Stunning garden makeover: From dull and boring to lively and green in 10 steps

Having any kind of personal outdoor space, be it a balcony or a patio, is quite a luxury in these times of small urban living spaces. So why choose to waste your luxury by keeping it dull and uninspiring.
Just a few simple DIY projects can metamorphose it into your very own private, green space. You can enjoy your green haven, have a relaxing time, read a book in peace or just wind down and appreciate the birds and the bees.
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Here are 10 steps for you to do just that. 10 simple DIY projects and your balcony may just be the best space in your home.
(1) Let's start with the flooring
Just a simple change from a concrete flooring to a wooden one can make all the difference in the look and vibe of your balcony. Easily install-able, inter-locking wooden tiles are available at just about any local hardware store or any IKEA outlets near you. They are not as expensive as some other flooring options and can be easily installed as a complete DIY project that requires no time. IKEA USA has a great installation guide for such snap-on floors.
If you want to shift away from your concrete flooring but would like something slightly more unique, you can try making these interesting, water-proof floor cloth / carpets from Design Share instead.
(2) Beautify your railings
Railing planters and flower pots have been beautifying our railings since time immemorial. Yet, the joy and sense of accomplishment that comes from making one yourself is unparalleled. Have a look at this flower planter by Gina Luker from The Shabby Creek Cottage. She's made them for her fences, but they can just as easily go on normal bar railing.
If you have the rounded pipe type railings, or if you are into recycling, or even if you are on a budget, you could try these. They are pretty simple to make. Christie posted these on Flickr and all they really are, are tins cans attached to railings with zip ties!
(3) Add some overhead planters full of cascading greens
When you have a small area, the best way to go about optimizing it, is to make use of the vertical space. There are just so many DIY options to pick from, especially when it comes to overhead planters, that you'll really have to do some serious choosing.
Fall for DIY has an elegant-looking yet super simple option for you to try. Full instructions can be found here.
Came to Dance Blogspot has an even simpler version of DIY hanging planters. All you really need is a piece of sturdy string and a pot. So, this one's perfect for those on a thrifty budget or those who don't have the time or patience for slightly more extensive DIYs. Instructions for it can be found here.​
(4) Pallet furniture to make the place more comfortable
If you intend to use your balcony as a private living space, to read a book or to just relax with a cup of coffee, you definitely need to get creative with the furniture. The kind of furniture you choose to make really depends on the space available to you in your balcony and your personal taste.
Pallet furniture is the way to go if you want to recycle, save money and still have a DIY project that impresses all. Ollaris provides detailed instructions as well as a video to how to build an easy and sturdy pallet sofa here.
Add a stylish bistro table made of wood to the scene. Even if you are beginner with wood working, this instructions guide from The Shabby Creek Cottage can get you there in no time.
(5) Time to green up your walls now
There is a plethora of vertical planter options for you to choose from, but finding something unique is like hitting the jackpot. To give you balcony some added personality, try a vertical succulent garden, as shown here.
If you have a longer wall to fill, you can use wall-installed gutter planters, like the ones shown here. These give you ample opportunities to plant your herbs or vegetables without cramping you out of space.
(6) Try a terrarium for the wow factor
Terrariums are such an 'in' thing right now, that you can easily buy one at a home and garden store or a nursery near you. Yet, the joy of making one for yourself, choosing your own plants, your own materials, is a joy like no other. Nicole and Max have a fantastic tutorial to make your own balcony terrarium and you can see it right here.
(7) Hide unsightly downspouts, pipes or other imperfections
Not every balcony, however plain, is a picture perfect design success. Some balconies have unattractive downspouts or ugly pipes on display and these certainly clash with all the other pretty things you are doing with your balcony. Trellis netting can work wonders on these areas by beautifying all these unattractive features. Margaret Park has an excellent video tutorial on how to make your own trellis netting.
If you have empty corners that need to be filled up, try some up-cycled pallet boxes. Jesse from Nine Red has detailed instructions here. Create these antique crate tables and use them to place more plant pots or use them as a side table in the empty corners.
(8) Time to light up the space now
Now you need some statement lamps to give your balcony that inviting glow in the evenings and to make it look great during the day as well. There are countless projects for DIY lanterns and lamps on the internet, so once again, it all depends on your taste.
This birdcage light tutorial shows a DIY project that would put a sparkle in your balcony, be it day or night.
If you have a few mason jars lying around, you can even try this tutorial. Not only do you get to reuse your jars, but you also have elegant yet inexpensive lights for your balcony now.
(9) Now for the soft furnishings
To increase the comfort level of your now dapper balcony, you need soft furnishings. Pillows, cushions, poufs, etc. are a must if you are to get comfortable there. The Sorry Girls have a fantastic video tutorial on how to make your own floor cushions and poufs. The floor cushions can also double up as your sofa base, so that your backside is just as happy with your balcony as you are. Bold, bright colors are really great if your want your balcony to look upbeat and exuberant.
(10) Last but not the least, some special little accents
Now all you need are some finishing touches and your new balcony should be completely swoon-worthy. Try paper windmills, airy wind chimes, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Add that little bit of extra zing. It is this zing that transcends the beauty of your balcony from ordinary to phenomenal.
Popular Mechanics has detailed step by step instructions on how to make your own wind chime.
If you are a lover of paper windmills, you can try Ideal Home's DIY instructions on how to make them. Windmills add that extra splash of color to your balcony.
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So there, your balcony makeover is complete. Did you love it? If you did, please do share this with your friends and family on Facebook.
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