Roof terraces are becoming increasingly popular on top of urban buildings, as a way of creating ‘green’ space where there wouldn’t otherwise be any. In urban areas, land is expensive and roofs were previously left unused and wasted. Rooftop gardens can have breathtaking views wherever they’re situated, but especially in cities where you can see the city sprawling below and feel on top of the world!
Photo credit: Tomisti, photo from Wikimedia Commons.
So Is A Rooftop Terrace Suitable For Your Home?
Creating a garden space where there previously wasn’t one can be enough of a daunting task at ground level, let alone on top of your home. But putting some detailed thought into how it will be created and how you’d like it to look will ensure it’s done safely and to a high quality.
If you have a flat roof which can take a load then you could start a rooftop garden right away, all you need to think about is access and planning permission. If you have a window looking out onto the roof then this is perfect, it can be replaced with a door and you can simply walk out onto your terrace. Otherwise you’ll have to think about creating stairs or another form of access.
Even if your roof is not perfect it can be adapted, supports can be added in order to take the load of a garden and people. Even sloped roofs can be adapted by flattening a part of it.
Depending on the size of your home and the regulations regarding home improvements you may need planning permission to create a rooftop terrace, so you should talk to your local council or a professional about this.
How Much Will It Cost?
A rooftop garden could potentially have a fairly low cost if the only adaptations are some plants, seating and roof access. On the other hand, a roof terrace could require major structural work, meaning it would cost a considerable amount. It’s hard to tell how much a rooftop garden will cost to construct without proper assessment of the area, but chances are that it will pay for itself in the long-term. A home can be worth between 10 and 25% more once a rooftop terrace is completed!
Plants that would grow in an ordinary garden may not grow well on a rooftop. Hardy plants are recommended for a rooftop garden due to their ability to survive in unfavourable conditions. If a rooftop is exposed and has high winds you may want to try planting grasses and bamboo plants. Alternately if a roof is sheltered, Mediterranean plants may be ideal. You could try olive trees or even orange trees.
Many rooftop terraces use solid seating which is joined with the wall. If you decide to go for portable wooden furniture, then it is advisable to go for something lightweight, so as not to put any unnecessary weight on the roof.