HDB Balcony Gardens

Singapore’s HDB housing blocks can look pretty sterile.  From the outside they all look the same.  In some areas there are whole groups of buildings that are built in the same fashion.  From what I’ve noticed, it seems like tenants have a lot of leeway with what they do to the interiors, but sometimes the hallways and corridors are just plain boring.

So, it’s nice when you’re walking down a corridor and you see that people are taking an initiative to liven the place up a bit, to make it more natural looking and more cozy.

A lot of people have personalized signs in front of their houses with their family name.  Some people get custom metal gates installed with designs in them, like birds.

Other people go to more extremes and have lots and lots of plants.  It’s very pleasant and refreshing seeing that splash of green down an otherwise drab corridor, especially considering how much extra work it has to be to maintain it all.

Some people get very creative with their plants:

I thought the fish were a really nice touch.

It also reminds me of my mom’s balcony.  She has a little garden out there where she grows tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables, which is even more impressive considering she lives in New York City and she does it with limited space.  She also sets up flowering creepers, morning glories, every year.  She attaches string so that they grow to cover the balcony from top to bottom.  When they bloom it looks really great and makes the place feel a lot more alive.

I’m looking forward to the next time I’ll be able to see these in person.  Photo courtesy of my mom!

It was really interesting to me how much people are able to modify their HDBs, because I’m used to places like this being apartments, where you’re only renting.  You can’t make any changes without approval, and who wants to improve a residence that they don’t own?  HDBs are owned though, so it makes sense to put some effort into them.