Living in an apartment condo with a toddler can have it’s challenges. Aside from arguing whether we will take the stairs or the elevator with an arm full of bags and toys, the biggest struggle is outside play space. We are limited to our third floor balcony without having to pack up and head to a nearby park.
This year I wanted to create a fun space for Liam outside without taking up all of the room on the balcony. (Mama still likes to sit outside and enjoy a cold beverage in the evenings!)
The important things I wanted to include on our balcony were:
1) A place to sit
2) My BBQ
3) A place to grow some vegetables and herbs
4) A safe place for Liam to play
Last year my mom bought me an awesome greenhouse with a removable cover since my attempts at building a pallet garden were an epic fail. This year I have two tomato plants, strawberries, basil, oregano, garlic, garlic chives, mint and lettuce growing with various flowers that Liam helped plant. One of Liam’s favourite activities is to help water all of the plants and search for (and eat) new ripened strawberries.
Liam’s Play Space
With the addition of some plastic bins and chalkboard labels from the dollar store, I created some bins to keep Liam’s outdoor toys organized so things don’t fall through the railing and clutter the floor.
My boss gave me an old chalkboard that I refinished and drilled holes into so I could hang it on the railing. Liam loves to play with chalk outside but I didn’t want him chalking on the balcony floor. He was so excited when I finally got around to hanging it up for him.
We were lucky enough to have a friend build Liam a water table when we were unsuccessful finding one that wouldn’t take up the entire balcony. This is easily Liam’s favourite part about playing outside. We filled it with measuring cups from the dollar store, bath toys and rubber ducks and added in some dish soap to make bubbles while he plays. It’s sometimes a challenge keeping the water inside the table since he likes to fill up various sand buckets too.
Grilling and Dining
Our little table set (from Ikea years ago) is the perfect size for us to enjoy dinner in the sunshine. My only wish is that we had a little bit more room to have some comfier chairs.
The other side isn’t as pretty, but just as important. I love grilling so this BBQ is necessary (even though it takes up a lot of space).
Since our balcony faces east, we take advantage of the sunny mornings playing outside while mama enjoys her morning coffee. The afternoons are nice and shady which is perfect for escaping the hot afternoon sun and is the perfect place for summer dinners outside. I also love that I can enjoy the space well into the night on a warm summer night too. I’ve thought about finding some cute patio lights to hang since I have an outlet outside, but unsure how I would hang them.
Any other tips and suggestions for prettying up a small outdoor space?
What are your outdoor essentials?