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Last updated on February 2nd, 2024

Costs and ideas to grow your own balcony garden for the Chelsea Flower Show

With lockdown measures lifting and the world opening up like a bud about to bloom, it’s no wonder The Chelsea Flower Show is ready to flourish once more.

With lockdown measures lifting and the world opening up like a bud about to bloom, it’s no wonder The Chelsea Flower Show is ready to flourish once more.

This year, and for the first time ever, it’s being held between the 21st – 26th of September. So, don’t forget to book your tickets before you miss out on the stunning floral designs that characterise this popular flower exhibit. It’s also the first time in 108 years that the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will be awarding balcony gardens!

If you don’t live near Chelsea, want to avoid the crowds, or even want to get in on the action of beautiful looking balconies, then recreating a slice of the fragrant action is possible at home.

To make things easier, we’ve done the groundwork and priced up your potential project, offering you ideas along the way. So, without further ado, read on for our gorgeous balcony garden ideas and related costs.

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If you DON’T have a balcony… yet.Balcony plants and perennials around the periphery | Chelsea Flower Show Ideas and Costs

Install a balcony

In order to grow a balcony garden, you must first have a balcony.

Balcony installation cost: It costs an average of £3,000 to install most types of balconies. Prices start at around £550 for a Juliet balcony before creeping up to around £3,000 for a cantilever.

Before you decide on a design, it’s worth checking whether you need planning permission from your local authority.

Read our guide: Balcony planning permission – Everything you need to know for more information.

Build a raised flower bed

It’s highly impractical to cover your balcony in soil and sprout a forest from the dirt, which is why raised beds are both common and popular additions to most balcony flower gardens. We suggest installing them around the periphery of your balcony and watching them flower perenially.

Cost of building a raised garden bed: The average cost of most raised flower beds is £500, including labour and materials. However, for a simple cedar design, prices can start as low as £200.

If you’d like to give building your own raised bed a go, then let us teach you some tricks with our ‘How to build a raised bed‘ guide.

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Raised garden bed on balcony gardenGive your balcony garden a makeover

Not everyone is blessed with green fingers. This simple fact might be the reason you opted to live somewhere with a balcony and not a garden in the first place.

If this sounds like you, but a Chelsea Flower Garden on your balcony also sounds appealing, it’s time to call in a professional.

Garden makeover cost guide: The average cost to hire a garden designer, including labour, is £100 per square meter, so depending on the size of your balcony and ambition, it’s worth the investment.

Install a polytunnel to protect your Chelsea Flower Show

Polytunnels are fabulous for protecting the fruits of your labour from flower hating elements like the wind.

However, if you want to install one on a windy balcony – perhaps to grow herbs? – you’ll need to make sure it’s properly secured. A flimsy plastic option will not offer you the protection you need.

Polytunnel cost guide: You can buy most polytunnels online or in your local garden centre for as little as £35. Just be sure to purchase a hardy version that’s easy to secure.

Consider a rock installation

Like a polytunnel, rock installations need careful consideration. Too light and you’re causing potential safety risks, and too heavy might jeopardise the load-bearing capacity of your balcony.

That said, a Goldilocks rockery is a beautiful, low maintenance, and easy design to install on your balcony.

Landscaping rock installation cost: On average, it costs around £400 to install a rockery in most gardens. However, if you’re looking for a smaller-scale design to install on your balcony, then you can expect the price to be lower.

Balcony privacy screen ideasDon’t forget about privacy for your Chelsea Flower Show garden

In this urban jungle we call home, privacy is a commodity. However, there are ways to secure your patch of Eden, which includes installing shrubs and screens that hide you from any nosy neighbours.

Consider hanging baskets and tall grasses that create natural curtains to hide behind. Bamboo screens are also popular options.

Garden privacy cost guide: It costs around £15 – £25 per hour to hire a gardener to plant new hedges, trees and shrubs.

Read our garden privacy ideas for a secluded sanctuary for more inspiration.

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Eco-friendly living wall for balconiesCreate a living wall

For the space-conscious eco-warrior, installing a living wall on your balcony is a great way to save on square footage whilst basking in all those green benefits. Not only are they great for biodiversity, but their air-purifying benefits are great for you.

Living wall cost guide: Plants for a living wall cost an average of £93 per m2. However, with a trough and irrigation system, the costs go up.

If you’re on a budget, why not learn how to create a living wall yourself and reap the benefits of your own handiwork?

Why not go eco-friendly?

There are various ways to make your balcony eco-friendly, which doesn’t just include planting perennials. Upcycling or repurposing old items and buying reclaimed or recycled garden furniture are all great ways to go green(er) too.

Bee-friendly wildflowers and bird feeders are helpful for the environment, and most of the time, the costs only add up to a few quid. If you use platforms like freecycle, you can find rare bargains and even items for free!

Check out our guide: Creating an eco-friendly garden for more inspiration.

Bee friendly plants and flowers on a small balcony | Chelsea Flower Show Ideas

Need support with your Chelsea Flower Show balcony garden?

If all the above sounds a little overwhelming, why not hire a gardener to help you? Prices average around £30 per hour for basic gardening, while more complicated landscaping designs will set you back at around £1,375 per project. However, you can expect that figure to be cheaper when considering the smaller square footage of your balcony.

Check out these other top tips and trends

For more design inspiration, add the following blogs to your reading list:

Like what you see? There’s more where this came from. Check out Checkatrade’s blog for more tips, ideas, how-tos, and inspiration.

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