Sometimes the best vacation is when you never even leave the house.
It’s a lot of work to plan, coordinate and pack up for a weekend or weekday get a way. That’s why sometimes I like to turn off my phone, lock the front door and not leave the house for an entire day. Whether it’s reading a book from cover to cover or catching up on all the recordings on my PVR sometimes the best way to de stress and relax is to never leave the house. I need one of those days but the only problem is my balcony is looking a little blah and uninspired and that is causing me some stress as it’s summertime and I’ve barely used it. Truth be told I’ve been embarrassed to have people on it in it’s current state. I need help and I know it so I call in the big guns, Wim Vanderzalm of Art Knapp.
If you live downtown it has been the place to buy your plants and flowers for decades. On a walk with a friend a few weeks ago I walked by the Hornby Street location and wandering through the store I was inspired to get my balcony back in shape and in entertaining style. While the staff are super knowledgeable about all things green I needed extra help so I booked a consultation with the Wim to come to my home and give me some tips and suggestions. I’m sure I could have taken lots of pictures and measurements but having the top guy take a look in person seemed like the smarter way to go
With a glass of wine (Haywire Rose of course) in hand Wim and I take a look at what I’ve got to work with, 48 sq ft with Eastern exposure and only a few hours of early morning sun each day.
Balcony design starts with questions:
- How do you plan to use the space? I like to have friends over for drinks and BBQ
- How many people would you normally have over? 3 plus myself = 4
- How much time do you want to spend on maintenance? As little as possible + I’m traveling a fair amount
- Any strata rules to keep in mind? Nothing on the rails or attached to the walls or ceiling + no watering where water flows below
- Do you have any favourite flowers or plants? Lilacs and Sweet Peas
That last question sparked many memories for me. Lilacs and Sweet Peas are fragrant and I associate both with childhood memories, happy ones of course. I want happy memories on my balcony so let’s get a bit a fragrance on there please.
Consultation over the next step is actually making it a reality. This is where I’ve always failed in the past. First off I don’t have a car so it’s always work coordinating borrowing one from a friend or renting one and secondly it is at least a half day to make it all happen. Wim & Art Knapp to the rescue, they will install it for me!!!!! Woohoo!
Two Boxwoods and a Jasmine are the main features for the balcony. The boxwoods to help frame the space and provide year round greenery with the Jasmine providing more greenery and lots of beautiful fragrance. Super easy to take care of both require only watering once per week in the heat of summer and twice a month in the Fall/Winter months. Something else that struck me during the installation is that both of these plants will survive year round which means I won’t have to do this all over again next spring like I’ve done in the past with flowering baskets. I think the phrase that sums it up best was from Wim when he said “I don’t want to create pets for you that you have to worry about taking care of”. Perfect.
Two more fun additions, one for inside my condo the other for the balcony, are beautiful succulent arrangements. The one for the balcony fits perfectly under the glass top table between the legs. A great use of dead space yet still adding some colour, depth and more life to the balcony.
Now all that is left to do is put the chairs I have back out and to relax.
I have to say I really don’t like my chairs. They are brown and take up too much space, I can only fit two comfortably on there. I think this new balcony deserves new chairs to compliment the fine work by Wim and his Art Knapp team. Say hello to new chairs.
The best time to shop for patio furniture is mid summer, great deals can be had. These lovely folding chairs were only $40 each at Canadian Tire and the pop of red colour adds just the right touch to finish off the look. I can’t wait to have friends over now and the plants will only get better as they mature and settle. Before friends come over though I might just lock myself in with a good book and a glass of wine, STAYCATION!
When you decide to transform your outdoor space no matter how big or small think of the questions that Wim asked me and go prepared with pictures and the measurements of your space. It’s the next best thing to an in home consultation.
I want to say a huge thank you to Wim and the whole Art Knapp team for helping me turn some random thoughts into the perfect balcony oasis for me. To help you turn your Drab into Fab Art Knapps is giving you the chance to win a $100 gift certificate to spend on anything in their store. If you win invite me over I’ll bring the wine!
All you have to do to be eligible is the following: (contest closes August 14th at 5 pm)
- Leave a comment on this blog with your favourite flower or flower memory
- Like either Art Knapp Facebook page or follow them on Twitter
For an additional entry you can tweet the following (you must have done steps 1 & 2 though to be eligible)
— Marc Smith (@TheMarcSmith) August 6, 2013
Here’s to a great get a way and for this one I don’t even have to leave the house. Cheers!