Sunday, August 15, 2004

Go green, the designer way
Sonia Dhami

The key to effective garden design is patience and planning, and this begins with a detailed analysis of your garden in its context.

The first step requires that you list what you and the family need from the landscape, to turn it into the garden of your dreams. Have everyone who will use the garden, contribute ideas to the "Wish list ". Go for the quantity of ideas because the more ideas you have, the more likely you’ll find useful ones. Moreover, it is easier to tame down an idea later than to dream one up.

You should take a look at the different ways in which you will use your garden:

A secluded bench, hammock, log stools or a low wall is a perfect rest area for anyone trying to get away from it all.

Gazebos patios, decks or even a plain lawn are perfect for sitting. Include space for a barbecue stand, an outdoor bar, a water line and light points. A formal water fountain, if space is available, always adds that extra appeal in any landscape design.

There should be activity areas sand pits, shallow pools, play equipment, tree house, climbing frame pens, fences and exercise areas for pets which need to be looked upon. Paved areas for biking, roller-skating etc should also be considered.

One of the most delicious aspects of your garden is that it can produce wonderful vegetable, fruits, herbs and flowers.

You may need a place to keep your garden tools, clothesline, garbage cans, compost pits, firewood etc. Irrigation and lighting require power and plumbing, utilities which cannot be forgotten in your wish list.

Birdbaths, bird and animal feeders are a good way to view these visitors, be it birds, squirrels, cats etc. without disturbing them

Your garden can start you on the organic way of growing fruits, vegetables and flowers. Another initiative can be recycling your garden and kitchen waste using vermiculture techniques.

Take your time to develop your wish list. Become familiar with the garden. Spend time in it before tearing out existing trees or feature planting — they are often there for a good reason. Imagine the garden throughout the year and how your needs from it will be different on a hot summer day as compared to a cold winter night.

Landscaping is truly a live art. It breathes, it grows, and it speaks. Its hues change with a change in seasons. It feeds the soil and is in turn fed by it. Nature like a caring mother, nurtures the intrinsic qualities of a landscape. A beautiful house building without an effective landscape to support it is like a dialogue of strong words contrasting sadly with the weakness of the delivering voice.