Transform your home into a green haven with Urban Farming


Vadodara-based Avanee Jain, architect and founder of urban farming initiative, ­Upaj, makes a passionate case for moving towards green homes

Q: What is one simple way of achieving a green home?

A: With growing environmental consciousness, the trend of green homes is catching up. One simple way of achieving this is through growing plants and veggies at home or maintaining a balcony or terrace garden. Plants at home not only absorb the carbon dioxide and purify the air, but also keep homes cool. Thus, today, many people are keen on creating semi-outdoor living spaces in their balconies that translate into mini-gardens. The benefits include flowers, fresh herbs, oxygenated air, cool breeze, fresh vegetables and sweet fruits. Through balcony/terrace gardens, one’s desire for green homes can be fulfilled in no time.

 

Q: How can a terrace/balcony garden reduce a home’s carbon footprint?

A: Such gardens greatly help in reducing the heat buildup in the open area. On a bright sunny day, sunlight is absorbed by the roof or the balcony, which makes it very hot. This heat is radiated back into the air and building, thus, increasing the ambient air temperature. As a result, the need for air-conditioners and coolers increase. In such cases, vegetation on the roof and balcony provides shade, thereby, reducing heat retention, and heating of air inside and outside the building.

See also: Terrace farming: The secret weapon against waste management problems

 

Q: How can we have a garden in small apartments?

A: Even if you are limited to lone containers, you can still have a green space at home. In fact, if you know how to take advantage of good light, you can make space on a ledge for pots and any tiny space can be transformed into a lush balcony garden. The idea is to make a balcony an extension of the indoor space. The perception of greenery beyond the room, makes an impactful connection with the outdoors, thereby, making your indoor space seem larger.

 

Q: What points should be kept in mind while designing balcony gardens?

A: Balcony/terrace gardens are possibly the only green refuge in today’s growing urban landscape. It is important to know your requirement and hence, ask yourself, how would you use your balcony in relation to indoor spaces. For small balconies, the goal is to ‘bring the outdoors in’. Even if you only have a tiny balcony, it is worth the effort to put some house plants out there as it provides a focal point beyond the boundaries of your walls. Smart gardeners like to continue their colour scheme, from inside to outside. For instance, you can match the colour of an indoor wall, with the colour of your planters.

In addition, you have to consider a host of challenging factors such as load bearing, water system, sunshine, city conditions, interior plants and more. You can also add some seating space in your balcony. Find an old piece of wood that you can use as a tiny coffee table and throw a few colourful pillows around it, for comfortable floor seating. Further, an old unused chair can be painted in a bright happy colour to add as an accent piece to your little indoor garden.

Avanee Jain's interview -iStock

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