To design a flowered balcony you don't need a landscaping architect, even if we hope you can afford one. Normally, a little creativity and some basic information are enough for a good result. Add a good dose of passion (because the plants notice it if you don't have it) and the game - or rather the balcony - is done.
Obviously the flowered balcony it can also be a flowered terrace, which depends on the size and (important) whether it is covered or uncovered. In fact, the first things to consider before choosing the plants concern the architectural characteristics: position up or down, exposure to the sun, characteristics of the building elements such as walls and tiles and the possibility of providing proper irrigation. Flowered balconies and terraces are micro-environments where climatic conditions can also be found very different from those typical of the area.
The location of the flowered balcony. From the ground floor to the fifth-sixth floor, things change especially in the city. In fact, in winter the mass of hot air produced by heating tends to rise, creating the so-called 'warm foot' that envelops the roofs. At the same time, the upper floors are more exposed to sunlight and winds, so a hot microclimate can be created inside them even if you live in a temperate area. In the design you will have to take this into account as well as, necessarily, the exposure towards the cardinal points and the consequent level of daytime insolation.
The characteristics of the flowered balcony. In addition to direct sunlight, the reflective effect of the surrounding walls and roofs must be considered. In practice it is as if the balcony or terrace were hit by the rays reflected from a solar mirror which increases the heating power of the sun. The refracting effect is strong especially if the walls are white and the flooring also contributes a lot to indirect heating. In the design you will therefore have to provide windbreak barriers and covers capable of attenuating the sun's rays.
The aesthetics of the flowered balcony. If we are talking about a small-medium balcony, things are quite simple and once you have checked the above things, you can proceed with the choice of your favorite plants, paying attention to the periods and duration of the blooms. For a medium-large terrace it is instead useful to draw the floor plan and plan spaces, visuals and aesthetics of the containers. The elements that affect environmental conditions must be taken into consideration first, but if the terrace is large and inhabited in the summer, livability and aesthetics are equally important.
The irrigation of the flowered balcony. A fundamental point in the design of a balcony and even more than a flowered terrace is to predict how the water will be brought to the plants. In the case of a balcony, this is usually done with a watering can but for a terrace with many plants it can become useful and almost necessary to take the water pipe out and provide an automatic irrigation system. This is particularly important where the wind and the sun bring the terrace to high temperatures.
For some ideas on plants to grow, read our article ideas for a flowered balcony.