How decorated is your balcony or outdoor space right now? If it houses sparse decor, then you are probably missing out on a potential relaxation corner for the coming party season. Imagine a place where your family and friends can fire up the barbecue and enjoy the pleasant weather, surrounded by green areas, where they can relax for a few hours every day. With the temperatures dropping, now is the perfect time to invest in your own little getaway at home. We’ve pulled down styling tips and plant care advice from experts to help you take hosting to the next level.
If you have an existing garden on the terrace or balcony, it only needs a little decoration. Imagine the perfect color palette for this space before shopping for decor, says Nayab Arsalan, an interior stylist and founder of Dubai-based design studio, Nayab Interiors.
“Start by finding some sort of inspiration for your outdoor space – Pinterest and Instagram are great sources. Decide on certain colors you want to stick with and then shop accordingly. Often when we source items based solely on our likes and dislikes, the end result is not so coherent,” Arsalan said.
For those working with a blank slate – concrete tiles, walls and railings – a splash of green can really help liven up your social corner. Gardener Harish Hebbale with Souq Garden, a plant dealer and landscaping provider in the UAE, says customers usually want to mix and match artificial and natural plants on their balconies.
“First of all, think about whether you want to go with real or artificial green. Most people prefer an artificial turf on the balcony, but if you want real grass, make sure that your outdoor space has a water point or a faucet and a drainage system. ” Hebbale advised.
Which plants are best for the winter season?
Now, if you’re thinking of adding a few planters, there are species that thrive in these cooler months. Usually, a gardener will assess the site to measure the amount of sunlight the site receives to advise on the best choices.
“For example, an east-facing balcony receives the most sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon. So you must select your plants carefully,” says Hebbale, who has 15 years’ experience in the industry.
Fragrant, flowering species are popular options in winter, such as jasmine climbers and the night-blooming night queen. The pink-flowered bougainvillea is the best plant for year-round flowering in the region, along with jatropha, thevetia and nerium.
Another plant palette that has become trendy for the winters is a desert landscape – composed of hardy grey-green plants that need little water. Hebbale lists cactus, agave, aloe vera and pencil cactus to achieve the monochromatic look.
We’ve compiled a list of items from both experts that will ensure a more inviting, cozier outdoors, below. Play around with our Amazon picks – throw in a few weatherproof chairs, lights, planters and a rug and you’ve got a stylish patio or garden. To get your items delivered to you as quickly as possible, become a Prime member today!
1. Get a faux lawn
Egardenkart artificial grass carpet 36 mm (2m x 5m)
Guarantee: The manufacturer provides a five-year warranty.
ECVV artificial grass carpet (200 cm x 500 cm, green)
If the green thumb gene missed you, Arsalan and Hebbale say a faux turf can still add a splash of green to your outdoor space. Most balconies and terraces have tiled floors that can quickly collect sand and dust. An artificial grass carpet does not require maintenance and reduces the number of times you have to deep clean your outdoors.
Hebbale strongly recommends choosing a turf that has at least a five-year warranty to get the most out of your flooring. Its quality is often measured by how resistant the color is to the sun and its softness. Make sure the base also has drain holes for easy rinsing.
2. Add a garden furniture set
YATAI Acacia Wood Bistro Set
Esterno Living Malibu Gray 3-person set
Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh226.46 for 12 months at selected banks.
Kidkraft Octagon outdoor table, stools and umbrella set
Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh83.25 for 12 months at selected banks.
Buying furniture for the outdoors – where it will be vulnerable to rain, wind and ultraviolet rays – can be a little daunting. You don’t want anything bulky to save space, nor do you want material that weathers after a winter shower, says Arsalan. “As a designer, I wouldn’t recommend hanging or suspended seats because they’re hard to style. Look for durable and comfortable pieces, ones you’ll actually enjoy sitting in,” she added.
Consider what type of patio set suits your outdoor space – will it be an L-shaped lounge set, a modest balcony set or a patio set with individual chairs? You can even choose an outdoor seating area for your little ones. Regardless of the choice of outdoor furniture, however, it must be covered for extra protection.
3. Invest in outdoor furniture covers
Amazon Basics Griffen 3-Seater Sofa Furniture Cover
Starttwo Garden furniture cover, 4-piece
CKClub Garden Furniture Set Cover (60″ x 30″)
Guarantee: The manufacturer offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Follow up your patio set purchase with a matching waterproof and UV-resistant cover. Arsalan said, “I recommend buying upholstery to extend the life of your set, especially when summer rolls around and the material becomes more susceptible to the warm weather.”
Look for a heavy-duty polyester cover that can easily swallow up all the pieces in your kit, with drawstrings and buckles at the bottom for windy days. Be sure to measure your entire set before placing the order.
4. Decorate with a statement rug and sheets
Black and White Striped Rug (3 x 5 feet)
Demetex outdoor cushion cover, beige (set of 4)
Vigvog cotton pillowcases (set of 4)
American flat cotton rug for sofa
On days when there is a need to relax on the floor with friends, you can use an outdoor rug. None of the abrasive straw material, but choose a soft but durable material, preferably cotton. It can go straight into the washing machine if hand washing is difficult, and a bit of weight helps on windy days.
Arsalan also suggests cozying up your garden furniture with sheets and weather-resistant cushions. “Throw a rug over the chair for texture; it can even come in handy on chilly nights. Continue accenting with cushions, which I think are the most underrated pieces of decor, but make sure their covers can withstand the outdoor elements,” she advised she .
5. Add new planters and consider starting a vegetable garden
D’vine Dev Terracotta pots for plants, set of 3
Finehous Mid-Century Cement Planter, Medium
Survival Garden Seeds Home Garden Collection Vegetable and Herb Seed Vault Mix of 30
Your newly adopted baby plants need a breathable, well-draining home. Hebbale says that while there are cheap options like plastic planters, his suggestion will always be the eco-friendly terracotta. These plants in clay can stay with you for up to five years. For tree and shrub species, house your plumeria, neem, hibiscus and almond tree in larger, statement pots.
Low temperatures also mean you can potentially grow your own produce from today. “If you want a vegetable garden, this is the perfect time (winter) to start one – you can plant tomatoes, chillies and aubergines now and harvest them in four to five months,” Hebbale said.
6. Use your space vertically with plant stands
Rubik Plant Stand, 5 floors
Unfine Freestanding 3-layer ladder shelf
Plant stands can house most of your smaller outdoor plants and are the best way to declutter. Arsalan said: “If you are working with a balcony, think vertically to maximize the space”. With plant stands, you can be creative with different heights. Greens that need the most sunshine can go on the top level, and the remaining floors can be dedicated to eclectic pieces.
7. Light it up with LED strings and lanterns
TIJNN Solar Deck Lights (6-pack)
Woolmug Solar Lanterns Outdoor Waterproof Hanging Lights (2-Pack)
Night lighting is a great way to change things up and lift the room. Consider solar deck lights powered by the sun; these hang on wall edges and rails. Leave them outside during the day for four to five hours and watch them automatically turn on with the sunset. “You can also mount wall lanterns in every corner of the room you’re working with,” suggested Arsalan.
8. Shade yourself and your plants
D&D Sun Shade Sail
HJB VISSO Sun shade sail
How about a sun sail for yourself and your plants? Awnings are so versatile that they even work well on balconies. The fabric is usually made of high density polyethylene for sun protection, which still allows plenty of light and breeze to filter through. It protects you from harmful UV rays and is windproof.
Sunshades can be installed at an angle on rainy days, so imagine sitting back and enjoying the weather with a cuppa. The sails come with D-shaped rings to secure the fabric in all four corners.
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