Ever found yourself cooped up in your city apartment or villa, yearning for that breath of fresh air and nature you find in the countryside? Alternatively, more often than not, you catch yourself staring into the landscape desktop wallpaper you aptly chose, hoping to create a state of Zen every time you look at it. Well, look no further, because your own private haven awaits you right in the luxury of your own home.
The terrace is the one space in any building that ends up being the scapegoat of the construction sphere. Besides being the last entity to be built, it often is left for the numerous building services that furniture, the dead weight of these items can have a huge impact on the rest of building. In addition, considering this is a space you will want to entertain in at some point or the other, you are definitely looking at a few live loads being added on occasionally, as well. That being said, while most buildings are always structurally designed with a factor of safety, which usually allows the building to take up to one or two of its existing floors, it is always wise to check up with your structural engineer if the same holds good. In the absence of a structural engineer or structural drawings, there are agencies existing in the city that will audit the structural integrity of the building for you. Get a nod from this angle, and your good to go!
Keep it Airy
A terrace being a terrace is generally open and breezy; however, with the ambition of creating your ideal terrace space, one can quite easily get tempted into ‘over-building’, thus resulting in taking away the openness from the whole equation. That being said, ensure the design philosophy stays true to its identity and maintains as little built forms and visual barricades. For instance, replacing the regular parapet with a transparent glass handrail will give the space a sense of expanse. Of course, if prying eyes are a concern among the neighbourhood, avoid this tip and add all the visual barriers required for you to enjoy this space.
Raised Planter Beds
Raised beds are a very easy method of creating a flow to your terrace space. By adding raised beds, not only are you creating pockets for planting your landscape, but also defining the circulation around the terrace. Ensure you plan this well, as this will be one of the immovable components of the space. Besides this, planters also allow you to give optimum soil cover and depth to some of those larger varieties of trees that cannot be grown in a pot. It also creates interesting pockets to sit around. At about 2 feet deep and wide, your raised bed would be a great size. In them, you can even grow tall shrubs and small trees, and with regular maintenance, pruning, and root trimming every few years, you can you can control the plants. have not been already planned for. When it comes to designing a rooftop garden, the sky is the limit! With a bit of planning and careful consideration for regular building loads and services, you can very easily have a gorgeous rooftop patio within a very reasonable budget.
Primarily, one of the most important aspects to keep in mind is – Will the building take it? Remember, even if you plan to add potted plants and a few pieces of Ensure you add a waterproofing membrane at the bottom to ensure all the water is drained out to the correct location and does not stagnate into the roof slab. Another tip would be to raise the entire bed off the ground by a few inches, thereby ensuring the roots of the larger trees do not penetrate the structure.
Picking the right material palette for the terrace garden is very important. Whilst a large chunk of the mood board already comprises the blue skies and green landscapes, the rest of the material palette is to your disposal. Be sure to pick a subtle palette of not more than 2 or 3 materials. The flooring has a huge part to play here and you do not necessarily require to stick to one material. Mixing textures along the floor could add interest to the overall space. For the rest, be true to the material palette. Use natural materials as much as possible and ones that age well. Avoid plastics that can fade into the pale shades we all know them to. Lastly, use materials and elements that will make it your own.
A Focal Point
Every great design has a focal point. It can range from a waterfall element to a larger-than-life tree! Having a focal point allows the space to get celebrated and talked about, as it attracts attention. Anything can be a focal point. Just be sure to keep it simple and elegant, and in tune with the rest of the design palette. A water feature, tall tree, beautiful arrangement of container plants, or even a statue will do the trick
Add a Mix of Plants
Ensure a great mix of plants and trees adorns your terrace space. Combining landscapes is an art by itself. Get professional advice on this if you are a novice. A well-balanced mix of plants can really bring the space to life. From low shrubs to tall trees; movable flowering pots to built-in hedge beds, the breaking of monotony will create immense interest in the terrace space.
Add Furniture and Lighting
Lastly, what brings the whole space to life is the furniture and lights. Decide in advance what kind of furniture you would like to purchase. Is the terrace space a casual lounging space or are you looking at having your meals here? Accordingly, the furniture that needs to be added here will play a very important role. In addition, and needless to say, the furniture should complement the rest of the space and the other way around.
Lighting can be another best seller. From wall washers to bollards, adding the right amount of light by using the correct light fixtures is very important to create the correct ambience. Too much light will harm the vibes, while too less light will render the space unusable. Getting the right balance between the two is of the utmost importance.
These basic parameters will surely help in sprucing up your terrace space. Besides having this beautiful space to enjoy, the feeling of seeing a living form come to life over time is truly overwhelming and satisfying. On a well-planned urban rooftop garden, everything is possible, and in my experience, it will be an overall lifestyle game changer.