garden balcony stock
Enjoy the winter in your very own outdoor nook - here's how. Image Credit: Shutterstock

How decked out is your balcony or outdoor space right now? If it houses sparse décor, then you’re probably missing out on a potential lounging corner for the upcoming festive season. Imagine a place for your family and friends to fire up the grill and enjoy the pleasant weather, surrounded by greenery, where they can de-stress for a few hours every day. With the temperatures dropping, now's the perfect time to invest in your own little getaway at home. We took down styling tips and plant care advice from experts, to help you take hosting to the next level.

How do I decorate my outdoor space?

If you have an existing garden on the terrace or balcony, then all it needs is a bit of furnishing. Picture the perfect colour palette for this space, before you shop for decor, says Nayab Arsalan, an interior stylist and founder of Dubai-based design studio, Nayab Interiors.

"Start by looking up some sort of inspiration for your outdoor space - Pinterest and Instagram are great sources. Decide on certain colours you want to stick with, then buy things accordingly. Oftentimes, when we pick up items solely based on our likes and dislikes, the end result isn't so cohesive," said Arsalan.

For those working with a blank slate - concrete tiles, walls and railings - a touch of greenery can really help enliven your social corner. Horticulturist Harish Hebbale with Souq Garden, a plant retailer and landscaping service provider in the UAE, says clients will usually mix and match artificial and natural plants in their balconies.

"Firstly, consider if you want to go with real or artificial greenery. Most people prefer a synthetic turf in the balcony, but if you want authentic grass, then make sure your outdoor space has a water point or a tap and a drainage system," advised Hebbale.

Which plants are the best for the winter season?

jasmine climber
Fragrant blooms not only add a pop of colour to the garden, but they also help create a sensory experience. Image Credit: Unsplash/Dieter K

Now, if you're thinking of adding a few planters, there are species that thrive in these cooler months. Usually, a horticulturist would assess the site to gauge the amount of sunlight the place receives, to advise on the best choices.

"An east-facing balcony receives the most sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon, for instance. So, you have to select your plants carefully," said Hebbale, who has 15 years of experience in the industry.

Fragrant, flowering species are popular options in the winter, like jasmine climbers and the night-blooming night queen. The pink-flowered bougainvillea is the best plant for all-year-round blooms in the region, along with jatropha, thevetia and nerium.

Another plant palette that's become trendy for the winters, is a desert landscape - composed of hardy grey-green plants that need little water. Hebbale lists cactus, agave, aloe vera and pencil cactus for achieving that monochromatic look.

We’ve compiled a list of items from both experts that will ensure a more welcoming, cosier outdoors, below. Play around with our Amazon picks – throw in a couple of weather-resistant chairs, lights, planters and a rug, and you have a stylish terrace or garden. To have your items delivered to you as soon as possible, become a Prime member today!

1. Get a faux grass carpet

faux grass
A green floor covering makes a world of difference in transforming the outdoors into an inviting space for kids and pets to play on. Image Credit: Unsplash/Sean Ferigan

Egardenkart Artificial Grass Carpet 36mm (2m x 5m)

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a five-year warranty.

Superior Indoor/Outdoor Artificial Grass Small Area Rug (3' x 5')

GL Premium 35mm Pile Height Artificial Grass

If the green thumb gene missed you, Arsalan and Hebbale say a faux turf can still add a splash of greenery to your outdoor space. Most balconies and terraces have tiled flooring that can quickly collect sand and dust. An artificial grass carpet doesn't require looking after and cuts down the number of times you have to deep-clean your outdoors.

Hebbale strongly recommends opting for a turf that has at least a five-year warranty, to get the most use out of your floor covering. Its quality is often measured by how resistant the colour is to the sun, and its softness. Make sure the base has drainage holes for easy hosing down, too.

2. Add a patio furniture set

The choice of weather-resistant furniture will depend on how the family likes to relax and the space you're working with. Image Credit: Unsplash/Spacejoy

Danube Home Rosa Balcony Set, 3 Piece

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh70.75 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty. Amazon offers a one-year accidental protection for Dh79.

vidaXL Garden Lounge Set, 5 Piece

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh201.25 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year accidental protection for Dh219.

Kidkraft Octagon Outdoor Table, Stools and Umbrella Set

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh83.25 for 12 months with select banks.

Buying furniture for the outdoors – where it will be vulnerable to rain, wind and ultraviolet rays – can be a little daunting. You don’t want anything bulky to save space nor do you want material that weathers after one winter shower, says Arsalan. "As a designer, I would not recommend hanging or suspended seaters, because they're difficult to style. Look for durable and comfortable pieces, ones you will actually enjoy sitting in," she added.

Assess the type of patio set that will fit your outdoor space - will it be an L-shaped lounge set, a modest balcony set or a terrace set with individual chairs? You can even opt for an outdoor seating area for your little ones bundled with a shade parasol. Whatever the choice of outdoor furniture, though, it needs covering for extra protection.

3. Invest in outdoor furniture covers

patio furniture
When not in use, cover your patio set with a thick polyester fabric. Image Credit: Unsplash/ÇAĞIN KARGI

Easybuytech Patio Furniture Cover

Baner Garden Patio Furniture Covers

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year warranty.

Amazon Basics Gas Grill Barbecue Cover, Medium

Follow up your patio set purchase with a matching waterproof and UV-resistant cover. Any outdoor grills will need shielding from the elements, too. Arsalan said: "I recommend buying furniture covers to prolong the life of your set, especially for when summer rolls around and the material becomes more susceptible to the hot weather."

Look for a heavy-duty polyester covering that can easily engulf all the pieces in your set, with drawstrings and buckles at the bottom for windy days. Make sure to measure your entire set, before placing the order.

4. Decorate with a statement rug and throws

patio furniture
Cushions, blankets and a rug can add warmth to an otherwise bare lounge set. Image Credit: Unsplash/Zane Persaud

Black and White Striped Area Rug (3 x 5 feet)

Tiggell Waterproof Pillow Covers, 4-Pack

Boao Outdoor Waterproof Throw Pillow Covers, 4-Pack

Americanflat Cotton Throw Blanket for Couch

On days that call for lounging on the floor with friends, you can use an outdoor rug. None of that abrasive straw material, however, opt for a soft yet durable material, preferably cotton. It can go right in the washing machine, if handwashing is troublesome, and a bit of weight will help on windy days.

Arsalan also suggests cosying up your patio furniture, with throws and weather-resistant cushions. "Toss a blanket on the chair for texture; it can even come in handy on chilly nights. Continue to accent with cushions, which I believe are the most underrated pieces of decor, but ensure their covers can withstand the outdoor elements," she advised.

5. Add new planters and consider starting a kitchen garden

House your plants and small trees in natural earthen pots, so that they're able to breathe better. Image Credit: Unsplash/Amin Hasani

Yishang Large Terra Cotta Pots with Saucer, 4 Pack

Woiida Large Black Ceramic Flower Pot, 30cm 

Survival Garden Seeds Home Garden Collection Vegetable and Herb Seed Vault, Mix of 30

Your freshly adopted baby plants will need a breathable, well-draining home. Hebbale says that while inexpensive options like plastic planters exist, his suggestion will always be the eco-friendly terracotta. These clay planters can stay with you for up to five years. For tree and shrub species, house your plumeria, neem, hibiscus and almond tree in larger, statement pots. 

Low temperatures also mean that you could potentially grow your own produce starting today. "If you want a kitchen garden, this is the perfect time (winter) to start one - you can plant tomatoes, chilies and eggplants now, and harvest them in four to five months," said Hebbale.

6. Use your space vertically, with plant stands

plant pots
These shelves could also hold other decoration pieces, besides your potted plants. Image Credit: Unsplash/Kalei de Leon

Rubik Plant Stand, 5 Tier

CFMOUR Wood Plant Stand, 3 Tier

Plant stands can house most of your smaller outdoor plants, and it’s the best way to tidy up a space. Arsalan said: "If you're working with a balcony, think vertically to maximise space." With plant stands, you can get creative with different heights. Greens that need the most sunshine can go on the topmost tier, and the remaining tiers can be dedicated to eclectic pieces.

7. Light it up with LED strings and lanterns

balcony lights
Dress the railings and walls with warm light fixtures for the evening. Image Credit: Unsplash/Ed Orozco

TIJNN Solar Deck Lights, 6-Pack

KOOPER Solar Lights Outdoor Garden Lanterns, 2-Pack

Nighttime lighting is a fantastic way to switch things up and elevate the space. Consider solar deck lights powered by the sun; these hang on wall edges and rails. Leave them out during the day for four to five hours and watch them automatically turn on with the sunset. "You could also fix wall lanterns in each corner of the space you're working with," suggested Arsalan.

8. Shade yourself and your plants

sun sails
Sun shades go up and come off easily in time, and these are going to be extremely helpful during warmer months, too. Image Credit: Unsplash/Toa Heftiba

Coolaroo Premium Shade Sail Kit

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a 15-year fabric warranty.

TDOO Sun Shade Sail 

What about a sunshade for yourself and your plants? Sun sails are so versatile that they even work well in balconies. The fabric is usually made of high-density polyethylene for sun protection, which still lets in plenty of light and breeze to filter through. It shields you from harmful UV rays and is windproof.

Sun shades can be mounted at an angle on rainy days, so imagine sitting back and enjoying the weather with a cuppa. The sails come with D-shaped rings to peg the fabric down on all four corners.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.