Sunday, August 23, 1998
A clipped hedge gives you the edge
By Satish Narula
TREATING the garden area outside the house is as important as the inside within the four walls. When left unattended, it becomes no-mans land, inviting garbage, malba and above all noxious weeds like congress grass etc essentially a weed of unattended areas.
Most of the residents, however, in and around Chandigarh are alive to the culture of decorating the outside as well.But there are certain dos and donts before you plan the outside area.
No doubt enclosing an area outside the four walls of a house is an encroachment, but development and cleanliness provide many hidden advantages. Usually the unattended places become resting places for vendors, passersby and sometimes strangers and rickshaw-pullers. Such people even use the place for easing themselves which is not only unhygienic but embarrassing.
The usual trend is to cover the area till the edge of the road and then erect a high hedge. It does provide privacy and keeps the people at bay, but what about the pedestrians? They have no pavement left but to walk on the road, sometimes even with small children, which is dangerous. Whenever you plan such a garden, leave at least three feet from the edge of the road.
The second most important aspect is making a hedge. High hedges, especially outside the corner houses, restrict the vision and are traffic hazards. By no means should these be more than two feet high. A trip for those who enter in the best home garden competition a clean and clipped hedge gives you the edge.
While planning the outside garden, always make a note about the electrical or telephone wires if these are passing under ground. Do not plant permanent sort of saplings at or in the near vicinity of such spots. You never know when the trenches will be dug to mend a fault, and you will have to lose a carefully groomed plant. Similarly, avoid concrete structures, benches, pillars, walls, grills and other permanent features. At such spots you could make grass lawn or features with stones-pebbles etc, which are easily removed and then replaced to give a quick effect.
Whenever you are planning the outside plantation, stand where you intend to plant and look up. This is very important, especially when you are planning to plant a sapling.Keeping the potential growth and spread of the tree in mind, see if there is any electrical wire overhead. You will otherwise have your tree chopped as it grows and in the process you either completely lose the tree or its charm, if it happens to be the like of a royal or bottle palm. Never grow fruit trees at such locations. You may get stones instead.
The best way to decorating the outside berm is with the ground cover plants like duranta (both goldiana and variegated), alternanthras (various types) iresin and sedums. When supplemented with stones, pebbles and chips, these can do wonders. The only thing needed is imagination in making patterns. Such a planning provides colour to your garden throughout the year with virtually no recurring expenditure like in case of seasonal annuals which suffer a gap period too. As an alternative you could also plan the seasonal annuals. They are also short-lived..
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