For apartment and condo dwellers, a balcony or terrace may be the only slice of personal outdoor space. In many cases, especially for those who live within busy metropolitan areas, outdoor enjoyment may be curtailed by a severe lack of privacy. You can reclaim your personal space, transforming aerial perches into peaceful sanctuaries that are not visible to nosy neighbors.
Before you make any changes, be sure to check that you are not violating any codes or by-laws imposed by building management; infringement offenses often come at the cost of the resident. Also recall that the higher you are, the windier it tends to be, so take precautions to guarantee that items are secure and not at risk of blowing off your balcony and onto adjacent property.
Latticework is a favorite in gardens for many reasons:
- The simple geometric diamond grid transitions across multiple design styles.
- Light passes through, but the lattice acts as a visual block, providing privacy.
- It naturally welcomes plants and vines, helping them grow upwards to expand.
Place lattice on the inside front of a non-concrete balcony rail to block the view. You can extend the lattice above rail height for additional privacy. If occasionally you may want unimpeded access to all or part of the view, place at least the upper half of the lattice on hinges, opening inwards.
Outdoor fabrics or sailcloth are specially formulated to withstand the rigors of the outdoors and, if they're made of quality materials, will neither fade in the sun nor fall victim to mold or mildew when it rains. You can opt for plain solids or a large array of patterns and colorways. If another balcony is above your own, hang drapery tracks on all exposed balcony sides, closing or opening the treatments as needed.
Depending on the height and size of your space, you can, alternatively, use a tilting patio umbrella or a fabric gazebo.
Create an urban garden with tall grasses, shrubs and other plants. Many manufacturers make containers specifically for balconies, some designed to secure to walls or the balcony rail, others to sit on the deck surface. When selecting pots or containers, consider all these factors:
- Weight -- balconies have weight-load restrictions
- Wind resistance
If a green thumb is not one of your strengths, some very real looking fake options are available, particularly from the evergreen family, that will not look out of place when they stay green year-round.
Screen It in
Folding screens provide a diverse array of height, width and style options. More importantly, particularly for renters and those with the inability to attach anything to the exterior of their units, they are highly flexible. For an earthy, outdoor look, select a screen made of bamboo or tall branches.
To reuse existing materials, piano hinge old bi-fold screen doors together, painting them with exterior paint. Even if you are subject to by-laws that dictate the outside facing color of window treatments, you can paint the interior side however you please.