Posts Tagged ‘ Water Features ’

Urban gardening on your balcony Balcony Gardening

Posted on: October 20th, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
Life is a Garden – Balcony Gardening

We know that many of our gardeners have green fingers longer than their balconies can accommodate. That’s why Life is a Garden has made November all about our city living gardeners out there. You can still make your patio pop, indulge your gardening cravings, and escape the city from your stoep, here’s how:

Life is a Garden – Balcony Gardening
Consider your style and space

Before diving in, there are a few things to consider: What do you use your balcony for the most? Are you more of a lock-up-and-go or do you have some time to spend on maintaining your balcony greens? Does your space get full, partial, or no sun at all? How would you like your dream balcony to present you and your personal flavour? The answers to these questions can really help you conceptualise your space to make it practical for your lifestyle. Now that that’s sorted, let’s get your urban oasis going!

An urban escape on your stoep
Let there be light and life

Any balcony easily comes to life with a little light! Your local GCA Garden Centre has a lovely variety of solar lights you can add to the space. Try draping some LED fairy lights from your railing with a few scattered lanterns in between your new pot plants, or perhaps hanging from a beam or two. Speaking of pots, container gardening is all the rage, especially edible ones! Using different sized pots in your balcony garden adds height and variety to the space, while also giving you an opportunity to play with different styles. You could upcycle a sweet teapot into a planter with your favourite tea time herb, or get the kids to decorate some cans and transform them into pot plants for a lovely homely feel.

Zen your den

Ditch the cold concrete and cover your stoep with some lovely faux grass. Available at your favourite GCA Garden Centre, there are a variety of soft and luscious faux grasses to choose from, and the fab thing is that you never have to cut or water it! Go full out with your mini city sanctuary look and opt for some tree stump seating, a pallet sofa, a self-standing hammock chair, or a trendy reed bench if that’s more your style. Depending on what you use your space for, you could even go for a picnic-style set up on your grass with large cushions or beanbags (with space for a hubbly or ice bucket in the middle). Alternatively, ditch seating altogether and use the space for an ambient water feature – now that’ll definitely help you get your zen on in the city. If you’d like to make your own balcony fountain, here’s another DIY on us: https://bit.ly/2G0EE4n

From the window to the wall
Getting your balcony blooming
From the window to the wall

Picture a few hanging baskets framing your windows with an abundance of green life spilling over the edges – a view to appreciate from both inside and on the balcony.  Add even more jungle vibes to your city escape with a gorgeous living wall to cover up that concrete and boring brick. Green walls are actually rather simple to make and so worth a little effort. You could also invest in some upcycled bamboo wall dividers (which we always see on the side of the road) and use these as wall cover-ups and creeper support. Vertical planters are also great for space-saving gardening, plus, they are super trendy and stylish for a more modern look. Dust off the cobwebs in the corner and let’s add a vertical planter with a quirky creeper for fun.

Getting your balcony blooming

It’s important to know the sun moves across your balcony so that you can choose the right plants for your space. Here are some of our top plant picks to get you started:

Shady babies: Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) are hardy for the gardener on the go, Leather leaf fern (Rumohra adiantiformis) brings in texture, and Forest bell bush (Mackaya bella) do well in containers.

Sunseekers: Black-Eyed Susan (Thunbergia alata) is an old fave flowering vine, Climbing Snapdragons (Asarina) work well in vertical planters and living walls, and Petunias are great for cascading blooms. Geraniums are also a sure win for the balcony garden and let’s not forget roses for the most delightful potted rewards.

Transforming a balcony into your own unwinding city escape is well worth a little time and effort. In the long run, this space provides an important place of grace in between all the hustle and bustle of urban living. We tend to so often live for the weekend, so let’s bring the party to your patio and create an environment that’s so welcoming, every day is sunset on the stoep day! Caring for plants also helps your mental well-being, destresses you, and adds purpose to your daily routine. Life is a garden – how often do you tend to yours?

Getting your balcony blooming

DIY Activity – Make a Mobile Water Feature Read more here!

Posted on: July 17th, 2017 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Soothe Your Soul.

So take a breather and let’s get to making a mobile terracotta clay pot and saucer fountain to have among your outdoor greenery. When it’s done, the calming sound of the flowing water will have you feeling rested and relaxed - yay for taking some time out!

What you will need for this project:

  • 1 x 35.56 cm plastic or terracotta saucer
  • 1 x 15.5 cm terracotta saucer
  • 1 x 17.5 cm terracotta saucer
  • 3 x 11 cm saucers
  • 1 x 15.5 cm terracotta flower pot
  • 1 x 13 cm terracotta flower pot
  • 12v Fountain pump
  • Plastic tubing to fit pump’s outlet, around 6cm in length
  • Silicone sealant
  • Round file
  • Drill and drill bit
  • A clean wooden block or work bench to drill on
  • Decorative stones
  • 1 x small plant in its pot
  • Water to fill the base     

How this activity works:

Before you begin, soak your saucers and flower pots in water for about an hour. This will make your job of drilling and filling much easier.

  • If you are using a terracotta 35 cm saucer, spray with a clear sealant. If you decide to go for a plastic saucer, sealant is not necessary. Leave to dry and spray again. This will become the base of the water feature.
  • Place the 17.5 cm saucer over a strong wooden block and drill a hole into the centre of the bottom. File this hole, if necessary, so that the tube fits through with complete ease. Once this is done, then file a single notch into this saucer. Remember to file downwards so that the water will flow easily through the notch.
  • File one notch into the lip of the 15.5 cm pot. Ensure the notch is large enough for the wire of the pump to fit through, as well as the water to flow through once turned upside-down.
  • File a notch in two of the 11 cm saucers. Leave the other 11cm saucer un-notched.
  • Attach the pump and it’s time to start assembling!
  • Place the 15.5 cm pot inverted and pull the tube through the hole. Connect the bottom of the tube to the pump, making sure that the pump is sitting flat on the bottom of the base saucer.
  • Put the 17.5 cm saucer on top of this, right way up this time, and pull the tube through, keeping the pump flat on the bottom.
  • Trim the top of tube and leave about 1.5 cm extra.
  • Use silicone to seal the tubing on both the outside and inside of the pot and let the silicone dry very well. Ensure that the seal does not let any water flow between the hole of the pot and the tube. You may also like to do this the day before the activity so that the silicone is dry when you need to turn the water feature on. Once dry, snip off the extra bit of tubing on the outside.
  • Place the 13 cm pot next to the first column, upside-down.
  • The first notched 11 cm saucer goes on top of the 13 cm pot, right way up.
  • It’s time to install the remaining flower pots and saucers.
  • File a single notch into the 15.5 cm saucer and place it upside-down on top of the 17.5 cm saucer.
  • Set the un-notched 11 cm saucer on the bottom of the water feature inverted, and place the second notched 11 cm saucer on top of this, right way up. This should be situated to the left of the notched 11 cm saucer that is sitting on top of the pot.
mobile water feature