4 fun summer uses for our apartment balcony

Apartment balcony

I was thinking of all the ways we make use of our apartment balcony, and decided to take photos of a few things we do out there! I get frustrated at times (mostly due to the carpet under our dining room table and the many small children who dine here ;D), but there are some really great things about our apartment... like the beautiful sunny balcony surrounded by trees! I love it! :)

(Okay, those beautiful trees also shed... I'm constantly picking pine needles out of our carpet! Gotta love the PNW!)

Balcony Use #1: Clothesline

Apartment clothesline

Has anyone missed seeing pictures of my clothesline this year? Well, my apartment clothesline is back in full force... whenever the sun decides to come out. Hanging laundry in the sun is amazingly therapeutic for me and seeing the clothes drying in the sun makes me HAPPY! My balcony clothesline also shades our (non-air-conditioned) apartment from the summer sun and not using the dryer lowers the electric bill. But really? The real reason I put laundry out is because I LIKE TO.

Although... I will confess to feeling a little embarrased when our neighbors see me out there hanging stuff up! I'm probably just a little crazy when it comes to laundry outside.

Balcony Use #2: Kids + Play-Dough

Balcony play dough

My friend Melissa made some non-toxic scented play dough and gave us several jars. But remember the carpet under our dining room table? Well, I just spread out a big cardboard box (larger than the one pictured is best) and let the kids use play dough on the balcony. Any crumbs either dry up in the sun (haha, I wish!) and get swept away, or else get washed away in the rain (more likely this year!).

Balcony Use #3: Grill. Lots.

Our Weber Q

I know I talk about our Weber Q Grill waaaay to much. But how can I help it when Joshua grills yummy food for us multiple times each week, especially in the summer?! Grilling is another great thing on a hot day to help our non-air-conditioned house stay comfortable.

Now, here is where things do get a little tricky. Grilling while drying laundry can result in smoky laundry, and I'm not crazy enough to want my laundry smelling like it was dried in the fresh outside air right above our grill. And since I hang out lots of laundry and Joshua grills lots, it's sometimes a scrambling act to not combine the two. But I manage, because I'll do just about anything to be able to eat Joshua's grilled food AND hang out my laundry!! :)

Balcony Use #4: Water Gun Fights!

Squirt Gun Fight!

And my final creative use for our balcony is to let the boys go out there (and close the glass doors!) and have a squirt gun fight! :) This activity can be done rain or shine, hot or cold (according to the boys), and making them fill their own guns at the kitchen sink keeps them occupied even longer!

Maybe those of you who live in an apartment too will have even more ideas to share with me. I'd love to hear! :)

This also fits perfectly with Jessica's Frugal Fridays tip this week: Stay home more! :)


I used to use my balcony as an extra cooling spot during cooler months. It was handy for keeping extra beverages cool. I have a patio now, but I still put stuff out there from time to time.

I also use my patio to airdry my mop in the sunshine to help keep it from getting stinky!

That's just so sweet:) I love that you make the best things and that grill looks so cool! How much does one of those cost?

It looks like our grill is about $176 on Amazon.com right now. :) We did buy an adapter hose that attaches to the big tank of propane, since we use it all the time and a small propane tank would run out too quickly for us. :)

I was an obsessive line-dryer even while apartment living...I was almost always certain to take down the clothing by the time people were home from work, so they did not need to see any of it. I love your deck -- those trees make me swoon...I have dreamed a long time of living in the PNW. Lived way north of there for many years...

So many people swear by charcoal grills - but my hubby finally got us a propane Weber -- what are your perspectives between the two?

You always have such good ideas -- bubble blowing was always fun on and from the deck. Do you have a little picnic table for the kids?

elizabeth k

I like having a propane grill because it is easier and cheaper than charcoal (I think... though it is difficult to truly test this!).

We had a charcoal grill for our first 4 years of marriage, and it was a hassle, buying big bags of charcoal on sale and storing those (in our house -- since we had no garage), plus the cleanup afterward. And I've read that "regular" charcoal is carcinogenic, as well. (Not sure on pricing/availability of a healthier charcoal -- we lived in the boonies at the time!!)

With propane, even I can easily grill on the Weber Q... it's just so quick and easy!! :)

I know some people prefer the taste of charcoal-grilled food, but we love the food from our gas grill... I don't think I can tell much of a difference.

Bubble blowing is a good idea!! Thanks for the suggestion, Elizabeth!! :)

We do have a kids picnic table, but the deck/balcony is rather small and the picnic table pretty much takes up all of the "floor" out there making it impossible to do anything else while it's set up (like use the grill, or open the storage closet door). :)

I feel the say way about my laundry -- I LOVE hanging it to dry outside! We're fortunate to be in a house with a nice sized yard so I have a clothesline out back. The clothes dry so quickly and it really does make me happy!
I so enjoy your blog -- thanks for posting a little about your lives.

Just love the fact that you have a deck! Those trees and the sunshine can really make life in an apartment seem less cramped.
Love all your little ones....is your boy wearing two different shoes??? :) Gotta love that cuteness! I miss having little boys, mine are all grown and gone, enjoying grandchildren now.

Yes! Eliyahu is wearing mismatched sandals!! :)

Well, I don't live in an apartment so can't share any tips related to that but I do want to get a clothesline up here. :) Besides enjoying the fresh scent of line dried laundry, I think it completes a farmyard...you know a treed yard, garden plot, flowers and a clothesline. :)

I love the photos here Tammy. Especially the hanging laundry..such a happy, cheerful, colorful picture! I also love that it looks like Eliyahu is wearing two different sandals! SO cute!
I am sad that you don't have a big yard to play in, but it looks like you are making the most of it! You also have mentioned nearby parks, so it's good to see everyone outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine any way they can.
Thanks for sharing,
Dana (can't login for some reason)

I like your balcony! It looks like a great place to go where you can have privacy yet enjoy the summer weather as long as it isn't too hot. That's neat the way you are still able to hang your laundry. Line dried laundry always smells so nice and makes you feel good to save energy and money by doing things the old-fashioned way.

Love this post! We had a balcony for many years, and we did a lot of the same things as you do. The breeze off the balcony was wonderful also, and made the no a/c thing (us, too) a lot more tolerable. Great picture of your laundry - do you hang it from a line? Or a crossbeam?

I have a short clothesline that's tied to the railing on each end, and then the higher-up clothesline (in the picture above) is a line with a Tibbe Line on it to keep the hangers in place. It works really well! :)

That is a really nice balcony!!!

spot where your apartment is in shade with the trees for privacy.I would love a clothesline.The boys look like there having so much fun.

Mrs. Paradis

Hi Tammy, just wanted to say I love your site and your recipes! We live in an apartment also that has carpet in the dining room (and I too hate it!), To try to minimize the mess our 3 kids make at meal times under the table we bought an inexpensive area rug and put it under the table. If it gets all dirty and messed up we're not really concerned and we don't have to worry about spilled milk or juice on the carpet.

Where did you purchase your rug for under the table? We looked a few places but it seemed for the size we would need, it would be rather expensive. :(

I also find that since our carpet starts right at the door, dirt from shoes is almost as bad as food from eating. I do use rugs by the door, and we take off our shoes when we come in, etc... but after nearly 2 years, I'm looking forward to renting a Rug Doctor or something that can do better than my spot cleaning has thus far! It's really not too bad considering the number of people and the light tan color of the carpet, but I definitely preferred the Berber carpet in our last rental house! :)

i'm so glad to see so many like-minded people about the clotheslines! people around here think i'm nuts. when we lived in NW ohio for 2 years, there was a REAL clothesline out back (metal T-posts; 5 lines), and i used it probably 5 months out of the year. i completely fell in love with it! there was something so poetic about standing out in the grass, amid billowing sheets and undershirts. i felt some sort of strange kinship to my nebraska-farm-dwelling foremothers, that little else can produce. i LOVED it. have been begging hubby for a clothesline ever since we moved back, but to no avail yet. we don't really have room for the T-posts kind, but an umbrella dryer would be perfect in the corner of my yard. for the time being, we have a dome climber for the kids and i hang stuff on that... it's not quite the same though. i miss using clothespins!


If you have a balcony, there is an opportunity to design a garden that is just right for that space.
Keep a pull down bamboo screen shade available for when its to hot and the sun is hitting the plants dirrect. pull down screen, it filters the sun, but also when the sun isnt hitting the plants you can pull it back up and then the plants will thrive from the filter light .plus.It may take awhile to attract suet eating birds.

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