Interior landscapes

In a home designed by an architect friend, there lay a central patch filled with smooth polished stones, the type you'd use to layer your garden. I didn't see the point until I looked up towards the double-height ceiling to find punctured holes on the concrete roof. The owners also intended to fill the narrow bed with greens. I could only imagine what an experience it would give them on a rainy day when droplets would sprinkle into their home, while they sit by the verandah on either side. Or may be on a day when sunlight would wash the interiors, lighting it up, lantern-like.

It's every homeowner's Arcadian dream to have a lawn of one's own. What if it can be done within the four walls of the house, not only without? With a bit of planning, light and air, you could be the proud owner of an oasis in the urban desert.

Bill Bryson in his book At Home, records what it meant to have a lawn in the 19th century. Until then, lawns were meant only for the gentry since these required high maintenance. Thanks to the invention of the lawn mover, well-cut and kept lawns became a reality in homes. Today, technology and deft understanding of light and shade allow home owners living in flats to have a garden experience.

Planning: "Motive," that's the primer before you open the landscape chapter in your home. "How much time can you spend?" How much do you need out of your garden? Is it purely utilitarian or should it look pretty?" These are questions one needs to ask when planning a green patch indoors. Most designers make room for a green space at the prelim stage of designing a home. "We always plan the house around the green areas," says architect Sunil Patil, of Sunil Patil and Associates. "It could be a lawn, a courtyard or a central square in the house. The house can be 2,000 sq ft or 10,000 sq ft, you can even have courtyards that are only 5 ft 5 ft."

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