If you live in an urban space, like one of the UK’s many beautiful cities – you might have the opportunity to transform a balcony or roof space in a beautiful roof garden. There’s nothing quite like the welcome oasis of a roof garden – hidden from the hustle and bustle, but still looking over the other rooftops and chimneys.
Your roof terrace should feel like a hidden hideaway, a beautiful oasis of calm and relaxation, away from the busy city down below – and hopefully this blog post will help you create your ideal rooftop space.
Tip 1: Remember how much space you have
Usually, rooftop gardens tend to be on the small side, and they’re generally smaller than most traditional gardens. This doesn’t have to be a negative (you can still be smart about how you use the space you have!) but it’s worth remembering that you’ll need to consider the space you have, and how best to use it.
For example, big bulky furniture might not be ideal in a small space, so you might want to look into garden furniture that can be folded down (like deckchairs!) so that you can tailor your space depending on the people relaxing there. Invest in 4 amazing chairs, but only have 2 of them out and ready. That way you can have lots of room to move around the majority of the time, and you only need to bring out the additional furniture when you have guests over.
Tip 2: Keep it simple at first
When you’re working with a smaller space, don’t rush into packing too much in there all at once. Make changes and adjustments bit by bit and let yourself consider the space and what you really need up there. A lot of people rush into getting lots of plants, furniture, BBQ gadgets and decorations – only to realise that the wind blows decorations around, or they actually don’t like the fuss of BBQ’ing on the roof. Keep it simple at first, learn to live with the space, and then gradually add things in when you realise you want and need them. It’ll save you a lot of hassle, but also a lot of money!
Tip 3: It’s all about comfort
For most people, a roof garden is all about relaxation and calm – so comfort is going to be a big box you need to tick when choose items. It’s also worth thinking about flooring too – choose a nice gentle outdoor flooring (like the resin we offer here at SureSet) over gravel or stones – because then you can enjoy walking around barefoot. Little things like this that make your comfort a priority, will really change how you enjoy the space and how often you use it too.
Tip 4: Consider your schedule and lifestyle
Whilst it’s amazing to have a beautiful roof garden filled with amazing plants and flowers – you do need to carefully consider whether or not you have time to maintain them. Plants and flowers need love and TLC (especially in the summer) – so if you travel a lot of business, or you’re not into gardening that much, it might be worth looking at fake flowers and plants instead. It’s not a bad thing to buy fake! It’s better than wasting money on real ones, and then having them wilt and die within weeks.
Tip 5: Get yourself some shade
The tricky thing about roof garden is the lack of shade. Whilst sitting in the blaring sunshine will feel like a novelty for a few days – you’ll soon be craving a bit of shady solace too. Putting in a shaded area doesn’t need to be difficult, it could be as simple as adding in a canvas canopy over the sitting area, inspired by the beautiful rooftop gardens you find in Marrakech. Always be extra careful with umbrellas if you live on a high rise – unless you have very heavy weights to hold it down in windy weather!
Tip 6: Think about your privacy
Privacy might not be an issue for you if your rooftop is one of the highest around. But if it isn’t, the chances are, your rooftop may be overlooked by other people’s rooftops, or apartments. Because of this, it’s always nice to add some decorations to the rooftop garden that can also act as a privacy screen too. Tall plants work amazing for this, as does tall fencing or subtle bamboo fencing. We’ve seen beautiful rooftop gardens with greenery growing over the wooden shade canopy – and these work amazingly well for privacy (and they look fantastic too).
Tip 7: Get input
If colours and decor isn’t your ‘thing’ then why not get friends and family to give you their input on the design? If you have a friend of family member who has an amazing garden, get them to come and take a look at your roof garden and give you some ideas. Sometimes it helps to get a fresh perspective on things so you can really explore all the options and get creative. Sometimes people will have completely out-of-the-box ideas that make you see the space in a whole new way – and it’s those kinds of transformations that will make the space live up to its potential.