We are renters. There are a lot of single family residences in Los Angeles, but how any of those people had enough $$ for a down payment to get into one of them, I will never know. For reference, a respectable 3 bedroom, 1200 sq. ft. home in an area worth living in (that's the key) goes for at least $750,000. Three-quarters of a million dollars for a space the size of an apartment. But hey, you likely have your own washer and dryer, and a garage and yard. So it's worth it (right?)
So, while we're saving for our down payment to get in to our own home before we are 50, we are living in an apartment, that is spacious enough, but as far as personal outdoor space, we are limited to our balcony (which I know in some places - ahem, NYC - is more than many people even have.) Our balcony is a decent size when empty, but as we have no exterior storage (no garage or on-site storage cage), is where our storage cupboard is and the dog's potty pad. I have attempted to make an outdoor space for our toddler as well, with foam flooring and fencing it off (to keep him out of the dog potty pad), but that's the only thing it is currently used for. I'd like to make it a multi-purpose place that can be used as an extension of the interior. And as we just signed a new year lease, I think I should make some changes.
Here are some photos that inspire me:
Greenery always makes a space feel more relaxing and peaceful, and you can even put your plants to work by using mosquito repelling greenery in the space.
It's hard for me mentally to spend much money on a space that I'm renting, because despite the number of years I've been there, there is a lack of permanence about it. "I'm only here until I can afford something better." Even if that is not in the foreseeable future, I still feel like I shouldn't spend much on the space. There is logic to that: if I'm saving to move, I shouldn't be spending.
But I think I should also enjoy the space I currently have, especially since I am going to be in it for at least another year. A balcony is an especially good place for second hand items (i.e. Craigslist, flea market), as the items are going to be used/kept outdoors and subject to weather and dirt (we live pretty close to a freeway, everything is ALWAYS dusty.) And indoor/outdoor rugs tend to be cheaper than indoor rugs, so that's a plus. For more balcony inspirations: Stealworthy Secrets: 5 Small Balconies, How to Make the Most of your Seriously Small Balcony, 23 Decorating Ideas for Small Balconies