Shade and privacy on the balcony: bamboo can offer you a thousand beautiful and useful solutions

by Mark Bennett

April 18, 2024

Shade and privacy on the balcony: bamboo can offer you a thousand beautiful and useful solutions

balcony that provides both privacy and shade: this is the perfect "recipe" for creating an outdoor area you can enjoy during the summer. And bamboo is the resource/material you can consider using to achieve all this. Whether it's used for  screening or shade (or both), by artfully arranging bamboo planters, there are many lay-out options you can pick from.

1. Privacy with bamboo canes


Metal railings on a balcony are not typically that good at shielding this area. By putting up bamboo wattling/canes (as shown here), you not allow protect your balcony from prying eyes, but also shade the flooring from getting too hot in the sun.

Shaded and private, your balcony is now a spot you can truly relax on and enjoy.


Bamboo canes


Unlike synthetic mesh or PVC panels, bamboo is an all-natural, robust resource. Bamboo canes can be weatherproofed, are cheap, and heat up less than synthetic materials.

Usually, bamboo mats/rolls are made up of bamboo canes all cut to the same height and left in their original, "raw" coloring.


That said, bamboo does come in different colors naturally, such as the bamboo shown here. Additionally, since bamboo is a type of wood, nothing prevents you from painting it, if you want (perhaps best ensuring that the color chosen blends in well with the surroundings). 

Bamboo slats


If the idea of using bamboo canes seems too "tiki-styled" for you, you can opt to use bamboo which has been cut into slats, as shown here.

Even though bamboo is a very robust material, it can still be damaged by atmospheric pollutants, mold, termites and other parasites. Given this, it's best to treat bamboo periodically with appropriate sealers and protectors to ensure its longevity.

2. Bamboo screens


On larger balconies (or those shared with other condominiums), a mobile, foldable bamboo screen unit could be perfect. Just like dressing screens used inside the home, these screens are both functional and beautiful!

Screens like these in bamboo are readily available and are designed specifically for decorating gardens, terraces or balconies.


3. Living bamboo plants to screen the balcony - Fargesia Rufa


One option to consider - especially for those who love live plants on the balcony and have enough space - is to grow bamboo in pots and planters.

This means creating a sort of hedge using multiple bamboo plants in pots, lining one (or more) sides of your balcony.

There are many varieties of bamboo, but when it comes to those most suitable for growing in pots, some are better than others: one of these  is Fargesia Rufa. This bamboo species is medium in size, grows quickly and the tops tend to droop a bit (making this plant even more beautiful).

Fargesia nitida “Black Pearl”

Also known as "Blue Fountain Bamboo", the Fargesia nitida “Black Pearl” species forms a dense tuft of erect  canes, characterized by a splendid dark purple, aagainst which its thin, bright green foliage stands out. This species can also reach a height of over 3 meters and is resitant to the cold. A hedge like this would look fantastic!


Fargesia nitida “Volcano”


Non-invasive and easy to manage in plants, this bamboo is one of the most popular species. Fargesia nitida “Volcano” owes its name to the color of the stems, a very beautiful, dark red. Due to this coloring it is also commonly known as the "Red Bamboo Fountain". It grows well even in partial shade, but does not like exposure to strong winds.

Fargesia Robusta 'Campbell'


Suitable for colder regions, this bamboo species has thin canes, a small stature and is ideal for growing in planters. From an aesthetic point of view, it is worth underlining that young canes are protected by a sheath: this causes them to have a silvery-white appearance, which provide a strong color contrast with the dark green parts of the plant (making it look a bit like a chessboard!).

Have you already found ways of using bamboo on your balcony?