Al fresco eating and growing your own fruit and veg don’t necessarily require you to have a garden. However, it’s in your best interests to follow safety guidance when living in a block of flats. So, before you fire up the BBQ or prepare your pots for a balcony garden, make yourself aware of possible dangers to avoid.
Are BBQs on balconies safe?
While you may be tempted to set up a barbecue on your terrace or balcony, or in your communal ground, first be sure to check that you are allowed. BBQs on balconies or anywhere in the grounds may be prohibited by the lease. They may also have been identified as an avoidable hazard by the fire risk assessment, and so prohibited by the freeholder or management company. Remember, they have a duty to take any measures they see fit to keep building users safe, and that may include forbidding the use of BBQs on balconies, even if the lease doesn’t mention them specifically.
Assuming you are allowed to use a barbecue, bear in mind that in a confined space electricity may be safer than gas, where the cylinders can explode if exposed to too much heat. Charcoal and disposable barbecues, especially small open disposable ones, carry a much greater risk because the wind can blow embers on to other balconies and through open windows.
If you are keen on grilling al fresco on your balcony this summer, be aware of what is on balconies above, to the side, and below you, such as soft furnishings or laundry. Of course, you should never leave a barbecue unattended. Please also consider what the balcony is made of as it’s not unknown for some to use timber in the construction process, which presents an increased fire hazard.
Can I grow plants on my balcony?
According to the Royal Horticultural Society, a wide range of plants can be grown on a balcony or roof garden. The ideal approach is to establish some shelter using screens or robust plants, which then creates a microclimate where other plants can survive. If you don’t want to stand pots on the balcony floor or a low bench, you can look for safe and secure railing pots.
Some local councils may have specific rules regarding plant pots on balconies, so it’s best to check with them if you think they might apply to you.
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