Make the most of your balcony/stoep

Here are some tips to assist in transforming your outdoor space – no matter how small it is.

Balcony

Although not everyone enjoys digging in the garden or lying in the sun, most South Africans love to spend time outdoors on the stoep – or balcony if you live in a flat.

This is the space where you can enjoy a party with friends or a quiet cup of coffee on your own or with family. You owe it to yourself – and your friends – to make the most of it. No matter how small, your balcony or stoep has plenty of potential.

Flooring

Tiles, timber decking or screeded cement flooring are suitable for any stoep or balcony. The key is to ensure a non-slip surface to avoid accidents.

Red or green stoep paint creates a retro feel and is easy to apply.

Try white cement or stoep paint for a clean, cool look that will complement almost any furnishings style.

Roofing

A rietdak ceiling creates a welcoming atmosphere and will provide added insulation, keeping your stoep cool in summer and warm in winter.

An adjustable canopy will ensure that your outdoor space is useable in all weather conditions.

Furniture

This is the ideal space for eclectic pieces of furniture. Give old wooden kitchen tables and chairs, kists and other items from second-hand shops and auctions a new lease on with a coat of paint.

  • Maximise floor space by installing built-in bench seating with storage space. Built-in seats won’t be blown about in strong winds, and cushions can be safely stored when it rains.
  • Furniture that can be tucked away or folded when not used is the answer for tiny spaces.
  • A hanging chair or a hammock creates a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Colourful and comfortable floor pillows should be covered in all-weather fabric.
  • A pouf topped with a tray ensures you’ll always have extra seating when needed.
  • A slip-covered ottoman takes drinks and paw prints in its stride, and it just needs an occasional wash to maintain it looking like new.
  • A patterned all-weather carpet will brighten up any outdoor space.

Lighting

Installing an outdoor pendant or wall-mounted sconces will give you plenty of light for late-night festivities.

If you’re renting, opt for string lights or outdoor lanterns that you can take with you when you move on.

Greenery

Pack your balcony with planters to create a garden feel. Add some herbs and scented plants to make your stoep smell as good as it looks.

Hang planters on the walls to save floor space, along with weather-resistant artworks to make your outdoor space an extension of your home.

Remember that planters need to be watered daily, so installing a tap nearby will assist you to avoid having to lug around heavy watering cans.

Braai area

No South African stoep or balcony would be complete without a braai. There are many options to choose from – even if you don’t have space for a built-in brick braai with a chimney.

For small spaces, the answer is a boma clay fire pit. These are fire bowls that can double as braais. They are made from clay which can take enormous heat because its thermal expansion is virtually zero. Boma fire pits are available in various styles and prices ranging from under R1 000 to around R6 000. Choose a model that has an ash catcher and a charcoal grid.

Your balcony is an important part of your home. Therefore, keeping it in excellent condition must be a priority.