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If lockdown is currently driving you stir-crazy, you’ll know how much escaping outside is a total lifesaver. Just a few minutes of warm sun on your face and a gulp of fresh air makes all the difference to your mood.
Over the past month or so, our garden has stepped up to play an integral part of our day to day lives. Whereas before it was somewhere to do a spot of weeding and hang out the washing, now it’s where I come to sit and be with the birds in the morning. It’s a makeshift playing green for cobbled together P.E sessions for the kids. We watch the minibeasts hiding under rocks and leaves and share socially distanced conversations with neighbours over the fence.
Understandably, not everyone has access to a back garden but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a sense of the outdoors. Even from indoors. If your options are limited – perhaps you have a bijou (or sizeable) balcony or a corner of your home, let me paint you a picture and show you what you could have with a little imagination.
How To Create A Nordic Balcony Garden
The key to a Nordic-style balcony is to keep it simple, clean and contemporary. Stick to a muted colour palette – think black, grey, muddy greens, beige, and terracotta. Soften a boxy space with outdoor rugs, large cushions and planting.
Before you order any plants, check your balcony’s climate. Is it mostly shady? Windy? Or does it get a huge amount of sun during the day? Pick your planting according to the conditions you have. Introduce a potted olive or fruit tree to add height if you can, with plants such as grasses, Fatsia Japonica and white blooms lending an architectural, contemporary feel.
Maximise all the available space and tailor it towards how you plan to use it. Don’t just think conventionally with floor space but utilise the edges of the railings and the walls behind if you can. Hang and wall mount planters and grow vertically. Choose space-saving, multi-functional pieces that offer space for entertaining as well as potted plants. A favourite is the Fermob balcony table. Attaching to balcony railings, it’s an ideal table for two with a sweet little planter on top. Consider the evenings too, when you’ll likely need some soft lighting and a couple of warm blankets to see you through.
Fermob balcony table (affiliate link) | Skagerak Fuori Trolley | IKEA Husarö side table | Ferm Living box planter (affiliate link) | Granit green balcony planter | Serax planter grid | Case Mouro portable table lamp (affiliate link) | H&M Candle lantern (affiliate link) | Menu Carrie lamp | MADE.COM TICE compact bistro set | Weaver Green Brighton Stripe outdoor rug | Woodnotes ‘Pond’ outdoor rug (affiliate link) | Soho Home Reith outdoor rug | Granit large green seat cushion with back | Nkuku Braided hemp pouf | Ferm Living Way cushion (affiliate link).
How To Bring Nordic Garden Style Indoors
There’s no greater way to calm your mind than tending to your plants at home. A little spritz here, a feed and prune there. Suddenly it’s been half an hour and you’re already feeling much lighter. Grow yourself an indoor garden space to escape to whenever you need a breather.
Don’t ask me the science behind it, but somehow, tall, large scale plants such as the parlour palm or rubber tree give the illusion of more space and height. Their lush appearance is instantly calming and in the right pot will create a real statement. You could also try an olive tree for a more rustic Scandinavian look.
Windowsills are brilliant for smaller potted plants, propagating cuttings and herbs. Plant them up in individual, sculptural pots for a modern Scandinavian look and experiment with clear glass to show off their root systems.
Mini table-top terrarium gardens will give you a biophilic fix and clever self-growing herb gardens take the worry out of gardening for those with less time. Tools can be stylish too – I’m a sucker for a well-designed watering can with my favourite being the black iron can from Toast.
For the less green-fingered, ever-popular dried grasses and seedheads are easy to find online and look striking in a large black pot or vase. I love the way they add texture and interest into a room. And of course, a selection of soothing botanical art prints.
Click and Grow herb garden | Design House Stockholm mini-greenhouse | LSA Canopy Closed Garden (affiliate link) | Do/Grow book by Alice Holden | Botanical photo book | House of Plants book (affiliate link) | Oyoy Inka pot | The Future Kept natural woven basket | Conservatory Archives Arken planter | Toast black metal watering can | HAY watering can | Burgeon & Ball watering can (affiliate link) | Ferm Living Hourglass planter | Dried Ammi seedheads | Beechwood vase (affiliate link) | Iittala Nappula pot (affiliate link) | Dried Cortaderia grasses | Hotel Magique Lemons print | Dry Milkweed print | Olive Print by Ekaterina Koroleva
Images styled by Tiffany Grant-Riley.