Have you ever been to a friend’s house and admired their lush gardens, and wish your home had the space for it? In Malaysia, it’s not uncommon to hear people go, “But my house so small, where got place for garden? “The good news is, everyone has room for a garden. When there’s a will, and a little creativity, there’s a way.
With population in our cities booming like there’s no tomorrow, life can get pretty cramped in small apartments, link-houses, or condominiums, but you’d be surprised how many people can create stunning little gardens in the most unlikely spaces.
And with the blossoming of interest in small gardens, comes a new industry of products to make it instantly viable. There are containers to fit in corners, on walls, in suspension, endless varieties of soil mixes in convenient bags, easy fertilisers, watering devices, artificial lighting, pesticides - you name it, they’re making it, if not already.
I have spent the last ten years designing a garden that not only reflects Malaysian culture, but also a garden for Malaysians.
This is because, invariably, when it comes to Malaysian homes, space, or the lack of, is an important element to consider. Sure, if you have a sprawling bungalow land, then you can go for whatever you fancy – Japanese zen garden or perhaps a perfume garden with meandering paths.
But really, what about the rest of us with that small patch of lawn? Or even when there’s no garden as such, but just one big car porch. Where can we possibly fit in a garden, Malaysian or not?
Well, if you look around your home, you’ll probably find little nooks and niches of underutilized space, like, say, the area under the stairs where you throw your shoes, bicycle, broom, umbrella, and what-not.
Fortunately, size doesn’t matter. We’ll explore various ways you can enhance your house by stealing back spaces and transforming them into Malaysian-themed gardens. For starters, let's look at our balcony.
Hanging Gardens of KL
Modern times see the emergence of a new breed of community - the high-rise dwellers. And along with them come a modern affliction - high-blood pressure. Not one to make conclusions, but living in high-density residential areas certainly doesn’t help alleviate the stress of daily city life.
But imagine if all apartment dwellers have access to their own private little garden, where they can sit among fragrant plants with the therapeutic sound of rustling water in the background - wouldn’t it be paradise?
Not just fairy-tale wishing, but such a scenario can be realised in that often-underused space in any apartment - the balcony. Even small balconies that can barely fit a deck chair can instead become an actual extension of your living room.
A concept garden can be designed for spaces no bigger than 6’ x 8’. The pangkin and fountain/geyser are strategically placed amongst potted plants, in such a way, that, with the sliding doors open, it seems as if your living room naturally extends all the way outside.
Of course, if you have a bigger balcony, it will mean a bigger canvas, so more can be done to create that little haven from stress.
These are but two examples of how you can beautify your sweet little home and have the garden you’ve always wanted without the need for expensive renovations or artificial plants.
The Malaysian Garden concept is a unique idea still very much in its infancy. Perhaps, in future, it wouldn’t be surprising to associate Malaysian homes with beautiful cultural gardens, even those homes not designed to have gardens.
TERRA GARDEN SDN BHD is an Outdoor Living Design Firm specializing in Malaysian Garden.
No. B-1-01, Jalan SS6/20,
Dataran Glomac, Kelana Jaya,
47301 Petaling Jaya,
Tel: +603-7880 8018