Creating a Balcony Play Space

June 9, 2015

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!)

Condo Balcony

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

balconyBalcony Garden

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?


  • Reply
    June 9, 2015 at 8:37 am

    That looks awesome!! Love the water table. You did a great job. We love our water table, and firepit area 🙂

    • Reply
      June 9, 2015 at 8:41 am

      Thanks. It’s pretty simple but we love it. We made the most out of what we had without a yard.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2015 at 9:39 am

    You have done an amazing job making the most use out of your space. I’m impressed by how much you have fit on your balcony. We have a fairly large deck/patio space in our townhouse backyard but it gets tons of shade so I’ve had a hard time growing stuff back there. Usually we just do a herb pot and flowers. Our herb pot is doing really well!

    • Reply
      June 9, 2015 at 9:42 am

      Thank you! I’m pretty happy with it. Our balcony is east facing so we get all of the morning sun. It’s good for growing but can be so hot so I have to make sure I keep up with watering or everything dies fast!

  • Reply
    June 9, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Holy cow this is awesome!! I LOVE it. What an amazing job you did!! I suck at growing herbs. 🙁 Justin said next year maybe I shouldn’t try! ha ha

    • Reply
      June 9, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Thank you! We’ll see how much survives by the end of the summer. I’ve already had to replant new lettuce, haha.

  • Reply
    Jo @ Living Mint Green
    June 9, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    I have a tiny condo balcony too. I’ve thought about doing a few pots but I’m fairly certain the wildlife will eat it. I have a palm tree out there now so hopefully it stays alive. Hahaha
    There’s nothing like fresh, homegrown veggies. Especially tomatoes!!!

    • Reply
      June 9, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      Haha, a palm tree would be nice! The only wildlife for me are pigeons and toddlers.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    You’ve done a great job with the space you have! And love that your friend was able to build a water table for you

  • Reply
    June 12, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    I love your balcony! And so awesome that you made the most of it’s space. Also really loving the homemade water table! I’ve been keeping my eye out for one to go on sale for Sully, but gosh they’re expensive! Jim’s dad is visiting right now and is a carpenter, now I’m thinking maybe I should just get him to build one! Is that just a big rubbermaid type bin in the frame?? And the hanging chalk board is a great idea – I might copy that idea too haha.

    • Reply
      June 13, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      Thank you!! Yes, its just a big rubbermaid with a simple frame and Liam loves it. Way better than shelling out for a store bought one.

      Copy away 🙂 It’s so much fun for Liam outside.

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