How Do I Build a Small Lawn on a Balcony?

Bright green grass

I have a small concrete balcony that looks very gray and boring. I’ve been looking into way to decorate it to make it look more natural and green like an actual lawn. This made me wonder:

Can I put real grass on a balcony?

With a bit of topsoil, gravel, and grass seeds, it’s possible to grow real grass and create a small lawn on a balcony. Depending on the care and maintenance, the grass can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Let’s look at some of the ways it’s possible to grow real grass on a balcony and how to look after it.

How to Grow Grass on a Concrete Balcony

It’s possible for grass to grow directly on top of concrete, but there’s a bit of a problem. Concrete is very porous and tends to break down over the years. Plant roots speed up this process, so the grass may cause it to deteriorate a bit faster.

Good drainage is important if you want to start growing anything on top of your concrete balcony. Not only does water add a lot of weight, but it can also cause the plants on your new lawn to die if the soil remains too wet for long periods of time.

Here are some points to consider before growing a lawn on a concrete balcony:

  • Is there a large enough drain?
  • Does water tend to flow over the sides of the balcony?
  • Are the bottom edges of the balcony raised enough to contain the lawn?
  • Do you have a means to keep it watered?
  • Do you have a means to keep it trimmed?
  • How many hours of sunlight does the balcony get per day?
  • Will it interfere with a neighbor’s balcony on a lower floor?

Once you’ve had time to think about these points, you may consider opting for artificial grass instead. It requires very little maintenance, and can be installed and ready in a fraction of the time.

However, if your mind is set on growing a real lawn, here are some of the materials you’ll need:

  1. Small gravel or pebbles
  2. Top soil
  3. Fertilizer
  4. Watering can or hose
  5. Grass seed

Once you have all of the materials collected, it’s time for some gardening fun.

Steps to Growing a Lawn on a Balcony

  1. Clean off the balcony. Remove any furniture or items that are placed out on the balcony. Then sweep it really well to remove any loose concrete or debris.
  2. Spread a thin layer of gravel. The purpose of the gravel is to help with drainage and to also provide a small buffer between the balcony floor and the grass roots. Spread about half an inch where you’d like the grass to grow.
  3. Apply top soil on top of the gravel. Spread about 4 inches of top soil over the area covered with gravel. The soil should be loose and not packed down at all.
  4. Add fertilizer to the soil. You can mix the fertilizer with the soil before spreading it around. Or you can put a thin layer of it on top of the soil and blend it with a rake or your hands.
  5. Sprinkle the grass seeds. Apply a thick layer of grass seeds to the soil. Press them slightly into the soil. You can opt to cover them with coffee filters, but they must be kept damp.
  6. Water the grass seeds. Sprinkle or mist just enough water so that the grass seeds and soil are slightly damp. The soil shouldn’t be soaking wet. Repeat watering every other day or as necessary.

Within a couple weeks you’ll have your very own lawn on your balcony!

How to Grow Grass in a Container

The steps for growing grass in a container are pretty much the same as the ones listed above for concrete. The main difference is that you’ll need a container with holes for drainage to place everything in.

The benefit to using a container is that it’ll allow you place to the grass in a specific section of the balcony. The smaller size makes it easier to maintain, and it also weighs significantly less.

What kind of containers work well?

Any container that is thin and light could be used to grow grass on a balcony. The main thing is to remember that it must have drainage holes in the bottom to prevent the grass roots from rotting.

Something as small and simple as a tray could be used to grow a section of grass. Then it can be moved around easily and used as a nice green accent on your balcony.

If weight is an issue for your balcony, then growing grass in a container could be a good alternative.

Just place the container in your desired location and follow the steps we went over previously. Grass should begin to grow at approximately the same time.

How to Maintain the Lawn on a Balcony

Growing real grass on a balcony means it will have to be trimmed to keep it from getting too long over time. Otherwise it might end up growing over the bottom edges of the balcony.

However, if you’re into that natural uncut look, that’s up to you!

Cutting the Grass

Scissors can be used to cut the grass once it is a few inches long. This can be tedious if you have a long balcony, and cordless grass shears (link to Amazon) could help speed up the process. It’s lightweight and runs on a lithium-ion battery.

Cutting the grass will give it that nice clean lawn look. It’ll also help get rid of any pests that decide to make your balcony their new home! You won’t be the only fan of your new balcony lawn. There are some insects waiting to join in on the fun, too.

That doesn’t mean you have to use pesticides though. Keeping it trimmed will keep a lot of the bugs away.

Watering the grass

Once the grass has had time to establish its roots, it can go a few days without water. A typical watering can should be enough to keep the top soil a bit moist. Too much water could add too much weight to the balcony. So, less is better!

A good time to water the grass is in the very early morning hours, or in the evening when the sun isn’t strong.

Final Thoughts

That wraps up this small guide on how to build a small lawn on a balcony. It’s a relatively simple DIY that requires a lot of time (due to the maintenance) and a bit of money. I hope that you found it helpful and that your new lawn is a success!

LaShawn Toyoda

I love home decor, DIY, and gardening. During my free time I enjoy looking for new ways to improve my home so that it's more organized, comfortable, and relaxing. My apartment in Japan has a small balcony with a great view. I created this site to share and get ideas for how to decorate and better utilize my balcony space.

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