West Melbourne Balcony

Often a great view comes with a difficult exposure and this rooftop balcony in West Melbourne was no exception. Rooftops and high level balconies are the urban equivalent to a clifftop and considerations need to be made for extra heat and airflow.

This beautifully designed Clare Cousins architects designed apartment had envious views out to the city skyline and over the rooftops and tree-line of neighbouring suburbs. Clare Cousins architects was responsible for the fit out of the apartment and had organised some custom sized planters to run the length of the balcony. It was our assignment to specify and source plants that would tolerate the high winds and intense sun experienced on this balcony without blocking out the views.

We used a combination of native and exotic species working with the elements, not against them. Working with a palette of Silver, Bronze, Blue, Yellow and White we paired Cerastium, Dichondra, Lomandra 'Seascape', Festuca glauca, Conostylis and Carex testacea together to create a planting scheme of colour and movement. To add some seasonal interest a Standard Maple was added into a protected corner. We selected the tree based on its shape which perfectly framed the view. On the far southern end of the balcony we made an unusual choice to act as a screen to the neighbouring balcony. We used an Acacia 'Copper tips'. We had never used this tree in a pot before but with clients with an open mind we made the decision to give it a go. The result, A graceful, wispy tree with highlighted copper tips and a soft flowing habit that captured the winds. 

Although the plants used on this project give an overall softness to the look of the balcony they are all incredibly hardy meaning that the plants never look tired and only require maintenance 2 times a year. Due to the density of the plantings the overall effect was able to be achieved quickly. The plants graduate into each other creating a naturalistic planting nestled within an urban high density environment.