The September RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 is in full swing. For the first time in 108 years, the RHS has recognised small balcony and container gardens following on from the surge of gardeners in lockdown. While these smaller spaces weren’t judged like other Chelsea gardens, they certainly provide heaps of inspiration.

“We are really excited to introduce these two new garden categories to the show this year, following the huge resurgence in gardening during the pandemic,” Helena Pettit, RHS Director of Gardens and Shows, says. “We want to show the thousands who visit the world’s greatest flower show and the millions who watch the BBC coverage at home just what you can do with next to no outdoor space.”

Looking for ideas on how to design a small space? Take a look at the 10 beautiful balconies and container gardens below…


The Landform Balcony Garden designed by Nicola Hale

The Landform Balcony Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021, designed by Nicola Hale, is a celebration of how small urban spaces can be transformed into valuable wildlife havens. Some of the key features include vibrant sunflowers, salvias, asters, sculptural specimen shrubs and a bistro table for alfresco dining.

“I have used lots of sunflowers partly because they are my favourite cut flower as well as being great for bees and, later in the season, the sunflower seeds are a magnet for birds,” Nicola says. “They are bright, sunny and whether they are tall or short, large, or small, bright or subtle and they always make me smile!”

READ MORE: The Landform Balcony Garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2021: Inside the beautiful bee-friendly space


Sky Sanctuary Balcony Garden designed by Michael Coley

Balconies have been a lifeline for so many over the pandemic — and this Sky Sanctuary Balcony Garden designed by Michael Coley celebrates just that. With an on-trend hanging egg chair, outdoor lights and colourful borders, it shows how a small space can be used to the max.

“More and more of us are living in flats high up off the ground with limited outdoor space,” say the designers. “This garden is meant to represent a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the street below. A simple usable space to relax and let your troubles unwind.”


Arcadia Balcony Garden designed by Martha Krempel


Balcony of Blooms designed by Alexandra Noble

The Balcony of Blooms demonstrates that small spaces can be practical, productive and enchanting,” says the RHS. “Two trees provide a sense of enclosure, while a continuous green edge is planted with herbs for culinary and medicinal use, as well as with pollinator-friendly flowers.”

Heading to the Chelsea Flower Show? You’ll find this balcony on stand number 282A.


Green Sky Pocket Balcony Garden designed by James Smith

Designed as an antidote for busy city living, this balcony garden is a “green oasis in the clouds”. It’s a lush green pocket of peace, with planters, sculptures, a wooden bench and vegetation.

READ MORE: Winners of Chelsea Flower Show 2021 revealed


A Tranquil Space in the City Container Garden designed by Mika Misawa

“This space is for people in the city who seek tranquility,” add the RHS. “There is only one flowering plant in the space. Seeing this flower is the ‘first and last time’ in our life, this enjoyment would give us the feeling of we are here now.”

Make sure to stop by to grab some small space inspiration…


Pop Street Container Garden designed by John McPherson

It’s not hard to miss the Pop Street Container Garden when you’re walking past. Taking inspiration from pop and street art, it’s a place designed to hang out with friends over a good drink. As well as including energising plants, the garden contains original sculptures and a mural by artist Robert Littleford.

READ MORE: RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021: Dates, tickets and garden highlights


The Hot Tin Roof Container Garden, designed by Ellie Edkins

Inspired by life at the beach, the Hot Tin Roof Container Garden includes coastal landscaping, plants that offer shade, bright blue tiles under the outdoor shower, and undulating corrugated steel planters to tie the whole look together. Bringing the beach to your garden just got easier…


The IBC Pocket Forest Container Garden designed by Sara Edwards

Inspired by the balconies of Milan’s Bosco Verticale and tiny urban forests, this beautiful Container Garden aims to create a haven for wildlife. Cleverly, white bulk containers have been repurposed to create ponds for birds, butterflies and other insects.

READ MORE: 8 Chelsea Flower Show 2021 gardening trends to try at home


The Stolen Soul Container Garden designed by Anna Dabrowska-Jaudi

The final Container Garden is this beautiful space designed by Anna Dabrowska-Jaudi. With two contrasting planting schemes, Anna has used the garden to translate human emotions. We’re big fans of the exquisite trio of seashell inspired pots crafted in solid oak.

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