Enjoying Fresh Herbs and Veggies From Your Own Balcony Garden Bed

Even if you live in an apartment or condo without access to a yard you can still reap the joys and rewards of gardening! Installing raised garden beds right on your balcony railing creates an ideal spot for growing fresh herbs, greens vegetables and flowers steps from your kitchen. With the right planning and preparation, a balcony garden bed can become a beautiful and productive addition to your outdoor living space.

Benefits of Raised Beds for Balcony Gardening

Growing plants in raised balcony beds offers many advantages compared to in-ground gardening

  • Convenience – everything is right at your fingertips on the balcony for easy care and harvest

  • Drainage and airflow: plants do best in loose, well-drained soil that is above ground.

  • Protection – raised bed height keeps plant roots away from water pooling on balconies.

  • Less bending and stooping – working at raised heights is easier on the back.

  • Weed and pest control: containers help keep weeds down and keep some pests away from plants.

  • Portability – smaller raised beds allow moving plants to chase sunlight or modify layouts.

  • Aesthetic appeal – planters and beds lend decorative visual interest to the balcony space.

With proper soil, water and light, balcony raised beds enable growing many types of edible and ornamental plants in a small footprint.

Ideal Crops for Balcony Raised Beds

The sky’s the limit regarding suitable plants for small-space balcony gardening. Some top choices include:

Leafy Greens: Lettuce, spinach, kale, and other greens that grow quickly do well in balcony garden beds.

Herbs – Compact herb varieties provide endless seasoning for balcony chefs.

Root Crops – Short carrots, radishes and beets develop perfectly in raised balcony beds.

Vegetables – Cherry tomatoes, peppers and eggplants fruit well when staked or caged.

Edible Flowers – Nasturtiums, violas, calendula and marigolds add color and flavor.

Ornamentals – From petunias to geraniums, lots of flowering plants grow successfully in beds.

Focus on compact, high-yielding edibles that will be used frequently from harvest to table for best results.

Size Considerations for Balcony Raised Beds

When selecting and placing garden beds on balconies, measurements are key:

  • Measure rail depth to ensure beds aren’t too wide or precariously balanced.

  • Consider bed lengths in relation to balcony square footage and existing furniture.

  • Low profile beds less than a foot tall are great for tight spaces and railings.

  • Beds at least 16-18″ deep allow ample root room for most veggies and herbs.

  • Rectangular beds maximize planting capacity in linear balcony spaces.

  • Smaller beds like 2×2′ are movable to reconfigure layouts as needed.

Be sure to leave a walkway for easy access to beds pushed back from railings. Extend beds inward instead of out for stability too.

Sturdy, Safe Materials for Balcony Raised Beds

The ideal raised bed materials for balconies are:

  • Durable wood like cedar that withstands weathering – looks natural.

  • Metal like aluminum or steel powder-coated in colors – long lasting.

  • Plastics such as polyethylene resin – inexpensive and portable.

  • Concrete, stone or brick – permanent beds that can anchor to railings.

  • Breathable fabric beds – extremely lightweight when filled but drain well.

The material chosen depends on balcony weight limits, wind and your aesthetic preferences. Build or buy balcony-rated beds designed not to blow over or tip when installed properly.

Filling Balcony Garden Beds with Optimal Soil

Whatever the construction material, fill balcony planters with:

  • Lightweight potting mixes to avoid excess saturated weight.

  • Soilless blends to resist compaction and provide drainage.

  • Compost and organic fertilizers to nourish plants, retain moisture and slowly release nutrients.

  • Sand or perlite to maintain loose texture for healthy root growth.

Monitor moisture levels to determine if drainage needs improvement. Aim for soil that drains well but still holds adequate water and nutrients.

Watering Considerations for Balcony Raised Beds

To simplify watering raised balcony beds:

  • Group plants with similar hydration needs in each bed.

  • Add water-retaining gels and foams to soil when planting.

  • Use drip irrigation kits with timers to automatically water beds.

  • Line beds with plastic sheeting or landscape fabric to block drainage.

  • Choose self-watering planters with water reservoirs built into bases.

  • Use compost and mulch to conserve moisture longer between waterings.

Regularly check soil moisture below the surface when hand watering to gauge plant needs.

Smart Design Tips for Balcony Garden Bed Style

Beyond functionality, consider the decor factor when installing balcony garden beds:

  • Paint or stain wooden beds to match your outdoor color palette.

  • Select metal beds in colors that coordinate with planters and furnishings.

  • Include trellises for climbing veggies and trailing flowers to use vertical space.

  • Edge beds with decorative stones, bricks or tiles to finish them.

  • Combine different sized, shaped and leveled beds for visual interest.

  • Include colorful annuals and foliage plants among edibles for ornamental pops.

With some creativity, balcony beds become both a garden focal point and growing space.

Special Considerations for Windy/Shaded Balconies

Factor in environmental conditions that might affect balcony beds:

  • Anchor beds well to railings in windy spots or use heavy materials like concrete.

  • Add windbreaks of glass, plastic sheets or latticework to protect plants.

  • Supplement sun-loving plants on shaded balconies with grow lights.

  • Choose shade-tolerant edibles like lettuce and greens for less sunny areas.

  • Move portable planter beds around to take advantage of sunlight patterns.

  • Grow trailing plants only at shaded balcony corners to prevent wind damage.

With smart plant selection and protective accessories, balcony beds thrive despite challenges.

Enjoying Bountiful Fresh Harvests From Balcony Gardens

Imagine stepping outside your balcony door to snip fresh chives and basil to flavor homemade pasta sauce or salads! Or plucking ripe cherry tomatoes and colorful edible flowers straight from a container to garnish drinks on a summer evening. With balcony raised garden beds, flavorful ingredients and gorgeous blooms become an extension of your indoor living space.

Plan your dream edible and ornamental balcony garden this season. With the right placement, materials, soil and plant choices, small-space container gardening can yield big gratification!

DIY Raised Gardening Bed on Balcony [2022]


Can you put a raised garden bed on a balcony?

Raised beds are a classic fixture in kitchen gardens. The clever layering system ensures the plants are provided with plenty of nutrients. You can also create a raised bed on your balcony or your terrace. These usually resemble the garden versions only in the sense that they stand at a comfortable working height.

Can you put a raised bed on top of a patio?

Although not an ideal situation for a raised bed, hard surface growing is certainly a popular idea as a number of our customers have placed their raised beds on a patio or in a courtyard setting, enabling them to grow vegetables in an otherwise barren area.

What should I put at the bottom of a raised garden bed?

Best Soil for Raised Garden Beds We recommend buying high-quality, nutrient-rich soil in bulk. Or, you can make a soil mix with equal parts topsoil, organic materials (leaves, composted manure, ground bark), and coarse sand.

How deep should an elevated raised garden bed be?

They should have at least 8 inches of soil depth to accommodate the root systems of plants, because the majority of plant roots require 6 – 8 inches of soil for healthy root growth. A depth of 8 – 12 inches will suffice for most gardening situations.

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