ON HOW TO ABOUT PUTTING A LAWN ON A TERRACE:
- The first step is to
find out the capacity of your terrace, that is consult the architect if it
can carry the additional load of soil and water.
- Minimize the weight as
far as possible. Baroda rayon has a capacity of taking on approximately 30
kgs per square foot. The weight of all materials, including the truckload
of soil, had to be weighed with water.
- Get the floor waterproofed
by an expert.
- Drainage systems have
to be set up. It is ugly to leave exposed drainage pipes or gutters all around
the lawn. One way of concealing this would be by using perforated P.V.C pipes
under the soil. As the soil layer is usually 4" high, pipes should be ¾"-
1" in diameter. Most terraces are built with a slight slope at the bottom
of which is an outlet for drainage. The perforated pipes should be placed
with their outlets near this hole. But if your terrace slopes towards one
side, you can have pipes going down and converging into another pipe which
runs parallel to the wall and opens out at this main hole. Over the pipes
put a 1 ½" layer of hard coke pieces. These can be bought as waste from any
foundry and are again used for drainage of water.
- Over this put another
layer of ¼" sized charcoal pieces. These tiny pieces serve to fill the gaps
in the first layer. The two layers are then made firm by pressing down with
a piece of wood.
- Now pour an aggregate
of red earth, manure and fine charcoal powder in the ratio 2:2:1 up to a height
of 2 ½", bringing the total height up to 4". Brick may be substituted for
charcoal, but is heavier.
- Plant the grass. Be
careful not to over water till the grass is firmly rooted; this takes about
20 days. In fact, it is advisable to just keep the soil moist and not let
the water reach the bottom. This ensures the roots grow and stick to the soil
and do not go into the coke area which remains isolated. If this is not done
the water, especially during monsoons, will collect and the grass will turn
- When the grass takes
root, the soil subsides a little, so add some more aggregate, during the monsoons.
This is called 'dressing'.
If you follow this procedure,
step by step, you are guaranteed a good and healthy lawn for a minimum of five
years before there be any need for reporting.
SOME TIPS FOR ROCKERIES
AND FLOWER BEDS
- Troughs and flowerbeds
are best placed only at the sides of the lawn. However, if you want a rockery
or fountain to be placed in the center, it is advisable to have these situated
near the joints of the beams.
- The base of the rockery
should be higher than the lawn. Keep the hard coke layer at least 4" high
here, the second layer of aggregate about 1 ½"-2" and the whole should be
covered with fine brick powder.
- A small area at the
back corner should be reserved for the pump but should be accessible for repairs.
- If you use a PVC pipe
for taking the water from the pond to the pump, it should last at least ten
- In between rocks leave
adequate space for soil. Even better is fitting in a pot as it makes repotting
or replacing of damaged plants even easier. It also slows the growth of plants.
- The path of the waterfall
has to be cemented or else the water will seep through. A little bit of asbestos
should be added to this cement, or else there are chances of cracking during
- Try and finalise on
paper the exact layout of your rockery before starting.
VARIOUS STAGES INVOLVED
IN MAKING A ROCKERY WITH A WATERFALL
- Check stability of construction
and its load bearing capacity.
- Waterproofing: This
is very important as in a terrace garden you spread soil over the roof and
soil remains moist all the time. Thus there is bound to be some dampness penetrating
through the ceiling. Very few materials are entirely non-porous such as slate
stone is. Even cement if used alone is porous.
- In water proofing always
use nonporous materials such as slate stone, PVC compounds, fibreglass coating
or sometimes even epoxy resins and rubberized bitumen compound. Tar or bitumen
by itself cracks in very hot sunlight, thus a more elastic material is better.
Which of these to use would depend mainly on the load the terrace can take.
Abroad people have started using lightweight processed clay, which is as light
as a balloon.
- Then do all the masonry
work i.e. tiling, paving, and rockery. The rockery has to be at least 4-5
feet high to be effective. This means a lot of additional weight at that point.
To overcome this try to make a hollow mass supported with stone slabs. Some
rocks may not balance on top of others; in such cases they may be cemented
together, whilst others generally fit on top of each other like a pyramid,
with hollow spaces in between for soils and plants.
- Next come all the electrical
jobs, such as light fixtures, connections for the pump and fitting of the
- Carpentry is next. Especially
in a Japanese style garden, a pergola or shelter or some sort is built and
trellis work added if required.
- Make the lawn and borders.
- Finally the planning
of trees, then bushes, then ground covers in that order.