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5 Best Details – Rooftop Terrace

These details can make all the difference when designing your rooftop terrace. 

We love the challenge of designing for a Rooftop Terrace!  Similar to a landscape, each rooftop is unique given their position (exposure) to the elements sun, shade, wind, water and neighboring buildings.  Below we highlight the top 6 picks to think about when creating your rooftop getaway.

1.  Incorporate large Planters. Large planters will support large plants…and smaller plants.  It’s the large plants that need the soil volume to survive the hot summer and cold winters.  The best and most flexible size planters are 30” long, 24” wide and  24 high”.  For large ornamental trees that you can stand under, the container will need to be even larger.

2.  Include Optimum Lighting Properly done lighting should provide dimmable settings, emphasize sculptural or dramatic surfaces, light from multiple directions(layers), and never shine in your eyes. When lighting is well done, it can actually create a sense of privacy by drawing your eyes away from a neighboring window and onto the illuminated terrace plants, sculpture or focal point.

3.  Select Functional Furniture.  Select furniture you love that fits your space and holds up to the outdoor climate. Include several options for seating, not just the dining table and 5 chairs. Add benches, stools, chaise lounge chair, and cushioned chairs. Use pieces that are multi-functional and don’t crowd the space.  Be sure to select fabric for the outdoors that won’t show dirt and can be secured so it won’t move with the wind. Use color, you will appreciate it in the winter.

4.  Incorporate a Water Element. Small or large, a water feature will provide sound and visual interest. Although they require some maintenance, it is minor. The serene sound will be welcome when you have downtime and you want to break up the “white noise” prevalent on most rooftops.

5.  Create Shade. Don’t block city views or morning sun but consider having permanent or retractable shade elements. You will appreciate it during the late afternoon or mid-day in August. This can take the form of retractable umbrellas/awnings, a solid canopy, or ornamental trees.  A shade structure can define a sitting space on the rooftop, offer to screen neighboring buildings, and support down lighting.

BONUS *  Feature a Fire Table. We could sit around a fire table day and night…and many mornings.  Like great food, a well-designed gas fire table brings people together. And if there is a little chill, they stay longer.  If you can direct pipe the gas you should, 120k to 150k BTU is perfect for most tables that gather 3 to 6 people. Select a burner made of brass or stainless steel especially if you are near salt water.

To view more of our rooftop projects 

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