Living in the Singapore urban jungle, we can all use with a breather once in a while. For those of us fortunate to have a balcony in our house, it can be our go-to spot for a little yoga in the morning, meditation or some me time in the evening with a glass of wine. Yet, because it is left open to the elements, balconies require maintenance. Bugs, bees, moss, rust, eroding pipes – these are things we want to keep out of our little sanctuary. At Helpling, we are here to share a few smart ways to design and manage your balconies, to make sure it does not become an aesthetic nightmare, or worse still, a living hazard.
Keep your brooms close but your hose closer
As our flats climb higher each day, there is a good chance you are staying on a high floor. The cool breeze that blows in also brings with it airborne debris and dust. Perhaps you might get lazy when it comes to your balcony, or think that dust is part of its outdoor charm. Truth is, a build-up can lead to problems down the road. Grab an outdoor bristle brush to regularly sweep away accumulated grime, but refrain from sweeping it out of your balcony as it will likely blow down to your neighbour’s balcony below. Hose down residual stains and dirt, and you are all set to enjoy your clean space of freedom! It is also a good habit to do a routine check on your drainages to make sure they are not clogged. The last thing you want is for your balcony to become a mosquito breeding site.
Do not be a victim of bird poop
If your balcony is exposed where birds can fly freely in and out, you are probably a regular victim of bird poop. The birds in Singapore just seem to know where are the “best” places to release their droppings, don’t they! When sprucing up your balcony, go with something practical like a hawk decoy. These can be real handy in chasing away birds or warding off wasp’s nests. Only catch, remember to move the position of your fake hawk from time to time for best effect. Another tip for you – keep your furniture away from the edge of your railings. Other than the fact that it becomes a new perching table for birds, its precarious position might cause accidents, especially if you have small kids at home!
Water is your balcony’s nemesis
Water is an erosive force that can create some serious damage to your balcony. Especially if your balcony is facing the coast, moisture from sea breeze causes fast rusting of steel or rotting of wood. This damage leads to surface cracks or stains. Look out for these signs, and if they keep growing in size it is time to get some professional home help! Meanwhile, prevent exposure to rain with awnings or covers. For your choice of flooring you will want a material that moisture can escape from, so definitely no carpets!
Your balcony is no Leaning Tower of Pisa
This might sound painfully obvious to some, but do not get overly ambitious in pushing the weight boundaries of your balcony. If you are wondering if your balcony can hold you, your washing machine, and your stone koi pond without cracking under the weight, the answer is probably no. Avoid heavy cement pots or huge installations in your balcony. If you are worried about the wind knocking your containers over, grow some vines as a natural buffer to the wind. They will be pleasing to the eyes too! Avoid having colourful flowering plants to keep those bees and flies at bay!
Put your green thumbs to work
Your balcony can be your new hide out to discover your passion in gardening. While the type of plants you can grow depends on the conditions such as sun and shade, cucumbers, beans, greens like kalian, herbs and eggplants have been found to grow well in balconies! You can even have fruits like papayas or avocadoes, incredulous right? If you are tight on space, which comes as no surprise in Singapore, consider a vertical garden where you can stack your plants together. While some commercial ones come with automated watering and fertilization systems, you can build your own if you are up for it! If you need further convincing to embark on this green project – did you know that besides air purification, plants have been found to reduce ambient temperature up to 12°C? A real life saver given the weather these days!
Hope you learnt something new about your balcony with Helpling today! Stay tuned for more home improvement tips from us!
Your Helpling Singapore Team