Important Things to Consider When Designing a Rooftop Garden

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Important Things to Consider When Designing a Rooftop Garden

A rooftop garden is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the outdoors whilst maximising your access to valuable outdoor space in our built up urban environment. Whether it be picking herb garden, tranquil reteat or a terrace to sip Pimms with a City view a roof terrace can add much needed space and value to a small site.


At NTF Architecture we believe a rooftop garden are a fantastic way to add some green space to an urban area adding additional recreation and private open space in some of Melbourne’s more built up areas. Not only do they look great, but they can also help to improve air quality and provide insulation for the building below whilst in some instances gaining stunning views of the coast or City skyline. However, before you go about designing your ideal rooftop terrace garden, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration.



The first thing you need to consider is how you want to use your rooftop garden. Do you want it to be a place to relax and unwind? Or do you want it to be more functional, like a kitchen garden where you can grow your own herbs and vegetables? Once you know how you want to use your garden, you can start planning accordingly.



Another important factor to consider is climate. If you live in an area with harsh winters, your rooftop garden will need to be able to withstand strong winds and freezing temperatures. Conversely, if you live in a hot climate, your garden will need to be able to withstand high temperatures and direct sunlight. In Melbourne a rooftop garden can provide a much-needed insulation layer to protect the floors below from hot summer days however this means the plant species selected needs to be tough and durable and largely drought tolerant.


Sun exposure

Another important factor to consider is sun exposure. Depending on the location of your building, your rooftop garden may get full sun all day long or it may only get a couple hours of sun each day - this will affect what kinds of plants will thrive in your garden. For example, if your garden gets full sun all day long, succulents and cacti would be good choices since they don't require much water. But if your garden only gets a couple hours of sun each day, shade-loving plants like ferns would be better choices.


Weight restrictions

Finally, remember that rooftops typically have weight restrictions since they're not designed to support heavy loads. This means that you'll need to choose lightweight materials for both your plants and any hardscaping features like paving stones or decking material. Also keep in mind that large plants will require larger pots which will add more weight to your roof. So, if weight is a concern, stick with smaller plants or install planters that can be easily moved if necessary.


Choose the right plants

As we touched on earlier, one of the most important things to consider when designing your rooftop garden is which plants you'll use - not all plants are created equal when it comes to rooftop gardening. You'll need to choose plants that can tolerate the harsh conditions found on most rooftops: high winds, intense sunlight, and limited water and soil. Fortunately, there are many drought-tolerant plants that will thrive in these conditions - some of our favourites include lavender, rosemary, and sedum.

A rooftop garden is the perfect place to relax and maximise your available private open space. To make your space extra inviting, don't forget to add some comfortable furniture. A few well-placed chairs or a small table will transform your garden into a cosy outdoor retreat.


Ready to get started?

As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when designing a rooftop garden. But as long as you take these factors into account, you're sure to end up with a beautiful and enjoyable space that meets all your needs! With a little planning, you can create a beautiful rooftop garden that will be the envy of all your friends (and maybe even your neighbours).

For help bringing your perfect modern rooftop terrace garden design to life, speak to the team at NTF Architecture. We specialise in innovative residential, commercial, multi-residential and townhouse architectural design.

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