How to Design a Roof Terrace for Best use.

If you’re a landscape architect currently pouring over designs for an urban commercial or residential development, one of your challenges is likely to be how to create an inspirational outdoor living space on a roof terrace. The health benefits of outdoor space are plentiful and even with a small terrace, you can create something amazing.

Keep in mind these key design elements to help you get the most out of your available space.

Keep it simple

Sometimes less really is more, and it’s certainly the case for roof terraces. Putting too much into the design can make the space feel small. A sleek and simple linear layout with interesting features set off with contemporary material finishes really gives a wow factor. Popular choices right now are polished stone, rendered walls, and Corten steel. If you’re after a more traditional feel, woven hazel or clay pavers are perfect.

Enjoy the view

Plan your layout to make the most of a good view (or to draw attention away from a bad one!). Beautiful, serene cityscapes or green views can be framed with tall planters and pergolas, or perhaps pencil junipers. Double aspect or 365-degree views are enjoyed best with cleverly located seating such as snaking benches.

Read more: Do's and Don’ts of Roof Terrace Design.

Porcelain Tiles and Benches at 60 London Wall

Lighten up

Outdoor lighting can be very effective in a rooftop garden. Creating a calming atmosphere can support wellbeing and provide a link to nature. If you’re on a rooftop terrace, it’s important to bear this in mind when specifying products. Avoid designs that are lightweight and flimsy, which could be broken or dangerous in strong winds.

Built-in wall lights provide mood lighting and can also act as a safety feature. You can still create a dreamy free-flowing space with lights inset into decking steps or in planters to highlight plants or walkways. Alfresco dining areas also look amazing with the addition of lighting.

Lighting Detail on a Steel Planter at 116 Old Street

Create seamless indoor to outdoor living

If your living space opens up to your outdoor terrace, you can make the landscape feel part of the building. Choose doors that fully open and specify matching inside and outside tiles to project the idea of one big outdoor area. Even a small area can feel big and be multi-functional for entertaining, recreation and providing a stunning view.

Use a little imagination

Put your stamp on the development with your choice of surface finishes and colour schemes. If you want to blend into the landscape, choose similar colours and patterns to surrounding buildings and features. Or if you want to stand out, mix up your design.

Be brave. There are endless design possibilities made simple with the Raaft Terrace System. You can incorporate porcelain tiles, Class A fire rated decking, planters, benches and artificial grass, resin bound gravel, and much more, all on one support structure. So the design you visualise can actually be made possible.