The average rooftop terrace is likely to be on the small side so anything you can do to give the impression of greater space is a plus. That is just what these nine design tricks are intended to do. This is a survey of rooftop gardens in cities from San Francisco to Paris showing different ideas on how to make the most of a restricted space. These design tricks are described in an article by Lauren Dunec Hoang which I found on the Houzz website.
With a few clever strategies, such as expanding planting, screening adjacent buildings and maximizing outdoor living space, rooftop terraces can feel larger and more secluded than they really are. Let’s take a look at rooftop gardens, perched in cities from San Francisco to Paris, that offer design ideas to make the most of an elevated urban terrace.
1. Treat your rooftop like an outdoor living room. This stylish indoor-outdoor Parisian rooftop terrace has all the trappings and comforts of a living room inside the house, such as cushy furniture, wall art and lighting. For your own terrace, try seeing the space as though it were a room inside, and imagine how you would arrange it — likely more lavishly than a room outdoors.
While not all decor makes sense outside, investing in comfortable outdoor furniture and adding details such as an outdoor rug, potted plants, a shade structure or umbrella, and lighting will make the space all the more inviting.
2. Grow a green screen. To make your rooftop feel more like a secluded garden retreat and less like a fishbowl, invest in screens, fences and planters, and grow vines and shrubs to block views of adjacent buildings. In this London terrace the designer used a wooden lattice fence to provide support for a leafy screen of confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides; USDA Zone 8; find your zone), screening nearby buildings and perfuming the terrace with a citrusy-sweet fragrance.
Go a step further and cover an area of the rooftop with a pergola or shade sail. You’ll benefit from both the shade and the added sense of privacy from neighbors’ windows.3. Add softness. Make a rooftop of any size seem more inviting by arranging a scattering of brightly colored weatherproof pillows and laying down outdoor rugs to soften the floor. The informal setup would encourage you and your family or friends to use the terrace as a summer hangout.