7 Roof Terrace Ideas

Roof terrace ideas, rewarding recreation of outdoor space

Posted: 12/12/2016 in Garden Design

Roof terraces offer breathtaking views, and a rewarding recreation of outdoor space, especially for urban environments pressed for scope and greenery. A lovely rooftop retreat doubles as an outdoor room for relaxation and entertainment and increases property values on an existing area.

Green benefits are plentiful as well - planting helps reduce air pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide, and catches stormwater runoff, helping prevent flooding. Roof gardens can save on energy bills, too, insulating buildings from the cold during winter and lowering temperatures in summer.  See more examples of roof terrace design.

Carving out a sanctuary in the sky is an exciting design challenge, full of imaginative possibilities. A lush garden with small trees and shrubs provides uplifting greenery and ample screening for privacy. An open plan, meanwhile, reaches out into the horizon, giving small terraces the illusion of big space. Focal points, which can range from stunning water features, shade sails and statues to fire pits, cantilevered benches and beautifully laid-out planting on bespoke raised beds or attractive containers, draw the eye to certain areas, defining or enhancing the character of the space. A play of materials can be used to add texture and create appealing zones.

Structural issues need peculiar attention. The weight-bearing capacity of the roof must be considered, especially for older buildings. Materials such as lightweight wood can take the stress off the roof structure. Flat roofs are ideal for roof terraces, but aslant roofs can be evened by building up an external wall. Harsher sun and wind conditions impact the choice of plants, which need to withstand exposure to the elements. Olive trees are popular rooftop options, adding elegance to their slim structures, to the design while being extremely drought-resistant. We don't recommend large-leaved plants for windy terraces. Instead, plants with smaller leaves sustain less wind damage.

We're excited to present you a variety of roof terrace ideas from our extensive portfolio of rooftop projects:

Roof Terrace Design St Johns Wood North London
Designed by The Garden Builders

A remarkable transformation of a long and narrow space into a beautifully conceived roof terrace inspired by the light and shadow plays of the South African savanna of the client's childhood. To emulate the spectacular silhouettes of architectural trees amidst the bush fires and golden sunsets of the tropical grasslands, the outside fire had a dramatic, tree-etched Corten steel panel that served as the terrace's focal point, creating a fiery tree display as the dancing flames flickered against the sprawling branches of the tree etching. Small trees and grasses on sleek planters further reflected the savanna theme. 

The narrow space was livened by a succession of different textures. The Corten steel and the dark charred driftwood that clad the external walls beautifully complemented each other, while the contrasting pebble-bordered turf and the porcelain flooring provided interesting surface variations. The terrace retained a natural feel despite the use of artificial grass, artificial decking and even an artificial green wall. 

Roof Terrace Design Kings Cross
Designed by Pippa Martlew

With breathtaking views of Central London, this roof terrace served as the perfect outdoor room for the client's relaxation and entertainment needs. Warm wood evoked an atmosphere of relaxed urban living, through the raised cedar deck seating area, with built-in storage benches and planters featuring a variety of evergreen shrubs. A small contrasting area of flooring was paved with sawn stone bordered with smooth cobbles to break up the expanse of decking.
Roof Terrace Design Kings Cross 2
Designed by Pippa Martlew

The minimal planting and built-in seating created ample open space. A second, more sheltered area, near the house, was used for dining and entertainment. Strategic lighting transformed the terrace at night, provided by LED strip lighting under the edge of the raised deck as well as down lights on the walls and spotlights in the planting. 

Roof Terrace Design with artificial lawn
Designed & photo by Katharina Nikl Landscapes

A vibrant living and entertainment space, with a recreational putting area, this terrace featured extensive ipe decking, which gave the large outdoor room a cosy feel. Wicker and wooden furniture heightened the relaxed character of the space, while a long, floating bench ran along the external wall. 
Roof Terrace with artificial lawn
Designed by Katharina Nikl Landscapes

The surrounding planting was a mix of evergreen shrubs, perennials and climbers. Daffodils, snowdrops and mixed tulip bulbs brightened the planting scheme, providing a cheerful contrast to the downsized olive trees. The artificial lawn served as both putting green and lounging area. 

Roof Garden Design Kinsington
Designed by Andy Sturgeon

Timber and planting were the two most important elements that created this simple yet sophisticated outdoor room in the sky. Timber decking created a simple, unifying element to the design, which was accentuated by raised beds planted with a broad range of succulents that added a perky element to the design. The built-in bench inlaid with turf also served as a base for the centrepiece sculpture.

Roof Terrace Design Knightsbridge
Designed by Andy Sturgeon

Combining brick and metal, this roof terrace elegantly fused classic and contemporary elements to create a sophisticated outdoor space. A stunning limestone circular fire table was complemented by a bespoke curving bench of hardwood and steel. 
Roof Terrace Design Knightsbridge 2
Designed by Andy Sturgeon

Metallic curved benches and a tubular sculpture added playful, modern touches. The planting consisted of structural and perennial plants. Strategic lighting was placed within the planting to create beautiful nighttime effects.

Roof Terrace Design in Shoreditch
Designed by The Garden Builders

This chic, L-shaped penthouse combined sleek and quirky elements to create a dynamic rooftop environment for relaxation and entertainment. Lightweight cedar decking contrasted with porcelain tiles for surface texture. Brightly-coloured, handmade, cutout steel planters were commissioned, with sections integrated with Balau timber for additional seating. The LPG fire table provided a sophisticated focal point.
Roof Terrace Design Shoreditch 2
Designed by The Garden Builders

The planting, a mix of seasonal and screening low-maintenance plants, was carefully chosen to withstand the harsher rooftop conditions. Spike lights up-lit the taller plants and LED lighting accented the cutout planters. Polished white cobbles at the base of the planters reflected the LED, creating a mesmerising effect at night. 

Multi Level roof design 
Designed by The Garden Builders

The long, narrow shape of this roof terrace was disguised by an organic, multi-levelled design using lightweight cedar decking and centrepiece curved sail shades in blue and white, which also provided shelter from the wind and sun. 

Artworks and the tall planters created interesting detail. The planters had false bottoms to keep the load off the terrace.