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Ways to Decor your Balcony Garden

In today’s era where our lives are full of chaos, we barely get time to unwind amidst greenery and blooming flowers. 
Due to the trending sky scrapers in the metropolitan and developing cities, it may seem impossible for us to have a garden in 
our apartments or flats. 

Well the good news is we have a few quick tips that will help you create that space wherein you can plant your favorite flowers, 
herbs and greens. 

So it’s time to liven up your balcony space with those beautiful multi-colored blossoms, shades of greens and dim
 lit hanging lamps. 

Here are some tips : 

Redo your Floors : 
Redoing your floor will save you a lot of work and cost, as it will drastically change the look and feel of your balcony space. 
You can use wooden works, laminates that look like flooring, for a small budget you can use coloured tiles, oil paints or 
anything that hides your concrete or boring flooring. 

Seating Arrangements :
What is a space without some comfortable seating arrangements. Just pull out a wooden bench or simply put up chairs, 
stools made out of junk materials like tyres, ropes, drums etc. 

 Make it Cozy :
A cosy environment is most comfortable as it feels homely. Just add some colorful cushions, ruggs or quirky curtains
 to add comfort and essence to the whole space. 

Add Greens to your balcony : 
Plant lot of green plants with various shades of greens. You could add hanging pots to manage a small floor space.
This could also have seasonal colorful flower pots. 

Add Beautiful Lights: 
Proper lights is what gives an ambience the real touch of beauty. Add beautiful small lamps or light chandeliers. Make
sure they’re dim yet pretty.

Make Citronella Lamps to keep bugs away : 
Since balcony is an open space and as we suggest adding green plants, its necessary to make a provision that will keep
the bugs away and make it an apt place to relax at the end of the day. So keeping a citronella lamp will do the needful of 
keeping the bugs away. 

So adding these few things to your balcony would definitely make it a cozy, beautiful, refreshing and relaxing for you. 


Rain Water Harvesting

‘’Water is life’’ - we all have been taught the importance of water since our childhood. Not only in schools, people from around the globe have taken an initiative to educate and spread the word to save water. 

Rain Water Harvesting is one of those methods that would not only save water but act as a huge advantage for you in the days of drought or water shortage faced during summers. 

Rain water harveting is a method of storing rain water in containers applying proper means to keep the water fit for any use over a long period of time.

Methods of Rain Water Harvesting :

Rain water harvesting set up can range in complexity from set ups that can be installed with minimal skills to systems that will require technical knowledge and skills. For domestic usage a simple set up should suffice the needs. 

Water can be stored in a reservoir on or under the surface. The stored up water is later on taken to places with the help of pipe or tube or

Ponds, canals, big ditches or water-courses, etc. in the country-sides are filled up with the rain-water to replenish the subterranean water-storage subsequently.

Water can be stored in medically treated and carefully built subterranean reservoirs that can be used in emergency.

The main components or basic components of the rain water harvesting systems are :

- Surface Runoff Harvesting : In urban areas water flows away surface run off. This run off can be caught and re-used through appopriate methods. 

- Rooftop Rain Water Harvesting : This is the most common and easy method used across the country. This system helps you to catch water where it falls. The water from the roof of the house or buildings are collected in tanks. This method is very effective and low at cost. 

Usage of Rain Water Harvesting

- This reserved rainwater can be properly filtered and treated to be used as drinking water.

- This water is stored up in ponds, ditches, canals, etc. in the rural areas for using in everyday household chores as well as in agriculture also.

- The subterranean water in some areas are not drinkable due to it’s high arsenic percentage. To mitigate this problem in those areas, rain-water is conserved carefully to be used as the substitute for drinking water.
















Great Insights from the most renowned Architects around the Globe

Architecture as a profession is one of the most challenging jobs one can pursue. As a student of architecture, you don’t face the real challenges that lie within this career. 

It is when you complete your degrees and step out in the real world of architecture that you realise it’s way more than just scaling diagrams, beams and columns. That the designing difficulties that make you doubt your career and insecurities that surround your outputs. It is in these moments of doubts that some insights from the most established architects from across the globe, can provoke the positivity and help us see through the hurdles. 

Some of such sayings and suggestions can be found below :

"Find something you believe in." - Norman Foster 

"Beauty is the peak of functionality! If something is beautiful, it is functional. I don’t separate beauty and functionality. Beauty is the key functionality for architects… I wonder how I could say that beauty was not of interest to me... Perhaps someone provoked me by saying that I am an aestheticist. I am not that. But a search for beauty should be the number one preoccupation of any architect." - Álvaro Siza 

"The challenge with architecture is to move from the specificity of the problem to the ambiguity of the question." - Alejandro Aravena

"For me, architecture is about changing the way people are interconnected. That’s the most exciting part of architecture. I think of architecture as a system; how you set up various opportunities for people to relate to one another, and to be empowered. What are the opportunities for people to interact? How can buildings spark new relationships? This could be through spaces or materials, both old and new, low or high technologies, I pull from everything to find what works best."  Jeanne Gang

"We must build spaces that do not create barriers." Francis Kéré

"Architects have to be part of society, but we are outsiders." César Pelli 

"I used to teach the final year of the design studio. I would not try to influence the students too much because they were almost professional architects themselves. Of course, they think they know everything, but the reality is that no one knows anything. But a good teacher has to act like he knows. Confidence is very important, not only knowledge. Every problem requires thinking, not readymade solutions. You know that you don’t know, but there is an urgency to do something. You have to discover the knowledge – that’s the whole point." - Paulo Mendes da Rocha




Tips to Select a Good Site

Building our own home is once in a lifetime event, hence one must really be careful of every detail and elements starting from the most basic need of a site. A site is the foundation of a house which should be selected vigilantly. You should bear the following points in mind while buying a land.

Location of the plot can be determined by the following factors of consideration:
Distance from
-Public transport stations
-Railway station, Bus stand, Airport
-Work place
-Hospital, school or other institute in priority
-Park/recreational areas, market place

Availability of infrastructure
The soil of site should be good enough with high safe bearing capacity to provide economical foundations.
Water supply, drainage, sewage facility should be properly available
Shape of plot should be irregular or not having any sharp corners.
Land should be authorized to residential use.

Easy access to site:
-Preferably metaled road
-Road width for easy access of building
-Preferably not on main traffic holding road

Land Value
-Circle rates
-Future projections

Check whether the land is affected by any government scheme like road widening scheme or any other reservation for public amenities.
-Culture of area around
-Not a high security zone like of a nearby military area.

Plots in developed colonies or sectors can be selected considering the following points:
-corner plot
-north front is preferable
-easy access to community open space, preferably a park facing plot.


Raw Material Arrangements-Water for Construction

Water is one of the most important elements in construction but people still ignore quality aspect of this element. The water is required for preparation of mortar, mixing of cement concrete and for curing work etc during construction work.

Quality of Water

The water used for mixing and curing should be clean and free from injurious quantities of alkalis, acid, oils, salt, sugar, organic materials, vegetable growth and other substances that may be deleterious to bricks, stone, concrete or steel. Potable water is generally considered satisfactory for mixing. The pH value of water should be not less than 6. 

Effects of Bad Quality Water on Cement Concrete

It has been observed that certain common impurities in water affect the quality of mortar or concrete. Many times in spite of using best material i.e. cement, coarse sand, coarse aggregate etc. in cement concrete, required results are not achieved. Most of Engineers/Contractors think that there is something wrong in cement, but they do not consider quality of water being used. Some bad effects of water containing impurities are following.

  • Presence of salt in water such as Calcium Chloride, Iron Salts, inorganic salts and sodium etc. are so dangerous that they reduce initial strength of concrete and in some cases no strength can be achieved. There is rusting problem in steel provided in RCC.
  • Presence of acid, alkali, industrial waste, sanitary sewage and water with sugar also reduce the strength of concrete.
  • Presence of silt or suspended particle in water has adverse effect on strength of concrete.
  • Presence of oil such as linseed oil, vegetable oil or mineral oil in water above 2 % reduces the strength of concrete up to 25 %.   
  • Presence of algae/vegetable growth  in water used for mixing in cement concrete reduce of the strength of concrete considerably and also reduce the bond between cement paste and aggregate.

Treatment of Water

It is advisable that water should be tested in lab and if found unsatisfactory, it should be treated according to directions of laboratory. It is generally observed that ground water has some quantities of salt. In case of small work or in a situation where good water is not available, salty water must be treated with HCL @ 10 ml for 100 liters of water.

Quantity of Water

Water is an important component for mortar or concrete. The quantity and quality of water have much effect on the strength of mortar and cement concrete. It has been observed many times that in spite of using best raw materials, cement and tested water; concrete does not provide required results.  Engineers/contractors think that there is something wrong in cement, but they do not consider water cement ratio or quantity of water added in the mix.

When the water is mixed in mortar, it reacts with cement and forms a binding paste which fills small voids in the sand. This creates a close cohesion of sand particles and cement. In case of cement concrete the voids formed between sand and coarse aggregate gets filled with the paste forming a cohesive substance/concrete. The required quantity of water is used to prepare mortar or concrete, but in practice it is seen that more water is mixed to make the mix workable. This is a bad practice and additional water weakens the strength of cement paste. Extra water also weakens adhesive quality.

Main disadvantages of mixing too much water in mortar and concrete

  1. The water occupies space in sand and it evaporates to create voids. Moreover the water voids will be more and this will reduce the density, strength and durability of mortar or concrete.
  2. When more water is used in concrete excess water brings a mixture of excess cement paste with water floating on the surface. This material forms a thin layer of chalky material on the surface which reduces proper bonding with second layer of cement concrete in case of water tank and dams etc. This will affect the strength of concrete.          
  3. When more water is used, the cement slurry starts coming out from from cement concrete mix. The excess slurry formed by water and cement comes out through shuttering joints. This makes concrete of less cement and reduces the strength of concrete.
  4. When more water is used, proper compaction is not achieved and there is bleeding, large voids and more shrinkage, less durability and less strength.
  5. When more water is mixed in cement concrete, the problem of segregation of material is faced at the time of laying the mix. As a result Coarse Aggregate and cement paste separate from each other. 

Hence strict control should be kept on water cement ratio for preparing the mortar or concrete for qualitative finish/ strength.

Quantity of Water for One Bag Mix

  • Approximate 32 liters of water is required where the ratio 1:2:4 of cement concrete is used.
  • Approximate 30 liters of water is required where the ratio 1:1.5:3 of cement concrete is used. 

Water for Cement Concrete

  • Water for ordinary cement concrete mix should be equal to 5% by weight of aggregate and 30% by weight of cement.  
  • The actual quantity of water required to be added in the field depends on availability of aggregate and surface water present in the aggregate.
  • It should be calculated by slump test.
  • Generally for vibrated concrete the quantity of water is less by 20%.

Water Reducing Admixtures 

The water reducer admixture improves workability of concrete/mortar for the same water cement ratio. The determination of workability is an important factor in testing concrete admixture. Rapid loss of workability occurs during first few minutes after mixing concrete and gradual loss of workability takes place over a period from 15 to 60 minutes after mixing. Thus relative advantages of water reducing admixture decrease with time after mixing. These admixtures increase setting time by about 2 to 6 hours during which concrete can be vibrated. This is particularly important in hot weather conditions or where the nature of construction demands a time gap between the placements of successive layers of concrete.


  • It can reduce 10% of water consumption.
  • It can improve mixture of cement concrete for workability.
  • Compression strength improves by more than 15 %.
  • It can reduce initial stage of cement heat hydration by large margin.
  • It has no function of corrosion reinforcing bars.
  • It increases workability, density and strength without increasing the quantity of cement.

Hence in the area where there is less availability of water and the water is carried from long distances for construction work, the water reducing admixture is most beneficial for cement concrete work as it saves water up to 10%. It also increases the strength of cement concrete with the same quantity of cement.


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