In a small, intimate space like a balcony garden, lighting plays an important role in garden design. If you are one of the few lucky apartment dwellers who have an electrical outlet outside, then you have many choices for lighting. All-white Christmas lighting, either large or small bulbs, give a romantic feeling to a balcony garden. Even flexible LED strip lighting is an attractive option.
If you have some sun (an uncovered balcony), you now have a few solar-powered options to choose from. There are many lights that you can tuck into plant containers that will soak in light during the day and produce light for up to 12 hours every night. Many solar-powered outdoor lights have convenient on-off switches. If you have a covered balcony that won’t sufficiently power a solar light, there are a few options for battery-powered outdoor lights.
Most balconies have outdoor safety lights attached to the wall. For these lights, you may be able to use a socket-to-outlet adapter. These are adapters that you screw in light a light bulb. They split the electricity into one or two outlets that you can plug extra lighting into, and many come with a light bulb socket, so you can still have a working light bulb attached. Make sure to check the type of socket in your light is compatible with the adapter. Especially if the outdoor lights are on a timer and paid for by your apartment complex, the apartment management may have installed CFL plugins, which are completely different than regular screw-in CFLs. These different CFLs snap in with two prongs (much like fluorescent tube lights) instead of screwing in.
Resist the urge to burn candles outside in your balcony garden, especially in hanging containers. This may not only be against your apartment or condo association’s rules, but it’s also extremely dangerous. There are many how-tos on the internet that show how to create hanging lighting out of glass jars, twine, sand and votive cantles, but it’s not worth the risk.
Also make sure that any lights you keep in your container plant garden are made for outdoor use. And if you don’t have an electrical outlet outside, don’t string an extension cord outside. Of course, if you just want to have a one-time romantic dinner in the garden, go ahead, but leaving inappropriate lights or outlets outside is a fire hazard, and definitely not safe if it rains!
No matter your type of balcony and the electrical resources you have, you should be able to find a suitable outdoor lighting solution. Hopefully you will be able to find lighting that will enhance your balcony garden enjoyment. Viewing your garden at night gives another dimension to balcony container gardening.