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The ultimate balcony garden

urban balcony Sydney
Defined zones are a great way to create seating areas, and built-in benches save on space. Photo: Natalie Hunfalvay
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Behold the urban dream: A tranquil garden and entertaining space on a high-rise Sydney balcony.

As head designer at Harrison's Landscaping in Sydney, Sam Snaith loves the challenge of turning a high-rise balcony into an urban garden that is both beautiful and low maintenance.

"The brief from the client was to create a lush, stylish entertaining space with both dining and lounging areas," Sam says of this Kensington apartment's balcony. "The vast amounts of plain concrete and boring floor tiles had to be softened and made more inviting."

Weathering the conditions

The major challenge in renovating this northeast-facing balcony was the elements, a factor that determined materials and plant selection. "The conditions up on the balcony were often completely different to those on the ground floor – it was often windier, drier and hotter," Sam says. "For this reason we chose plants that would thrive in harsh conditions and handle a bit of neglect."

High hurdles

The nature of the apartment block itself also created difficulties, and meant the project took almost three weeks to complete. "We had to pre-cut any lengths of timber so they would fit in the lift," Sam says. "We had two guys going up and down the lift carting materials for three days just to get everything up there. And, like all balcony gardens, we couldn't penetrate the floors or wall due to strata conditions, so we had to come up with some creative solutions for the bench seats and decking." These included laying decking over existing pavers in some areas, while the bench seats themselves have been made with timber and sandstone.

Total tranquillity

The clients are thrilled with their garden and it's the perfect place for their favourite pastime – entertaining. The genius of this garden is in the way it seamlessly blends a sense of the urban with tranquillity. "We worked hard to create an atmosphere that enticed you outside from inside the home," says Sam. "Even though you look out towards the city, it's a very relaxing place to be."

This feature is from the latest issue of homes+. For more real readers' homes, expert tips, DIYs, shopping and food pick up an issue now or subscribe

  • writer: Trudie McConnochie
  • photographer: Natalie Hunfalvay
  • stylist: Adam Robinson
Article Byhomes+
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