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Whether you have a north, west or south-facing balcony — tips for every direction

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Everything depends on the direction you are facing. If you have a south-facing balcony, you can enjoy the sun almost all day — provided that it is shining. The position of your outdoor space is therefore key when it comes to selecting your plants, as well as when furnishing and decorating the space.

North, south, east or west — which way does your balcony face? Depending on the direction, it is either on the sunny side or the shady side. The fact that the level of light is an important factor when selecting plants may be common knowledge, but you should also follow the same approach when choosing your balcony furniture. If you prefer wooden furniture, for example, this is better suited to a south-facing balcony. For one very simple reason: It will dry quicker here than on a shady north-facing balcony.

The south-facing balcony — ideal for sun-loving plants

South-facing balconies get to bask in the sun almost all day long. If there is enough space, it is therefore worth investing in a sun lounger; if space is more limited then opt for folding chairs. As mentioned earlier, you should choose wooden furniture over other types. Metal furniture heats up quickly in the sun and will then be uncomfortable to sit on without cushions or padding.

You can easily while away the hours on south-facing balconies during the spring and autumn, while sun protection is essential for shade in the summer — otherwise, your open-air oasis would get too hot. Parasols that can be attached to the railings are ideal for this purpose. We recommend an awning for larger balconies.

And now we come to the topic of plants. Flowering sun worshippers include oleanders, lavender and hibiscus. Small olive trees, petunias and geraniums are also excellent choices for a south-facing balcony. If you are after even more green for your planter or pot, we recommend trying bougainvillea, lantana or zinnias. Sea daisies, curry plants and moss rose can also cope with short dry spells.

The east-facing balcony — breakfast in the sun

You can catch the first rays of the day on east-facing balconies, making them the ideal spot for breakfast. They should therefore always have a small table with at least two chairs. From midday, the sun moves on and it gets darker and cooler on east-facing balconies, so plants that prefer semi-shady locations are best here. This includes fuchsias, lobelias, ox-eye daisies, impatiens and petunias. Cranesbills, Japanese maples and boxwood are also good choices.

A clever idea for outdoor spaces that face east is to lay tile flooring, because it will retain the heat from the morning sun and gradually emit it. This means that you will still have a little warmth on your balcony in the afternoon. In the summer, shady spots are the ideal place to spend the evening. You can brighten up your balcony with colourful decorations so that it doesn't feel too dark. Make sure that the colours of the decorations, plant containers and furniture go together.

The west-facing balcony — enjoy the sun in the afternoon

On west-facing balconies, you don't feel the sun on your face until early afternoon. Those of you returning from work can unwind out here. Lounge-style balcony furniture is therefore the perfect choice for west-facing balconies. Create a cosy retreat with cushioned furniture, lanterns and a table for beer or after-work cocktails. Because it can get really warm on west-facing balconies in the summer, avoid metal furniture (same as for south-facing balconies). Likewise, you should consider sun protection — not just for you, but also for your plants, which won't all feel comfortable in scorching temperatures.

Speaking of plants, as with east-facing balconies, plants that enjoy partial shade are the ideal choice. Opt for white and yellow flowering plants — they will be radiant even at dusk. Lilies and petunias, for instance, grow large, luscious flowers. Now you just need a few aromatic plants to round off the evening, such as angel's trumpet, dame's violet, marvel of Peru, evening primrose or jasmine tobacco.

The north-facing balcony — a shady spot in the summer

The north-facing balcony is the south-facing balcony's counterpart. Here you will go more or less the whole day without seeing the sun, but that does not mean that you should avoid it. After all, on hot days in particular a north-facing balcony is comparatively cool. This shady spot has special requirements when it comes to choosing both furniture and flooring. Because dew and rainwater evaporate slowly from these balconies, tiles are ideal — they dry quicker. Wooden furniture, on the other hand, stays damp for longer on north-facing balconies. If you don't want to give up on this rustic style, however, you should make sure that you go for high-quality pieces. At the end of the season, though, you will need to give the wooden furniture a deep clean to prevent moss from growing on it or other damage occurring. If this is too much work for you, you can of course opt for metal or plastic mesh furniture instead.

Pick seating and decorations in light colours and fabrics for your north-facing balcony wherever possible. They reflect the light and will make your open-air space feel more welcoming. Since white is only effective if it is absolutely clean, beige, yellow and red tones are practical alternatives.

There are also plants that feel extremely at home in the shade. Ferns and grasses are ideal for a bit of greenery. But you certainly don't have to do without flowering plants either. Lobelias and hydrangeas, for instance, are perfectly happy in shady locations. Fuchsias do even better in the shade than they do in the sun because their leaves quickly become scorched when exposed to strong sunlight. Other robust plants that are suitable for shady north-facing balconies include ivy, begonias, busy Lizzies and boxwood. Tip: Use light-coloured pots and planters. These will reflect the light and create a sunny feel on the shady balcony. For even more of a feel-good atmosphere, invest in some lanterns and cosy blankets for cooler days.