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How to make a terrace garden

The first and foremost thing that has to be considered in making a terrace garden is to ascertain whether the terrace can take the load of the garden. Secondly, there has to be sufficient drainage holes and the slope of the terrace should be such that water is not allowed to accumulate anywhere on the terrace. The third and the most important thing is the water proofing of the terrace. It has to be exceptionally good to prevent the leakage of water for a very long time.

Let us now start making a terrace garden step by step.

Step 1 : Make a layout plan

Make a layout of the garden that you want to make. A good garden should have a proper balance of lawn, shrubs, ground covers and small trees. Though not a necessity, other features like, a water body, rock garden, gazebo and some artifacts too can be incorporated into the garden.

Step 2 : Select the plants

The selection of plants should be such that they do not have a tap root system. The plants should have a fibrous root system. A plant with a tap root system has the potential of growing through the terrace and endangering the life of the building.


Step 3: Prepare the growing media

The growing medium should be such that it will not add undue weight to the building. Soil rite or peat moss is a very light and excellent growing medium for terrace garden. However because of its cost it is best to prepare a growing medium with a mixture of garden earth, manure and soil rite or peat moss.

Step 4: Lay brickbats

After having taken care of the above factors, you are now ready to make a terrace garden on your own.

First, spread a layer of brick bats (totally burnt bricks) of approx. 2" - 4" evenly on the terrace. The brick bats are used to facilitate the drainage of water. Only the totally burnt bricks have to be used. This is because the pieces of normal bricks get reduced to mud after some years and defy the very purpose of facilitating drainage.

Corrugated sheets too can be used simultaneously to facilitate better drainage. The corrugated sheets should be placed at 3' distance and should be placed in such a way so as to lead the water to the drainage holes.

Step 5: Spread HDPE net

Spread HDPE net( wire mesh) over the bricks. This will prevent the garden earth and manure from getting into the gaps in between the brick bats.

Step 6 : Construct drainage chambers

If the terrace is quite big (more than 500 sq. ft.) then construct drainage chambers at various places on the terrace with pipes leading to the main drainage holes. This is done to prevent water from stagnating on the surface of the garden in case of heavy rain. The drainage chambers should be constructed in such a manner that when the final garden is done it will get covered by the lawn and not be noticeable by everyone.

Step 7: Spread the growing media and plant

Spread a mixture of garden earth, manure and soil rite or peat moss to the desired level. Carry out the planting as per your layout.