Nothing completes your home like a beautiful terrace garden. We all have an idea about what this garden should look like. And, now it is time to make it a reality. You can plant gorgeous flowering plants or grow organic food on your own balcony. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps and then watch your ideas get bigger and better along the way.
Choose the best spot
Any outdoor space such as a rooftop or a balcony is ideal for terrace gardening. There are some things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the right spot to make your terrace garden:
- It should have drainage options: Most balconies come with good drainage that lets any excess water seep out. If not, it must at least offer the option of installing drainage pipes.
- Strength matters: Before you pick large plants or trees for your terrace garden, make sure that the space can support the weight. You can go back to the floor plan and consult with a contractor to be sure.
- Make sure it is waterproof: If you only plan to have pots, waterproofing is not necessary. However, if you dream of a lawn and wish to fill up the area with soil before starting, waterproofing is a must. The last thing you want is water seeping through your roof and walls.
- Sunny and shady: While there is no doubt that sunlight is extremely important for balcony gardening, you should also have some spots that have shade for certain kinds of plants. You must at least have the option of installing green shade nets or sheets in the area.
Gather your supplies
The number one rule of rooftop gardening is to keep all your supplies handy. The basic supplies that you need are pots and planters, gloves, wedges, shovels of different sizes, hedge shears and scissors to trim and prune your plants. Then make a list of the plants that you wish to grow. This depends on the season that you get started in and the place that you live in. However, there are no limits when it comes to what you want to have in your terrace garden. You have the option of growing vegetables at home along with herbs, fruits, flowering plants, shrubs, and succulents. Think bonsai if you want to have actual trees in your space without making it too stuffy.
Getting started with your terrace garden
Once all your supplies are in place, you need to make some necessary preparations before you begin with your project.
- First, waterproof the space. You can do this with the help of professionals and also get the strength of the foundation checked. This is required if you are planning a large terrace garden as a structural audit will tell you how many pots and plants you can actually have. If it’s a small space and you just want to cover the ground to waterproof you can head to the paint store and get some waterproofing paint like roof or dampproof etc and apply the same.
- Next, you must prepare your soil. The best combination is regular soil that you can buy from any nursery or gardening soil, vermicompost and compost coir sand. They should be mixed in equal proportions in most cases but may require specific mix ratios for certain plants and vegetables.
- Fill the pots and planters with this soil and plant the seeds and saplings.
- You need large containers for your climbers and wider and deeper containers for shorter plants. Some research might be necessary to understand how deep the roots will go to find the perfect pots and planters.
- If you wish to grow climbers and creepers, you need to ensure that trellis and poles are installed to support them.
- For those who wish to install a lawn, this must be completed first. You can get grass patches that can be laid over the soil.
- Build shades using green nursery fabric or net if needed.
- To keep rodents and birds away from your garden, installing a wire mesh is highly recommended.
Maintaining your terrace garden
Apartment gardening is an ongoing process. After all, you must take good care of every plant to keep your garden fresh and sprawling all year long. All you need to do is follow some routine steps each day:
- Watering your garden every day is a no-brainer. During the summers, you may even have to water the garden twice each day. The best way to water your pots is by using a watering can. Unless your garden has a lawn, a sprinkler or hose may not be necessary. Make sure that you only water the pots till the soil is just soaked to prevent overwatering. There are water-holding granules and gels that can help retain water in the pots for longer. Alternatively, you can add biodegradable to the bottom of your pots to prevent water from evaporating too fast.
- Keep the pests away: Don’t be surprised about bugs and insects that your garden may attract. One habit that increases pets is spraying water on the foliage. This must only be done in the morning to prevent insects and bugs from making their way in. For terrace gardens, you must only use organic pesticides. This space is shared by your pets and may also be frequented by your little ones. Some of the best pesticide options are neem spray, mineral oil, eucalyptus oil, soap water with citrus oil, garlic and onion spray or chrysanthemum tea. You also have the option of buying organic pesticides from gardening stores or nurseries.
- Pruning is a must: To make sure that your garden does not look unkempt and shabby, you need to clip and prune your plants regularly. Pruning will help you get rid of any dead parts of the plant to prevent any disease from spreading. It also improves the growth of your plants and makes them healthier. Once you have pruned your plants, the next step is to trim them. This helps you keep them in great shape and of course, makes them look great, too.
Now that you have an idea about all the basics of terrace gardening remember that it is a commitment.
Get ready to spend at least half an hour each day taking care of it. But, given how relaxing it is, every minute that you spend will be completely worth it. Then, all you have to do is sit back, enjoy a cup of tea and admire your masterpieces.