Modern city living often means making the most of any available outdoor space. With many of us living in apartments which have little access to a garden at ground-floor level, we often want to create a green, outdoor space high up on a roof or terrace.
At Hampstead Garden Design we love the challenge that roof garden design presents. We are happy to discuss with you exactly what you want to get from the roof space and we are also able to advise on the many practicalities which you need to consider when planning your roof garden.
What are the unique features and challenges that need consideration in roof garden design:
Hampstead Garden Design has developed many wonderful high-rise outdoor spaces and with our experience of designing roof gardens, can help you with all the features and challenges of yours. Having had the initial idea and seen the potential of an outdoor area becoming a roof garden reality, there are some practical considerations.
Lack of soil: Being at the top of a building will usually mean that the planting needs to be in planters, pots or toughs or specially built areas which are then ﬁlled with the planting medium. We generally recommend that planters are created using a good quality grp (glass reinforced plastic) which is extremely light weight and perfect for a roof terrace.
Considerations of the building structure: The weight of soil, planters and plants, all add to the structural load of the building and can be very heavy when saturated with rainwater or snow. A well-designed roof garden will consider the structural restrictions and we always recommend that clients take advice from a structural engineer.
Planning permission: It may not be your ﬁrst thought, but often you will need planning permission to create a roof garden. It is a good idea to contact your local planning department for advice, before you begin any works.
Safety: Due to the height of a roof garden, it is important to consider whether any walls, railings or balustrades on the perimeter will meet health and safety standards. Again, it is important to take advice from your local planning department on planning and building regulations.
Views: It is a good idea to consider whether your potential roof garden has attractive views. Is the space overlooked from neighbouring buildings and if so, are you able to create some privacy using planting or screening?
Sun and wind and exposure: Being high up, roof gardens are often more exposed to the wind and heat of the sun. A well-designed roof garden will consider these challenges and will plan planting which can cope with hot and dry conditions.
Access to the roof garden: You will need to consider how the roof garden will be accessed, both during construction works and when the garden is completed. Can any necessary materials and plants be easily carried up to the roof terrace or will a crane be necessary? Will the garden be easy to access and enjoy once it has been created?
Water supply and use: Many roof gardens will include an irrigation system in the design for plant watering. In order to minimise the amount of water needed, it is a good idea to use plants which thrive in hot and dry climates, such as plants from Mediterranean areas.
Long term maintenance: Roof gardens are usually only accessible through the building, so it is important to consider the long-term maintenance of the garden space and how garden waste will be removed.
Other things that are worth considering when planning your perfect roof garden design:
Who will be using the roof garden? Just you, your children and family pets or will it be a communal space for other people in the building as well?
What would you like to include in your roof garden? – Do you need an area for dining or outdoor sofas, storage for garden tools and furniture cushions, a play area for the children or possibly even a space for keeping a bee hive?
How much time do you have to look after or maintain the roof garden?
Will the space be left for extended periods of time? If this is the case you may want to arrange maintenance and an irrigation system to water the plants will be especially useful.
What is the best view from the roof garden? Being high up you have an opportunity to gain a new and unique view of your surroundings
Hampstead Garden Design: Perfect Roof Gardens and Terraces in London
If you are considering developing a roof garden or you have a roof garden that you would like to redesign, we love to talk your ideas through with you
Penthouse & Roof garden designs completed for clients.
Contemporary Marylebone Roof Terrace
Our garden loving clients asked us to design a roof terrace for their chic Marylebone town house appartment. Additional privacy is created using bespoke contemporary slatted screens. Light weight, lead look planters provide ample planting opportunities, without compromising the integrity of the roof structure. The mediterranean style planting is wind and drought tolerant and thrives in this hot and sunny space.
Finchley Roof Terrace Garden Design
This roof top apartment boasts a large outdoor terrace, previously a little dated in style. We were enlisted to design a new roof garden terrace to complement the owners' impressive new extension. Porcelain tiled flooring is used both inside and out to blend the two spaces and light weight bespoke planters were commissioned for the new drought tolerant planting.