HYDERABAD: With ‘Go Green’ being the mantra in vogue, exotic and rare trees flown in from far off land have turned into the new brand ambassadors of residential projects in Hyderabad. Right from the unique Baobab tree of Africa to over 400-year-old olive trees from Europe, these exotic species are seen cropping up within the swank premises of top-notch gated communities in Gachibowli and adjoining areas.
For example, city-based Greenmark Developers’ residential project in Tellapur — Mayfair Villas — has a 1,200-year-old olive tree at its site. “The developers noticed that most of the people who visited their property would get a picture clicked with the tree. In fact, they started getting more enquiries due to which they ordered more trees from us,” said R Ramdev, founder of Hyderabad-based Unique Tree, which imports these exotic trees from over 25 countries.
Similarly, Shashi Ketu, CEO (Hyderabad region) of Bangalore-based real estate player Total Environment, pointed out that in 2015, the company had weaved its campaign for its residential project (Pursuit of a Radical Rhapsody) in Whitefield around a 300-year-old Baobab tree from Madagascar, which was transplanted at the project site.
“Many premium residential projects are sporting big trees. These are mostly high-end projects and customers appreciate it a lot,” a top official of Adani Group’s real estate arm, Adani Realty, said. In fact, the company has used various exotic trees in its high-end luxury villa project, Adani Shantigram, in Ahmedabad.
It is interesting to note that at a time when a consumer wants ‘instant gratification’, developers certainly cannot wait for years for a tree to grow at their project sites. Therefore, they take the help of landscape specialists to transplant trees.
“Earlier, developers were averse to the idea of having trees at the podium gardens as they would be paranoid about the roots going deep and leading to cracks and seepage, among others. However, with new techniques such as hydroponics (art of growing plants without soil), real estate players are cosying up to the idea of having trees,” Mumbai-based landscape architect Kunal Maniar said.
Maniar explained that in a place like Mumbai, where space is a major constraint, smart landscaping is one of the key factors that lends a distinct look to a residential project. In fact, he feels that developers, who are building premium residential projects, are okay with loosening their purse strings for the landscaping part.
Industry estimates suggest that in developed countries, around 5% of the project cost is used in landscaping while in India, it is less than 1%.
Ramdev pointed out that most developers prefer trees from foreign countries to be transplanted at their project area. His company imports upto 40 feet tall trees from over 25 countries such as Italy, Spain, Australia, Madagascar, Vietnam and Thailand, among others, and many of these are about 500 to 1,200 years old. These trees cost anywhere up to a whopping Rs 12 lakh and the collection includes the likes of olive tree, Yew Pine or Japanese Yew, King Sago Palm, Vietnam Cycad, Quiver Tree, Carob tree and Australian Bottle tree, among others.
“In the last one year, I have seen builders from the city as well as other parts of the country taking keen interest in trees. Earlier, most of my customers were HNIs (High Networth Individuals). One of the reasons, developers are now willing to spend on these trees is that these trees can become the USP of their project. This apart, there is not much of maintenance required for the upkeep of these trees as they mainly belong to the tropical countries and can be easily acclimatised to the Indian climate,” he said, adding that his traditional customers have been HNIs that includes an illustrious list of buyers such as Navjot Singh Sidhu, Shahrukh Khan and Navin Jindal, among others.
Thanks to the new breed of buyers, Unique Tree is eyeing at pocketing revenues worth Rs 22 crore this financial year as against Rs 14.5 crore last fiscal.
Credits ET Realty