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Introducing greenery in urban homes

Blur the lines between the indoors and the outdoors, by bringing welcome doses of greenery home. Here’s how house plants and simple design hacks can transform your spaces.

July 03, 2021 / 06:31 PM IST
Succulents are natural air purifiers, require very little maintenance, and double up as an aesthetic green feature. (Photo: Your Green Canvas)

Succulents are natural air purifiers, require very little maintenance, and double up as an aesthetic green feature. (Photo: Your Green Canvas)


Staying at home during the pandemic, many of us have redoubled our efforts to transform the home into a sanctuary. One of the simplest and  most economical ways to do this is through the inclusion of greenery.

Adding a bit of greenery - introduced in various scales and configurations - to the home can introduce new energy, new vitality, and a freshness to the space.

To understand some interesting ways to incorporate greenery in the house, even within compact urban dwellings, we spoke to Babita Sinha and Saumya Tiwary, founders of Your Green Canvas Greenscapes, Bengaluru.

Balcony nooks and succulent patches

Homes in urban cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Bengaluru don't always have large outdoor spaces. But regardless of its square footage, a balcony with plants can become a homeowner’s oasis.

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“The act of nurturing greenery in our own spaces is a grounding practice, allowing us to disconnect from unending digital stress attributed to work from home systems,” said Sinha.

Their tips:

  • Including planters in materials like mud, FRP, concrete, etc., makes for interesting features.

  • Cozy it up with tactful layering—bring in a natural-fibre rug or patterned rugs in hemp, jute, woven textiles, etc., outdoor-grade furniture in wickerwork or high-performance materials, floor cushions/ottomans, multipurpose furniture, large mirrors, swings, if the space permits, and finally, some mood lighting in the form of fairy lights, whimsical lanterns or statement pendant lights.


Succulent patches in a compact nook of one’s balcony are a great way to steadily hone one’s green thumb. “Succulents are air purifiers in nature, are low on maintenance, and double up as an aesthetic green feature that can withstand extreme climatic conditions while needing minimal water for sustenance. They perform well when grouped and all they need is a well-lit nook and minimal watering,” said Tiwary.

Decorating with houseplants

Simple, impactful, and affordable - indoor plants can be just the thing in the dense urban environments of metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Delhi.

They heighten a space’s visual persona, improve indoor air quality, and lend the interiors a layered identity.

Indoor plants are known to boost productivity, reduce stress levels, making them fitting additions in living areas, home offices, and bedrooms.

They also create sublime focal points within spaces, and can be accented further by coupling with statement planters and lights, to use as accessories while curating nooks.

The Zanzibar Gem (ZZ) plant, Devil’s Ivy (Pothos), Areca Palm, Spider Plant, and Sword Fern are some of the most popular indoor plant species that can be one’s top picks on the next trip to the nursery!

(Photo: Your Green Canvas) Use different types of planters and lighting to create focal points within spaces. (Photo: Your Green Canvas)

Terrariums

Suited for small spaces and homeowners who wish to introduce sustainable greenery into their spaces, terrariums are sealed/unsealed glass containers which house soil and plants that are nurtured within a controlled miniature ecosystem, propelled via heat and condensation of water.

“It is the quintessential way to bring a small-scale landscape feature indoors!” said Sinha.

“These (terrariums) can be curated by the incorporation of various plants, mosses, stones, water features, etc., and make for a great step towards dabbling in easy to maintain greenery,” Tiwary added.

Low on maintenance and space-saving in their make, terrariums make for beautiful additions; essentially conceptualised to mimic contained indoor gardens, these systems are self-reliant due to the recycling of water as humidity builds within the container.

Vertical herb walls

In cities where horizontal space is in shortage supply, the trick is to go vertical! Consider creating a minimalistic herb wall in your balcony, utility space, or even a sunny spot in the kitchen. These can be created while using a wall, mesh, fence, or any supporting structure on to which smaller planters can be fastened.

Pack your home-cooked meals with additional nutrients and flavour with home-grown herbs like Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Mint, Cilantro, and Oregano. Get the herb seeds, some nourishing potting soil, and adopt a timely watering schedule while keeping the herbs in indirect sunlight.

Five tips to keep your house plants thriving

  • The most common cause for the degradation of plant health is over/under-watering. Understand the respective watering needs of species and check the conditions of the topsoil to gauge. Most varieties only need watering every 3-5 days if kept indoors.

  • Ensure that all planters have drainage holes at the bottom to prevent root rot, growth of harmful microbes, and lack of root aeration in plants.

  • Gently wipe down leaves of foliage-heavy plants to ensure that their exposure to light is uninterrupted. The accumulation of dust on leaf surfaces can deter the same and result in yellowing/weakening of leaves.

  • All plants need some exposure to the sun. The intensity of the same may vary - some plants are shade-loving, while others require direct sunlight.

  • Explore plant varieties indigenous to your geographical context; this enables species to grow effectively, versus selecting plants based on their decorative value.
Lavanya Chopra is a Bengaluru-based architect and design writer.
first published: Jul 3, 2021 06:19 pm

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