Monsoon Special Edition
Compiled by Anuradha K. R.
Info and Images: Courtesy the architect
Lush green soft landscaping and the monsoons share a special bond. Building and landscape architect, Ajay Suryawanshi, shares his valuable insights on developing and maintaining landscaped areas during the monsoons; as he showcases his work with the Yarina and Jesica farms...
Developed on adjacent plots, with diverse functional requirements, the two farm projects display the designer’s intent and attempt to transcend time and purpose, while remaining rooted to the context at an abstract level. In both projects, 50-50 ratio of hard to soft landscaping is maintained, keeping margins for expansion.
Jessica, a day-time farmhouse, blessed with rustic charm, is conceived more as a sculptural entity than an architectural unit andgives an experience of living in oneness with nature. The landscape comprises a sequence of garden spaces, each with its own purpose and identity, creating individualistic microclimates.
Yarina, on the other hand, with no built mass, is an attempt to create a place that lends solitude, where one can contemplate the grandeur of nature, with nothing else, but nature. Its flowing form with stepped plantation displays the designer’s ingenuity in handling the challenge of vast difference in gradient, to arrive at a uniform landscape zone with interesting connectivity.
Dwelling on the relation landscapes share with monsoons, Ajay opines that monsoon is an excellent period to start developing a garden as the season is most conducive for inducing growth in plants.
Here are some handy hints:
1. Ensure that a tender plant is introduced a little in advance and an already grown plant is introduced during the rains.
3. Loosen the soil instead of tilling it. Very loose soil can be great for new plants.
4. Varieties of plants are available, not all of them, especially many flowering varieties, bloom during this season.
5. Most importantly, planning your gardening even before the arrival of the rainy season will be more effective to get the complete effect of seasonal flowers.
Special care needs to be taken during monsoon to prevent foliage of existing plants from getting damaged and destroyed by the presence of too much salt in the air, exposure to strong winds, and excess humidity and water. His pointers:
1. Trim/prune your existing plants slightly prior to the monsoon
2. Avoid accumulation of water
3. Guard against pathogenic fungi and insects. Use bactericide and fungicide.
4. Avoid watering if you feel the soil is soft from the inside.
5. Take extra precautions to shelter your green lawns
6. Another must-do during the rains is rotating potted plants in the house to ensure that they all get sunlight and rain water, giving them a healthy, green look.
7. Do not do grafting or cuttings in this season; it usually ends with decay and death.
8. Nourish your plants with natural fertilisers.
9. Always plan for a raised flowerbed to ensure drainage of water.
10. Reduce watering.
11. While preparing the flowerbeds, please ensure that they must be slightly raised, for helping the water to flow down; but keep the moisture.
Ajay believes that the highlight of any well-landscaped area is its ability to gracefully blend aesthetic appeal with functional utility, enhancing the positive attributes of the plot and the built form and minimizing undesirable features. Achieving a perfect harmony between the dwelling and the surrounding is the key, he asserts.