and feels. Here are some tips on how you can turn your terrace into something magical and beautiful. 

  • Keep it Open

Even if you have a very small terrace, keeping the roof open can make it look bigger. You might want to cover up your terrace if you want to place a few lawn furniture in it, but covering up would reduce the size of your terrace. Lawn furniture is usually water-proof and they won’t get damaged if drenched in water; whatever lawn furniture you keep in your terrace will stay protected against all weather. 

Instead of covering up your terrace, you can use high glass fences or railings if you have young children or pets, or if you want some privacy from your neighbors. You can even plant some hedges around the railings to make your terrace a private one, especially if you have other balconies or terraces looking in yours. 

  • Leave Some Unused Space 

You might have a big enough terrace but it doesn’t mean that you have to fill up every inch of it. Leave some empty space around for you to walk around, sit or even lie down. While planning your terrace garden, you need to keep a good amount of space open and free for your plants to grow into, as well. Don’t fill up the whole terrace with too many plants the first time that you have started planting; you might want to wait and leave empty space for new plants and furniture later. 

  • Construct Raised Beds 

If you own the apartment or if you are allowed to construct it, a great idea for terrace gardens is to have raised beds around the edges. Raised beds are constructed so that the soil, the water and the roots of plants don’t reach the floor to damage it; these beds are constructed slightly raised from the floor and filled with soil or water – whichever is needed for the planting. They are good for the building as a whole as the moisture in the soil will not be able to damage the structure of the building. 

If you can construct raised beds all around the terrace, you’ll have a large area to plant any kind of shrubbery, hedges, tall and short plants without having to worry about damaging the floor. 

  • Start Planting Slowly 

You might want to fill up your terrace with as many of your favorite plants and flowers as you can, but it is better to do so slowly. Instead of buying large grown plants, you might want to start with smaller plants or seeds. This way, the particular type or brand of plant you want to grow will have time to adjust to the soil and the environment. 

Besides, you’ll need to give your growing plants some space to grow into. Too many plants in a cramped space will hamper their natural growth. For terrace gardens, it is always better if you start with a diverse supply of plants: a few flowers, one or two large or tall plants, a few shrubs, and hedges, etc. 

  • Buy the Right Furniture 

The furniture you need to buy for your terrace depends on the way you want to use your terrace. If your terrace is for your personal relaxation only, a single chair or a swing would be all that you need; for the whole family, you might consider a few chairs, stools and futons. If you’d like to have breakfast or dinner on your terrace occasionally, you’ll need a table, as well. 

Terrace or lawn furniture is usually lightweight, water-proof and lean. The furniture you end up buying will also depend on the overall style of your terrace garden, the amount of space you have in your terrace and the number of your family members. 

  • Create a Focal Point 

Every rooftop, backyard and terrace garden should ideally have a focal point, which is the point that draws your attention the moment that you enter the garden. It could be a particularly large flower plant, a water feature, a koi pond or a decorative statue. Your garden’s focal point can be a solitary plant or object, or a group of plants arranged together in a beautiful pattern. 

What you want your garden’s focal point to depend on the space you have on your terrace. If you don’t have a lot of space, it could simply be a group of small potted plants huddled together, with some lights focused on them. 

  • Plan the Right Lighting 

The right lighting is just as important as the right plants, if not more. Your terrace garden might not need any lights during the day, but you need to have special lightings for the evenings and nights. Especially if you like to spend some time in your terrace garden after coming home from work, you might want the lighting in your garden to be special and soothing. 

Your terrace garden needs to be well-lit in the evenings and nights. Instead of bright lights, it is better to strategically place some soft spotlights around the terrace, so that the lights fall directly on your plants. If you have constructed raised beds, the lights can go under the beds create the illusion of a well-lit path inside your terrace. 

  • Go Vertical 

If you don’t have too much space on the terrace, you can still have a lot of plants hanging around. Use your walls to make smaller versions of raised beds where you can plant a large variety of smaller plants. You can even hang plenty of potted plants and terrariums from the roof, simply by attaching a steel bar from the ceiling. 

There are a lot of ways for you to plant multiple potted plants around your walls and from your ceiling; you can make them yourself by following DIY video instructions or buying them from your local ‘Home and Garden’ stores. Besides, if you plant climbers, all you need is a single potted plant and your tree will eventually cover up your whole terrace. 

  • Choose the Sunny Side 

Most terraces are constructed keeping sunlight in mind; therefore, you won’t really find a terrace anywhere that doesn’t have access to sunlight. However, this might not be true for all seasons, all around the year. If a certain portion of your terrace doesn’t get enough sunlight in the winter or in the afternoon, it is better to avoid that part of the terrace for heavy planting. 

Place most of your plants in the space that gets the most sunlight, all year round, most of the time. For the other parts of the terrace that doesn’t get as much sunlight, you can place your lawn furniture, your garden’s focal point decorations or plants that don’t need a lot of sunlight. You can also place potted plants in these areas that you can move over to the sunlit places in winter during the day. 

  • Establish a Care Routine 

Whether you’ve created the terrace garden by yourself or with the help of a professional, it’s care will fall on you. It is very important that you establish a care routine for your garden so that you can follow it every day. You can water all your plants in the morning before you leave for work, or in the afternoon after you come home, and all the rest on the weekends. Establishing a routine will mean that you won’t forget about watering your plants during the day. 

If you have some plants with a different watering need, it is better to place them in a section by themselves, so that you don’t accidentally end up watering them more or less that they need. 

Your terrace garden can end up becoming your most favorite space in the entire house, a place you can relax, think and be happiest in. Creating and taking care of your terrace garden isn’t very hard to do, especially not if you love plants and flowers. However, you do need to be responsible and hardworking if you have a terrace garden in your home because taking care of it will be your responsibility.