I was honored to have been called out to a rental property in downtown Nashville where the owner was looking to take the atmosphere up a notch by adding certain design elements which one might find in the bold surroundings of South Beach Florida. After our designs and concepts were approved, we set out to add a little flare to the already impressive balcony which possessed multiple sitting areas, a sun deck, custom pool, hot tub, and the most breathtaking view of downtown Nashville.
We removed a clumping bamboo previously planted and opted to install Bamboo 'Bissetts' in the large stainless steel inset planters. The client was instructed that this running style bamboo would need regular pruning and thinning to ensure it didn't overtake the container in the coming years. With a little maintenance, there simply is just no substitute for 10' bamboo on a rooftop. The large wall helps to protect the bamboo during storms and winter temps. Other plantings included Mahonia 'Soft Caress' and Bignonia trumpet vine which were installed in a shady area on the balcony. Both plants are tough performers in these challenging areas, either on a balcony or in a garden. The trumpet vine is a native which will be trained up the wall and allowed to partially climb up the spiral staircase. Red Yucca was planted for its architectural appeal and red summer flowers. Since these planters were not irrigated, drought tolerance was also an important consideration. Asparagus fern, Cordyline 'Red Star', Silver Licorice, and Wax Begonias round out the container plantings on the property. These plants can take the demanding heat and wind exposure commonly found on roof top balconies. With a little feeding and trimming throughout the season, they'll be sure to perform well into the fall.
To up the wow factor a little more, we opted to design and install a recycled glass mulch, both around some of the plantings and on the rubber membrane covering part of the lofts surrounding rooftop. After installing a geotextile formulated to protect the rubber membrane, the glass mulching was installed at a 2-3" layer depth, or 14lb per square foot. The mulch installation brings a level of design no other material could offer. The clients were thrilled and so were we.
Overall the landscaped balcony proved to be a success with the potential for other areas to be designed as well. Balconies are a fantastic retreat for city dwellers to find their retreat, this one being no exception. Special considerations must be given to the plantings as sun and wind conditions can be challenging for many plants. Choose your plantings and soil type well, and you're sure to have success.
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