Terrace gardens: oasis at home

A private garden is achievable even in the concrete jungles we live in

Woman watering the plant

When was the last time you stopped to look at a flower bloom? Most of us would not be able to answer that right away. We forgo that moment of bliss because we’re so caught up in our chaotic lifestyles that there is no time to visit a garden or a plant nursery. But if you had your own little garden at home, wouldn’t it be easier? And it doesn’t matter if you’re living in a high rise apartment. You can always use the terrace or balcony for creating terrace gardens.

Vertical gardening has been around us for ages together and is now making its space in India. There are no secrets to creating a perfect garden amidst your house. All you need to do is choose—choose a theme for your garden and then choose the right plants, accessories and planters to fit the theme.

Here are a few tips to help you create the garden you desire or spruce up your existing one.

Green ideas

  • Before you head off to buy pots and plants, make sure to measure up the area and decide your requirements accordingly
  • Choose a theme for your garden; this helps to give character to the place and direction to the rest of your garden shopping
  • Be clear about the purpose the balcony or terrace would serve. If you are looking to entertain, be sure to incorporate some garden furniture for guests to sit. If you have a small balcony, it can be furnished with just a single deck chair. If you’re looking to grow vegetables and herbs, you need to ensure that the area receives a lot of sunlight. If you’re looking for privacy or want to block out ugly views, choose dense screening plants. Most creepers serve this purpose well. Make sure to give them support in the form of a trellis.
  • Choose the plants keeping in mind the climatic conditions of your space
  • Select the containers for the plants that go along with the theme
  • Bear in mind that plants in containers need to be watered more regularly than the others, especially if they receive sunlight throughout the day. Watering leads to a certain amount of run-off, so use plates to protect the flooring from staining and to avoid the need for constant cleaning. A prettier alternative is to place the pots on pedestals, this makes cleaning easier too
  • If you plan to use anything more that a few pots and some light furniture, it’s important to first ascertain whether the space can bear the load
  • An important question you should ask yourself is: how are you going to water all the plants? You don’t want to be carrying buckets of water from one end of your home to the other. Find an easy and practical solution; a few metres of hose pipe would be handy
  • For easy maintenance of your garden, drainage is the key. Although most balconies and terraces come with run offs for water, it’s best to have sloped flooring that leads to a drain. You wouldn’t want water dripping down onto your neighbour
  • In order to create focal points, indulge in a couple of unique ideas, such as using distinctive pot designs or garden accessories like hanging baskets and wrought iron plant holders.
  • Bare walls can be put to good use too. Grow a vertical garden, plant a creeper, decorate it with some wrought iron plant accessories—the options are endless. Let your imagination go wild
  • When it comes to maintaining plants, only bite off as much as you can chew! Don’t act on every impulse to buy exotic looking plants that later become impossible to maintain. Choose plants wisely as maintaining them is a round the year job.

Home gardens serve the purpose of a relaxation zone. It’s a zone created as per your needs to give you the feeling of contentment.

Once you’ve created your own beautiful garden in your balcony or terrace, relaxing at home after a hard days work will be even better. And those early mornings with the newspaper and cup of tea will always be brighter than ever before.

Setting up terrace gardens almost free of cost

  • Save seeds from your plants, or ask your friends for seeds. Start an exchange system with your gardening buddies where you’ll meet once a month and share seeds and stories from your garden.
  • Propagate. Cut stems from your own plants, and share the cuttings with your friends.
  • If any of your plants are over grown, divide them and trade them with a gardening buddy.
  • Tomatoes, cucumbers and chillies from your kitchen have enough seeds for you to use for growing a plant. Seeds are the cheapest way to start growing and most seed packets come with seeds enough to start a small nursery!
  • Transform those boring plastic and terra cotta pots with some bright colourful paint.
  • Make your own fertiliser by composting your organic garbage. Try this provided you have an airy open space, as the compost will emanate a foul odour.

This was first published in the November 2012 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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David Corrie
David Corrie is the founder of Nature Nurturer, a Mumbai-based organisation that provides balcony garden design, terrace garden design, vertical garden systems and a host of gardening products and accessories.


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