Roof Gardens

Bermondsey Roof Terrace

Designed by Robin McAfee & constructed by The Garden Builders

Bermondsey roof terrace Southwark in South London

The roof terrace is on the top of a building that was previously Bermondsey Town Hall. A Grade II Listed Building it has recently been divided into apartments. The splendour of the building has been maintained and combined with an upscale modern finish.

The roof terrace belongs to the penthouse apartment and the brief was to create a contemporary roof terrace designed to be used as work area in the daytime and for socialising and relaxation in the evening. The client wanted a low maintenance and luxurious garden. The garden also had to have a "wow" factor and to frame the 360-degree view of the City.

We chose Ipe hardwood decking and accelerated the weathering process with a wood treatment that made it a soft, even silver almost instantly. The deck pattern included different directions and angles to add interest and reinforce the different "rooms" in the design.

Socialising was an important part of the brief so it was necessary to create different areas for relaxation. There was a dining area with a large table for eating and work, a living room area with a corner sofa and plug sockets to enable movie nights. The kitchen module incorporates a BBQ, fridge and an instant hot water tap for tea. Most of the furniture was from Caneline and is contemporary but relaxed. The colour scheme for this was grey, with white and turquoise accents to compliment the client's apartment. Two large parasols provide shelter from the elements - they have large bases to withstand the wind.

The apartment opens onto a little lower terrace which we used to give the client an opportunity to plant colourful seasonal bedding. The spiral staircase that connects you to the upper terrace was a dull metal colour and dark at night. To make it safe at night and to create a focal point it was painted black and LED strip lighting fixed under each step. The result is simple but dramatic.

When you reach the top of the staircase you first enter the bar and kitchen area - an L-shaped granite worktop with BBQ roof terrace design. This is where guests arrive and collect drinks before moving on into the garden. It's also the main storage area in the garden for the Wifi hub, SONOS sound system, and irrigation timer.

The planting scheme was Mediterranean in order to withstand the full sun and winds and provide evergreen structures all year round. Five Olive trees create with Rosmarinus prostratus at their base soften the urban landscape beyond. Rectangular blocks of Prunus lusitanica provide furtner structure and protection from the winds. The "borders" contain three different types of Lavender, Verbena bonariensis "Lollipop" to provide a long season of interest, delightful Sea Holly and White Sedum. The planting palette is white, blue or purple.

The planters are a convincing faux lead and the pure white gravel mulch at the base of the plants reflects the bright light of the Mediterranean, conserves water and enhances the shape of the plants.