As a leading supplier of premier solid composite decking boards, we often get asked how to make composite decking balconies more attractive. Questions like what plants or pots to use or how to shelter the balcony from
the wind.  The following article will give you some guidance on how to create beautiful balcony features and enhance your composite decking boards.

Playing it safe with your composite deck boards balcony

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To avoid a mishap in windy wintry weather, ensure pots and containers placed on a balcony are kept at a safe distance from the edge of the balcony. In particular where the balcony overhangs another or where it overlooks a public area used by passers-by. An added safety feature would be to fit a strip of sturdy wire mesh along the edge and any space between the balcony rails. This will help to reduce or avoid any mishaps when your guests or family are on the balcony.

Sheltering from wind

To shelter your balcony from the wind, you should line up the open areas that faces the direction of the wind with bamboo canes tied closely or a similar screen. You can plant shrubs whose leaves are evergreen such as acuba, Buxus, Prunus lucid panic and Ligustrum. These will eventually grow into an attractive glossy hedge.

Ideal Flowers to use with composite decking balconies

A hanging manger large enough to hold a growing bag can be attached to a balcony wall and ornamental plants such as fuchsias can be used. Delights such as strawberries or tomatoes can be grown in it. The manger can be lined with hay moss before the growing bag is inserted. Make small holes in the underside of the bag insert trailing plants to give a colourful cascade over the summer.

Fragrant jasminium (White Jasmine) produces a cheerful tracery of flower studded shoots in summer and is a decorative and accommodating climber, twinning with neighbouring plants on the balcony to create a unified display.

Choose dainty clematis, such as Clematis Al Pina, that will not climb too high overwhelm other plants. The Violet blue, cup shaped flowers provide an enchanting display in April and May.

Protecting your plants on the balcony

Plants that are kept out on the balcony during winter should be placed close to a wall, to provide shelter from the cold. If heavy frost is forecast, cover the pots with bubble polythene or straw, held in
place with garden twine. Insulate around any exposed parts of the plants and fasten with garden twine. Insulate between the plants and the cold floor with pieces of wood or slabs of polystyrene.

Exotic plant storage in winter

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If you do not have a warm, well lit area in which to store exotic plants, try over wintering them at the other extreme in a cool, shady place in a temperature of between 5 to 10°C. Plants will remain dormant
and will therefore require less light.

Small perennials bulbs and dwarf shrubs on a balcony can be sheltered in winter by being placed in a cardboard box lined with straw. Shelter any climbers by placing screens of split bamboo in
front of them.

Rustic planting

Plant up half a wooden barrel, most good garden centres will have a supply, to bring some real rustic charm to any composite decking balcony. Drill a few holes in its base and fill the first
few inches with large stones or rocks to ensure good drainage and add good potting compost.

Lighten the load using containers

By using containers you will lighten the load and make it easy to move from one part of your balcony to another-or to move indoors to protect from winter weather-if you allow the compost dry out dry out
until slightly damp. To stop soil from escaping always make sure that the drainage holes in your containers are covered with a layer of netting stones or shells otherwise there is a danger that the potting
compost will be washed out through the holes when the plants are watered. This layer also adds vital drainage and stops compost from blocking the holes.

Use leaf mould, mixed with an equal quantity of potting compost when potting up woodland plants in containers. This mixture provides the correct level of nutrients and moisture
retention required by plants such as trilliums.

Create greater impact by grouping

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Instead of positioning containers individually around the balcony, you can make a greater impact by grouping them together in a collection. You can adjust the height of the display by spanning some of the containers on top of upturn tiles or piles of bricks.

Preventing water-logging

To prevent water-logging in a container , spread a generous layer of gravel coarse sand or pieces of broken clay pots over the bottom and cover with good layer of  felt, an old floor cloth or other
porous material will also do the trick. When replanting, if you are careful when removing the soil, you can leave the drainage layer in place, it can also be used to support pots of spring flowering
bulbs placed in the planter to provide a colourful display.

Earthenware plant growing

Tall earthenware jars with narrow necks need special treatment in order to grow plants successfully. Many of these jails will require drainage holes, and have a tendency to break if you try to drill directly into the base. In order to provide clients with sufficient training coverage, line the base of the jar with a layer of gravel and cardboard, about 3.8 cm in diameter and the same length as the jar, film the centre of the tube with gravel and fill the jar with potting compost. Withdraw the tube when the compost is in place this central drainage channel and the gravel layer at the base of the gel will help to keep the roots of the plants well-drained.

A composite deck boards balcony container garden does not need to look dull. As one pot plants finishes flowering, move it to an out of the way area of the garden and replace it with a container
filled with up-and-coming plants. Plants in containers can bring colour to even the shady spots.

Natural windbreaks

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If you have an exposed terrace or balcony, you will need to protect delicate plants from harsh winds. You can plant dwarf conifers facing into the wind, at the back of the containers.
These hardy plants will make excellent windbreaks.