Sept. 7 2017 03:00 AM

The well-maintained landscape became a staple of the American middle-class due to the rise of the suburbs coinciding with affordable-powered mowers, and now the same thing is happening in India.

“Five to ten years ago, only the economically well-off used to hire landscape architects to design their gardens,” said Sushma Jeyakumar, of Jeyakumar Associates. “The scenario has changed. People today travel more, and are aware of interior-designing trends. They want to create their own green space at home.” These spaces may lack the luxury of a lush lawn, but they provide oxygen, and a ‘de-stress zone’ on their properties.

Homeowners in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India, have been approaching landscape architects, gardeners and other Indian landscape professionals to design green spaces for them. In the cramped confines of Indian cities, everyone wants a bit of green in their lives, even if it’s in a small courtyard, terrace or balcony.

The big spenders of India’s green industry are still colleges, schools, resorts and gated communities. “Larger institutions spend anywhere between $4,500 and $30,000--or even more,” said landscape designer S K Senthil Kumar. “Those are plum projects, which also give a designer good maintenance work almost every month.”

Still, homeowners are coming into their own, and the country’s green industry is responding. “Now, even houses with barely 1,000 or 2,000 square feet of space have budgets ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 for landscapes,” said Jayaraj Rangaraj, a gardener and landscaper.

Indian homeowners, just like their American counterparts, are looking for low maintenance landscapes, too. “Most clients prefer Korean grass for their lawns because it grows in fast, but grows slower in height,” said Rangaraj.

If Rangaraj is to be believed, water features are universally appealing. “Earlier, their budget used to be about $150. Clients often want us to design a small rocky corner, a waterfall, or just their garden,” he said. “They love it when you give it a natural look with pebbles, yellow stones or even a few ceramics. All this also gives you a good margin.”