Most city-dwellers live in apartments primarily for two reasons: One, due to the affordability factor, and two, because of the convenience of living close to their place of work and being able to enjoy the vibrant inner-city life.

However, living in apartments also means having to sacrifice gardening space and greenery all around. The only outdoor space one can have is a balcony and green thumbs can do a lot even in this tiny space.

Projex Group lists out eight tips for creating a garden retreat on a balcony space.

1. Green the space

Apartment balconies typically have tiled or concrete floors where one cannot grow real grass. A practical alternative is to install an imitation turf rug and combine it with real plants and outdoor furnishings to create the visual impression of a living garden.

2. Keep furniture to a minimum

Balconies have limited space and, therefore, cannot accommodate a lot of furniture. To create the impression of a vibrant, airy garden, choose your furniture carefully - a small table and chairs combo will be more than enough for you to enjoy your garden.

3. Make use of railings

Install railings around the perimeter of the balcony to extend the usable area of the balcony garden and hang small pots on them with flowering plants. The actual balcony space can be used for larger plants while the small flowering plants around the perimeter will add an attractive touch to the garden.

4. Select plants that can survive on the balcony

When picking plants for the balcony, keep in mind that most balconies enjoy sunlight only for a part of the day; the plants should, therefore, be hardy enough for shady conditions. Additionally, the plants should be able to tolerate dry conditions – a balcony above will ensure your plants won’t get much rain. Also, choose plants that can withstand windy conditions that balconies tend to experience. Water the plants at least twice a day or consider getting an automated watering system to help you look after your garden when you’re out and about.

5. Grow a little vegetable and herb garden

Instead of small trees and flowering plants, you could consider growing vegetables and herbs for your kitchen on your balcony. Small balcony spaces are more than sufficient to have a little vegetable and herb garden, and can bring greater satisfaction. Arrange a couple of planters around the balcony to grow as much as a dozen plants or enough mint, coriander, or parsley to last you for weeks.

6. Build some shelves

Use the walls on either side of the balcony to install a couple of shelves, and then place decorative pots with plants on them. This is another highly space-efficient way to pack a lot of colour and greenery onto your balcony, and is certainly more visually appealing than an ugly, weathered wall.

7. Don’t forget decorative statues

Use a few decorative elements to complete the garden look – these could include statues, lanterns, bird feeders and fountains.

8. Lighting is important too

A well-lit balcony makes for a lovely summer retreat. Hanging lights off the ceiling and on the walls is a good way to start building the ambiance; also consider a candle lantern for the outdoor table, so you can kick back with a good book and enjoy that summer breeze.