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Creating an Outdoor Oasis - Deck Balcony Makeover

Hello all! Today I would like to share with you my favorite room in the house - the balcony outside! In all seriousness I do love this space, and with being cooped up, not going shopping or to plays or any of my many church activities I wish I could, I have kind of missed the great outdoors. And this year I think this balcony finally came together in a way I love.

I don't really have many before pictures as this was just a blank slate with an amazing view. The people knew what they were doing selling it at a time the trees were full.

Here are some of those trees (actually the restaurant parking lot is next door and it has been so nice and quiet without being able to go out to eat.) Here you can see our planter box and most of my pots. The planter use to live against the railing but since we get relatively no sun being a North facing balcony, it produced no food. We decided to give it a go over here where the furniture flow made more sense, and gave it some grow lights. We do have two pea pods, but I don't think anything is going to grow in that thing. A problem for next year.

Here is the pillow I made out of a dollar store mat. See how here. I use this one for my head and it is so cozy outside, at dusk, to just sit and enjoy nature.

Since the balcony gets no sun, and in general I am good at killing plants, I have been investing in some fake plants. This terrarium from Ikea sits on the table very far from the natural light and is full of pots I have painted and fake plants. I have been getting them from Ikea, the dollar store and clearance at Michaels. They enjoy their little home and it makes it feel like I am surrounded by more plants.

Next to the planter, and in the best place for sun and water are these plants. I am in love with the pots. I decided to go with a black, white and silver scheme. (A couple of these plants weren't in their painted pots yet). I painted them with a mixture of acrylic paint and spray paint, nothing special, just what I had on hand. The spray paint was easier but I had to wait for it to dry. The acrylic is flatter, but I could do some fun patterns with it. Side note - like a week after I painted the white pot it turned yellow. I hoped the spray paint would be better, but it wasn't. If you want a pot white, get the specialty paints for pots.

This is my favorite plant, it sits by me when I am in this chair and attacks me. I like it. This black and white pillow is an outdoor fabric I turned into a pillow, and just feel in love with. I actually was waiting in the line to get it cut and a lady (who was there with a fuzzy pink fabric) started to talk to me about it and was reconsidering her entire house design because she wanted it. I did learn from her that she lines all her pillows with denim because it is more durable with her rowdy boys. I got the rest of the bolt because I loved it so much and plan to use it elsewhere in the house as well. Stay tuned for that.

The balcony has had many lives, and I bring many items out there to work on. When I was working from home during COVID times, I took my laptop out there and this was my view. It was so nice. (The next day I took my laptop down to the river and was amazed the wifi made it that far, and my boss was so jealous.) I will admit, COVID isolation hasn't been fun, but being able to work outside with that view is one thing I wish I could go back to.

As you can see, I have many planters, including the hanging one. I got it for flowers, we may have forgot to water it so they never grew. Then when I tried to plant a plant there recently I dropped it, got dirt all over, and now it just lives hanging on the wall until I decide the best coarse of action. The hook that it is on has had many lives. It was the first thing we got for the balcony. The original purpose was for hanging the bird feeder (which you may have noticed is now on the railing). But, the bird seed fell into the planter and then I was picking weeds daily and never getting anywhere. We also had a solar light on it once, but one thing you need for solar lights is the sun to power it, and like we have discovered, the sun doesn't like my balcony.

This little corner of the balcony I didn't think would have space for anything. It is awkward, and actually the chair makes it so you have to squeeze by to get on the balcony. And I do have to move it to paint. But, happy accidents happen and when we put the chair there so we both could sit outside at the same time then were too lazy to stack them again, we discovered a great corner to sit. I love to sit here and look up at the tree and just forget about everything having to do with city life.

The one thing that northern light is good for is art. It provides a nice even glow that makes working on art very relaxing. So, I probably shouldn't complain about never getting direct sun, after all, I don't get those glares. So as soon as it was warm enough to be outside in a sweater I was painting. I recently was given this easel that is ideal for traveling and being outdoors. I set it up and off I went, painting up a storm. It has been so nice to have a place to relax and enjoy the things I love.

Here are the plants hidden in behind the accident chair. I was getting way too many plants over by the planter and none on the other side. So I made two plant stands (they are tomato cages turned upside down and with the bottoms cut off.) I love having some color in this corner as well.

Then there are the string lights. I absolutely love having these. I always thought they were too cliche and cheesy. Yet, I got them on sale at Michaels last year for 70% off and was so happy. They sat for months waiting to be hung up but after they were they just make the balcony so much cozier. We have them on a smart light plug so I can just tell Alexa to turn them on or off, but even better than that is she turns them on an hour before sunset (it gets dark in our area before sunset) and she will turn them off at 10. So, even when we aren't thinking about it Alexa sets the mood and makes it so inviting outside so I can go and enjoy the balcony during the evening.

And now a shot from across the river at night. The lights just brighten up the place and make it look so welcoming. I have even had neighbors say they love then and want to get some for their house as well. It makes me happy to see there are a few people in the complex with lights on the balcony at night. Ours may be the brightest, but it adds to the atmosphere of not only our home but the whole complex to enjoy. You can see the birdhouse very well from here. I doubt any wildlife cares about it, but I think it is fun.

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of my little balcony. I have found this summer that I have constantly been working out there to add excitement and joy to the room, and I am sure I will continue to do so.

I would encourage you if you have a balcony (or porch, or deck, or whatever) to make better use of it. If not you are just wasting a room in your home. If you have issues with it, fix it. If you don't like the bugs, screen the area in (or drench it in bug spray as we do). If you don't like the heat, put a fan out there. If it is too sunny, put up a shade screen. Work with what you have and make it a place you can enjoy.

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