Terrace Gardening For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide

Terrace gardening is a simple yet efficient way how to create a beautiful haven among this space of your home.

Utilizing your terrace space is actually not that hard and pretty easy to maintain. It’s quite fun potting and enhancing the area in a way you will love. Terrace gardening can majorly boost the style of your home.

Growing delicate and elegant flowers, plump vegetables, luscious fruits, green herbs, or a mixture of all of these is ideal in terrace gardening. These plants will freshen up your home, and in most cases, will save you trips to the grocery store.

If you are a garden lover who does not mind getting your hands dirty, then here is our simple and easy to follow guide to get you started with your terrace garden.

 4 Steps: How To Plan Your Terrace Garden

Many people consider starting a terrace garden without planning, making even their smallest spaces overwhelmed by random purchases. Terrace gardening requires some amount of planning to be successful.

1) Study Your Space

Wooden terrace garden with dwarf conifers and wooden dining furniture.
Image by: balconygardenweb.com

If you wish to consider gardening on your terrace, it is essential to analyze how much weight it can hold. A collapse will cost you a lot to repair.

Every material should be assessed precisely such as the soil, water, planters, (especially if you opt for ceramic) rocks, and other materials.

In addition to that, you should include window style planters, hanging over railings in your weight capacity assessment.

If you have decking under your garden, it needs protection too. Adding trays under pots can protect the wood from the run out of excess water.

Raising the container pots above the deck by using low-shelves is another option to prevent staining.

Attaching planters onto the walls is also a smart idea to optimize limited space. However, it is necessary to find out what type of materials the walls are composed of, and what tools you might need to avoid possible damage and to overall utilize its optimum potential.

Also, study the movement of the sun. Carefully determine when, where, and how much sunlight reaches into your garden.

Besides that, also take note of which way the rain comes, and don’t forget to assess if your garden is constantly exposed to strong winds.

2) Set The Budget

Combination of white and pink blooms on a white wooden railing

Going shopping at garden centers will allow you to see beautiful plants, seeds and accessories that will look stunning in your small space but aren’t on your list.

Unplanned plant shopping can cost you an ample amount if you will set no limit, especially if lots of these plants will contribute overcrowding and only end up dying.

Take into account how much money you’d be happy to spend and carefully modify your plans to fit in your budget. However, it is okay to spend a little more too.

When estimating the budget, include trays, container pots, soil, hardware for mounting on walls or overhand railings and anything else you might need to get started.

Also, if you opt to save water by collecting rain shower, adding a water barrel and a bucket in your budget is essential.

The size of container pots matters a lot when you decide which plant to grow. You have to identify the appropriate depths and width your container has for your plants to thrive.

3) Choose A Suitable Theme For Your Terrace

Colorful flowers on a brown wooden balcony.

Studying the pattern of sunlight, winds, and terrace limitations can help you decide what the theme for your terrace garden should be.

If your terrace is always in the shade most of the day, it is not wise to pick plants that require a lot of sunlight like most fruits and vegetables.

If it is susceptible to strong wind, then you would like to use heavy planters like ceramic or large pots to prevent them from being damaged. Another option is to fix planters on the walls.

Here are some themes you can try:

  • A productive theme consists of containers full of vegetables, fruit plants, and herbs. This type of garden requires full sun.
  • A butterfly theme consists of flowers that butterflies love. This garden needs partial to full sun.
  • The shade-loving green buddies theme is full of plants that thrive away from the sun.
  • A towering theme is excellent for cut flowers that are tall and usually require full sun.
  • A desert garden theme is full of succulents and cacti that love the full sun, and require a little amount of water.
  • The herbal garden theme is often full of herbs and scented flower plants like peppermint, sage, chamomile, lemongrass, lavender, and many others. You will love to brew them and enjoy a sip while relaxing in your garden. This type of garden can thrive from partial shade to full sun.
  • Dynamic combination theme. You will find a rich mixture of shades contrasting each other, making your terrace aesthetically appealing.

4) Map The Space According To Its Purpose

Wooden mini table and two leathered lounge chairs in a terrace garden.

If you prefer a productive theme and are considering planting fruits and vegetables, a companion planting method will encourage helpful insects that will aid your garden in pollination and pest control.

Design a layout of your balcony and its possible occupant plants.

If you frequently use the space for entertaining guests, there’s no point in filling the entire area with so many plants.

Remember to choose plants according to their limits and purpose in mind. You may have a long list of plants you like, yet you can gradually cut them down to what is necessary as you create the layout of your plan.

One more thing to note is you need to decide which plants you will buy as seedlings and which you will buy as fully grown plants. Consider the following:

How To Get Started With Your Terrace Garden

Terrace Waterproofing

When considering starting a small garden on your balcony, make sure your drain outlet is working efficiently.

Even basic terrace gardening requires a lot of water, making it a smart idea to waterproof the floor. You may also consider using a drip irrigation system to prevent the trickling of water. It is best to avoid leaking that can damage your rooftop or bother the guy living below.

Potting Mix

Buying potting mix readily available in the garden centers near you is one of the best options if you are new to gardening. A mixture of vermicompost, compost coir, and fertile soil is also good to get you started. Usually, potting soil sold commercially is sterilized to eliminate weed-seeds and diseases that could potentially kill your plants.

You can also make your organic potting soil appropriate for container gardening. This potting mix should be loose and will drain better with proper aeration.

Garden Tools

Garden fork and scoop with wooden handle and ceramic pot with potting mix.

Getting the right garden tools such as gloves, watering cans, garden hoses, spades, trowels, and many others is essential. The right tools will make your gardening tasks a lot easier and help you complete the job much faster.

You Need To Promote An Ideal Environment

Get The Right Temperature

In tropical countries, growing mostly basic vegetable plants are easier compared to countries with colder climates.

Temperature is one of the most significant factors you should consider when considering starting a terrace garden.

Sunlight Requirements

A beautiful concrete balcony with an elegant black bench.

All plants have different sunlight requirements. It is essential to know how much sunlight a specific plant requires before you but it as to avoid instances of seedling sunburn and dehydration, resulting in the plant to wither or even die.

Adding a net to provide partial shade is helpful to some plants or even tossing on an organic mulch to avoid quick drying of the soil can be of help too.

Water Needs

It is always necessary to know how much water your green buddies need. Overwatering can cause root rotting and may lead to possible death. Plants like cacti, for instance, need watering only once a week.

Watering plants in the morning can help reduce the growth of mealy bugs and fungus. It enables plant leaves to dry up before the evening comes.

 Now Focus on Adding Style To Your Home

Getting The Right Container Pot

White spacious tin planter with hyacinth plants.

Everyone has their choice when it comes to picking container pots for your beautiful plants.

Many prefer plastic containers as they are inexpensive. Many plastic pots are designed to mimic ceramic looks, and some gardeners love to pick one, especially if their budget is limited.

However, you have to remember that black plastic pots can cause dehydration to the plant roots if you leave them under the full summer sun for some time.

Other gardeners like to get terracotta pots as they are sturdy and visually appealing. Terracotta or clay pots are a bit pricey, yet you don’t have to worry about constant tipping as they are pretty heavy and are best to use under the hot sun.

You can use any containers that have holes for the water to drain properly. But, avoid using wood containers with chemical treatment and ones with paint remnants as the chemicals may perhaps leach into the soil.

Mounting A Wind Barrier
Wooden raised planter with a wind barrier on a terrace.
Image by: ofdesign.net

One of the most significant concerns you would like to address when opting to terrace gardening is the strong winds that can possibly break tender shoots and young plants with tender stems.

If you have an extra budget, installing a wind barrier or fencing to protect your plants is an excellent idea. Garden shades can also serve as plant protection, but make sure to clamp it sturdily to the roof-floor as to avoid being blown away and damaging your garden.

You can also try adding a wire trellis when your plants start to grow a little bigger. It will help block extreme winds, while providing support to your plants, particularly for climbing vines.

Give Them A More Tidier And Aesthetic Look

Combination of colorful flowers.

Some terrace gardeners love to improve their garden landscape by raising their pots. It will create a tidier and more aesthetic look, especially if you prefer to add a dash of vibrant and dynamic colors.

The combination of vibrant shades in your garden will enhance the aesthetic landscape of your terrace garden. Refreshing colors like green, white and blue promote harmony in space. However, warm hues like red, orange and yellow are eye-catching and elegant.

Go Vertical To Optimize Space
Various succulents on the wall.
Image by: homebnc.com

Utilize space as much as possible. Gardening is not restricted to the floor alone – it also looks fantastic on walls. You can opt to hang plants on the wall and railings.

You can also try to arrange larger containers on the outside edges to establish space and distribute the existing load. Utilize wall space to hang decorative planters and wall pockets. In addition to that, many will find wall gardening classy and artistic.

Label Your Plants
Five colorful stones labeled with their respective plants underneath them.
Image by: acultivatednest.com

Labeling plants will not only help you remember every plant’s specific name, but it will also provide the impression of harmony and a well-managed garden. You can paint stones, or use other visually appealing recycled materials as your plants’ labels.

Eliminate Pests With Organic Approaches

Caterpillar on a green leaf.

Pests are the major gardener’s headache, whether you grow plants in the ground or in containers. And the best way to combat them is by using pesticides to eliminate them.

However, chemical pesticides are dangerous to your health, particularly if you use them for your terrace gardening. But you don’t have to worry, as there are multiple ways you can address such problems.

The use of hydrogen peroxide as pesticides is one of the most effective ways to eradicate pesky pests in your garden.

Hydrogen peroxide is famous for fighting off bacteria and fungus on your plants and is also efficient in sterilizing your garden tools. This environmentally friendly pesticide is inexpensive, and you can easily prepare it at home.

Protect Your Terrace Garden From Birds

Bird on top of a small branch.

To enjoy most out of your garden, you have to protect your plants from birds and other animals like rats and squirrels.

Once your plants start to bear fruit, it is best to cover them with wire mesh or nylon wires to prevent these animals from enjoying your garden before you do.

Herbs and Vegetables Ideal For Your Terrace Gardening

Type of Plants Ideal Container Size
Lettuce 10-inch pot
Kale 1-gallon pot
Garlic 5-gallon pot
Arugula 8-inch deep pot
Beets 2-3 gallon pot
Beans 12-inch deep pot
Spinach 2-gallon pot
Radishes 8-inch deep pot
Carrots 1-2 gallon pot
Tomatoes 10-gallon pot
Zucchini 8-inch deep pot
Peppers 3-gallon pot
Onions 12-inch deep pot
Lavender 12-16 inch pot
Basil 18-inch deep
Mint 8-12 inch deep
Parsley 18-inch deep

Note: These are only a few of the common plants you can try as you get started in your terrace gardening. There are also various other types of plants you can add from this list.

Final Thoughts On Terrace Gardening For Beginners

Lots of people use a terrace as an ideal place to relax and be relieved from the daily stress of life. Turning this space into a garden of your choice will give you more reasons to enjoy and experience the happiness it brings.

However, terrace gardening is somewhat challenging and requires a bit of effort. But if you learn the basics of how to do it right and choose the right plants, you’ll be able to turn your outdoor space into a delightful and relaxing private haven.

You can start small and see how tending plants can fit into your schedule. Limited space will require a little planning, but it can go a long way to give you happiness and the feeling of success while enjoying its beauty and bountiful harvest.

And one of the most important factors that you have to remember when considering a terrace garden is to continuously use precautionary measures, especially when placing hanging plants and flower pots on the railings of your garden.

Falling plants are hazardous to people and pets passing by below. It is your responsibility to make sure that everything is secure, and everyone stays safe as you beautify your private haven.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article covering everything you need to know how to start a terrace garden from the initial planning to having it completely finished. Are you trying to set up yours? Please don’t hesitate to share your experiences with us by writing in the comment section below. We’re always glad to hear your thoughts.

About Benita Abucejo

Hi there! My name is Benita Abucejo. What can I say? I truly love spending my days in the outdoors, specifically in the garden. Gardening has always been a strong passion of mine since I was a little girl. It has brought me so much joy and happiness that it is definitely safe to say that I will be a gardener for life. For a period of time, I was able to work with people who are into home gardening and I found it to be quite beneficial to my physical health, as well as my mental well-being. Here at Seasonal Preferences, I am going to share with you my experience and ideas so that you can fulfill yourself with the same satisfaction and happiness. Of course, if you have ideas, I would love to hear those as well! Being creative in the garden can really be quite fascinating so let's share our experiences and be the best gardeners we can be. With that being said, thank you for dropping by and please leave me a comment on one of my posts if you would like to get in touch!

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