Labour of love

Labour of love


Labour of love

 Ranjan Kamath’s bungalow in a quiet Koramangala lane is special because of its terrace garden. There is nothing manicured about this garden, making it all the more special. It beckons to one and all to be a part of its quiet beauty, writes Sudha Jain

 In a quiet lane lined with stately looking flame of the forests and laburnums, is the bungalow of Ranjan Kamath, unobtrusively mingling with the trees in Koramangala’s green environment. Little shrubs and creepers peek out from the terrace as you look up at the house, enfolded by a majestic Christmas tree, a gulmohar and flame of the forest. What’s striking about this house is its terrace garden, lending this place its distinct character.

It’s a good idea to incorporate some greenery into our homes and feel close to nature in the middle of a concrete-jungle-like scenario. All it needs is a bit of ingenuity and dedication and of course your love for greenery. As Ranjan would tell you, “having a terrace garden thrive is an exercise in patience. You need to invest your heart into it too. It’s a labour of love.”

Space not a constraint

Terrace gardens do not require much space. You can have a small garden in your balcony, patio or terrace. “I always wanted a garden and we had a good unutilised terrace space.

A few years back, when we were faced with seepage and other construction-related problems in our basement, we got it waterproofed. This is when we came upon this idea of having a terrace garden.

Our sound water proofing engineer, Gaffer, understood the challenge and created the framework for our garden. One thing to bear in mind is that the area for the terrace garden should have a slight slope, so it can drain water easily. Water should not be allowed to stagnate.

 As the plants need constant watering and maintenance of moisture level in the soil, it is important to water proof the area marked for the garden very well. You can also install a drip system for your terrace garden.”

After waterproofing, Gaffar used wire mesh for grip and nylon. Jelly stones and earth completed the base for our garden. A readymade grass patch then covered the earth and our terrace garden was born.”

Aesthetic and functional

The terrace garden not only adds to the aesthetics of a house, it can also take care of some of your kitchen needs. Vegetables and herbs can easily be grown here. Imagine cooking a vegetable immediately after plucking it from the plant!

The quantity may not be huge but the delight of having food you have grown on the table is incomparable. Besides this, having a terrace garden also protects the building from heat and cold.

It considerably reduces indoor temperature while increasing the amount of oxygen in air. It filters airborne particles from air. And the joy and satisfaction it gives to the owner is immense. “I have seen the difference that this little green patch has made to the environment.

It has now become a home to squirrels and birds. Stepping on the grass gives us good vibes. I have my morning tea here, take my theatre and communication classes here and the children just enjoy the space that we have created. The little joys of observation: a mynah picking up worms, a thirsty squirrel bouncing to drink water from the urli, the resilience of the creepers, can all be had in this green space.”
And why not! This terrace garden is dotted with myriad plants and trees.

Sitting on a bean bag in a corner, one can soak in the beauty of nature. Different plants quietly mark their own space, filling the space with their colours and brightness.

Covered from three sides by beautiful flower bearing trees, the yellows, flaming orange and red during flowering season, the garden creates a world of its own. Bamboo plants, hibiscus, jasmine, bougainvillea, ferns and ficus all unite to give this place its beauty and serenity.

Creepers such as oleanders and morning glory encompass the grills and the terrace, occasionally showering them with yellow and purple hued flowers. A beautiful brass jardinière adorned with green ferns finds pride of place in a corner.

A whimsical  corner with a wooden artifact and overturned broken onyx wine glasses embedded into the earth, looking like mushrooms, add a touch of fun and quirkiness. Wind chimes, terracotta pots, a Gurjari jhoola and of course an assortment of plants make this space spectacular in a ‘carefully careless’ way.

There is nothing manicured about this garden and this is where it gets its warmth from, beckoning to one and all to be a part of its quiet beauty. Ranjan says, “We can look up at the open sky lying on the grass here, listen to the music of the birds and squirrels, the rustle of the leaves and be transported to any place in the world. Having your own garden in the little space provided is therapeutic.”