Increase curb appeal and make an extra entertainment space on your rooftop with this guide on how to build a terrace garden in India!
Plants – once they enter through a terrace garden or any other mode, become a part of the family. Nurturing plants and watching them grow will give a divine calmness. It is like watching the growth of near and dear one in front of the eyes. Terrace Gardening is the most respectable and highly appreciated hobbies across the world that gets a person close to Mother Nature! Few lucky hands can experience this highly mind refreshing hobby. But, if your approach is haphazard you might encounter a failure. A systematic approach can fetch the better results and exceptional appreciation.
Maintaining a terrace garden is equivalent to directly interacting with Mother Nature.
There is a slight difference between a terrace garden and a balcony garden. Balcony garden consists of small clay pots and other accessories, which are not very heavy. Also, the balcony space is limited hence the entire gardening activity is narrowed down to compactness. Unlike the terrace garden wherein the area of operation expands.
Things to Consider Before Starting a Terrace Garden
Is the Terrace Foundation Sturdy To Sustain The Additional Weight?
Comparatively, the terrace garden pots are big in size. Also, the total weight of soil, pots, manure, fertilizers increases the gross weight of one particular plant. And a terrace is a big area, wherein you will be tempted to cover the entire terrace area with additional pots. But is the building structure capable of carrying this additional weight? Is the terrace slab sturdy enough to sustain the continual weight of all the accessories and the pots? Get it checked beforehand! The best solution is to utilize one fourth or at the most half of the terrace area for the gardening venture.
Is Your Terrace Slab 100% Water Proof?
In an over-enthusiasm, you tend to miss out this important fact. As you are going to cover your terrace with soil and heavy pots there will be a continual dampness on the terrace. Not to mention the Indian rainy season, which might add further woes if the terrace slab is leaking. The best solution is to get it checked from the professionals and if required, waterproof the terrace for an additional safety.
If you are doing it yourself use a thick tarpaulin sheet or a drainage mat as a waterproofing agent. Leakage free terrace will assure a very long-term benefit not only to the flat/room below the terrace but also the entire building structure as well. Once ready, cover the terrace with a beautiful lawn as well!
How To Design The Layout Of A Terrace Garden Beforehand?
On completion of the above-mentioned points – weight & waterproofing – layout design (on paper) becomes the priority. When you draw the terrace garden design on paper, lots of changes are possible without any kind of physical labour. Work towards the maximum utilization of the available space. When compared with a balcony garden, there is more available space but not like the normal garden.
Mark the areas dedicated to big plants, small plants, creepers, flower beds, lawn, etc. Make lots of changes as per your need, on paper.
Also, note the areas receiving maximum and minimum sunlight. If you feel the sunlight is extremely bright, cover your terrace with bamboos. Once completed you will get a rough idea of the number of plant containers, investment, and effective space utilisation, etc. beforehand. Manage the terrace space in such a manner that you can place one hammock, along with all the plants!
Selecting Appropriate Plant Containers
Different types of pots like, cement pots, clay pots, earthen pots, specially designed pots are available in the market.
Garden boxes or raised beds is one of them, which is an excellent option to grow plants and flowers. Not only these raised beds offer excellent drainage, avoids soil erosion and compaction (hard) but also does not allow snails or slugs to enter the plant soil. Also, these beds are wide in length when compared with pots.
Troughs and trellis is an excellent option for creepers and vines.
Hanging pots can enhance the garden appearance by planting decorative flowering plants.
Ultraviolet (UV) grow bags can also be used for tomatoes or salads.
Other available containers can be old boxes, plastic bottles or crates. But plastic has the property of breaking/cracking on prolonging exposure to sunlight.
If you are using such junk items, pierce a small hole at the bottom, which will help in removing excessive water.
What Type of Soil and Fertilizer to Use
The perfect soil mix corresponds to regular soil, vermicomposting and sand in the uniform proportion. Soil type depends on the plants. Fill in the pots with the required soil mix according to the plants you wish to grow. You can get this premix in any of the nurseries but they charge very high. Instead, purchase all the ingredients separately and mix it yourself. A well-nourished soil assures healthy & a sturdy growth of the plant.
One important point to remember is after the rains most of the nutrients are washed away. Hence replenishment of these nutrients is advisable.
Never try to opt for a chemically nursed soil. Not only does it kills harmful bacteria and worms, but also useful microbes and worms get eliminated.
What Are The Extra Precautions Required To Set Up A Terrace Garden?
Once all the necessities are assembled along with pots and containers as per the desired layout you can work on some of the basic requirements as under.
- Shelterbelt: In case of high velocity winds these windbreak’s act as an absolute protection to your terrace plants. Though it is not a compulsory requirement, it can be thought upon when the terrace garden is fully operational.
- Seeds: Do not compromise on the quality of seeds and soil nutrients. Not only the local nurseries can be the best source of seeds but even the regular consumption can fetch some of the basic seeds (cucumber, lemon, etc.) with hardly any efforts.
- Watering the plants: Depending on the requirements, water the plants once or twice in a day. This will assure the healthy growth of plants.
- Enough sunlight: Study the shadow and illuminated areas of the garden. This will help to put the plants as per their natural conditional requirements.
- Reprocessed containers: Using environment-friendly containers like coconut shells, bamboo baskets, broken boxes, etc. can add a natural look to the terrace garden.
- If you are planning to cover the entire terrace with soil, sow those plants which can flourish in it.
- Soil Pest Management: Plants is the main source of food for various pests like bugs, aphids, and ants. Not all of these can be handled with one pest control. Various other methods are required to eliminate such unwarranted irritants.
- Additional Protection: Once the plants bear fruits or flowers, creatures like rats and squirrels get attracted. Encompass the plants with nylon wire nettings.
How To Ease The Process If You Are The First Time Terrace Gardner?
Apart from the above-mentioned precautions, you can commence with the plantation of those vegetables, which grow fast and require less attention. To mention a few are coriander, capsicum, fenugreek, spinach, etc. Be assured to grow anything on your terrace garden once you gain confidence.
Maybe start with one single pot/container and vegetables like radish, tomato, or chilli and in due course of time expand your width.
How To Maintain A Terrace Garden?
Not more than thirty-five minutes are required to water the plants and throw unwarranted items from the terrace garden. The more time you spend in the garden will fetch faster results. Little efforts with a small investment are required to take care of a terrace garden.
Get serenity and mental relaxing blended with organic vegetables and pure air! Across the country, it is a perfect remedy to fight against the daily exhaustive routine. Not only you get the tranquillity and fresh air but also stress-free life! You will be rewarded with healthy breathing air and organic vegetables without any contamination, at ease!