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Materials: Applaro storage bench, wall panels (2) and 3 shelves, metal ties, 1x3 oak 6' lengths
Description: Downsizing from a house to a 20th floor condo unit has been a fantastic move for us but we do miss our outdoor space. We think our wee balcony is comfortable and we use it a lot but it was missing a little green life with all that sterile metal and frosted glass!
We really loved the look of the Applaro panel system - it suits the Platta floor we installed last year and matches the Applaro gate-leg table we use for dining - but the size was too small (and 2 units were too big). We also needed a unit that could stand alone (which the Applaro panel by itself cannot do) as it's not permissible to permanently attach things to our condo exterior! As we are SUPER fans of this page, we determined that we could make a hack work!
A single Applaro is almost 32" wide - we had a total space of 58" to work with. We chopped about 6" out of the middle of a second wall panel and hammered steel ties to attach each of the horizontal pieces to its corresponding piece on either side of the uncut panel. Now it was 58" wide but needed a frame built to it to strengthen it. This was done with the sturdy oak 1x3 strips bracing the vertical pieces as well as the horizontal cross piece at the top. We also used the oak to extend the length of the panel to raise the whole thing to its final height. We used a couple of the 6" cut out pieces to hide the oak legs from view from the front.
To create the standalone, we built the storage bench as per instructions and attached it to the base of the middle unit. The whole screen is completely sturdy and stable and the extra storage holds what little gardening tools we still own.
2 shelves form the plant base - we used the brackets from 3 shelves (6 brackets in total) for strength and used the wood from the 3rd shelf to create a plant draining system on another table. 2 24" long window boxes hold the plants.
All in all, the hack has greatly enhanced our enjoyment of our balcony and we hope you like it too! It wasn't an inexpensive solution but took less than 6 hours from start to finish to complete.
~ Steven and Lorna, Mississauga, Ontario