Ikea Hacked railing planters for balcony gardening in the city
Decor, Our Apartments, outdoor

Gasthaus Geraniums

Bill & I are nearing our 1st Anniversary as Mr & Mrs and that means we’re SO CLOSE to our European honeymoon (Anniversary-moon?) Adventure!  While we wanted to travel to Europe sooner, a destination wedding already required time off, so we opted to put the trip off until our Anniversary so we could take the proper amount of time off to do the trip right.

Ikea Hacked railing planters for balcony gardening in the city

So for 15 days spanning late July and early August, we’ll be traveling around Bavaria and Austria enjoying mountains, lakes, and most importantly, beer and pretzels.

Practicing for our trip at Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh
Practicing for our trip at Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh

But while we’re waiting, we’re still settling in to our new apartment, where we FINALLY have outdoor space in the form of a sizable balcony.  We’ve shared some of the balcony decor with you before when we shared the updated version of our wedding welcome sign:

DIY Rustic Wood Plank Hand Painted Wedding Sign turned into Welcome Sign

WELL one of the other fantastic things about having outdoor space is that we get to have plants!  That get actual daylight!  Instead of the limited cave-like light of our last apartment.  WAHOO!

We decided to include two types of plants.  Pretty plants that are there to bring cheer to our view, and edibles.  For the edibles, we chose tomatoes and peppers because they’re delicious and easily canned if we grow too many for us to eat before they spoil.

Watering tomatoes balcony garden

There’s one cherry tomato plant, a roma tomato plant, and what we thought was a bell pepper plant… and turns out is a ghost pepper plant.  Ooops!  We picked a nice wide planter and used rich top soil to set the plants in.  We’ll see how they do!

For the pretty, cheery plants, I opted to plant geraniums because their care is pretty easy, and if you forget to water them, they’re very forgiving.  So long as you sprinkle them with a little water here and there, and pop the dead flower heads off, they’ll flower all summer long.  (And if you bring them inside, you can usually turn them into annual plants too!)  Their ease of care surely makes them popular, But they’re also appealing to us as they’re the flowers most frequently adorning the window boxes in guest houses – or gasthauses – around Bavaria, where we’ll be visiting for our Anniversary-moon.

Gassthause Stahl
Gassthause Stahl Via Tripadvisor

To elevate the cheer we decided to mimick the look with balcony flower pots.  (See what I did there?) We decided to bring home the SKURAR balcony planters from Ikea.  But before we could use them, we needed to do a little ikea hacking.

First, the hangers are great if you have thinner balcony or deck railings – but ours are rather chunky and they didn’t fit over as designed.  So, using grips, Bill carefully opened the hanging clips so they’d reach across the top of the railing.

Then, using zip-ties to keep them in place, we fixed them to the railings.  (The pink line added illustrates how we looped through the hanging clips on one side, then through the support piece on the bottom back side.)


Now that we had our brackets in place, it was time to prep the planters.  Ikea does not sell them with drainage holes, so we added 2 holes to the bottom of each planter.  When the planters are in their brackets, they do lean a bit away from the railing.  Because of this, Bill drilled the holes  where the lowest point of the bottom would be, towards one side that would be the ‘front’ of the planter.  (Or the side the planter hangs towards)

cheap balcony planter diy

Once the holes were drilled, it was time to get to planting!


We picked out red flowers mostly, with smaller white varieties for the ends of the pots.  To fill in the soil, we used a potting mix we picked up from big Orange.  Then after a little water to settle them, it was time to place the pots in the brackets!


Their greenery makes the balcony look even fresher, and the red is such a lovely contrast!


The afternoon sun sets the flowers a glow, and I love the pop of color they add to the view from our front door.



Now we get to sit back and enjoy these ruby red balls of flowers until we’re able to visit Bavaria ourselves!

What’s your favorite balcony flower?  And anybody have any travel tips or places we MUST see while traveling near Munich and Vienna?

~ Beth


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