Designs With Altitude

A rooftop or balcony garden can create valuable living space outdoors, but making the most of what can be a small area can be challenging. Here are some factors to consider.

  • Consult a structural engineer who can conduct a thorough roof inspection and make recommendations on what you can and can't do.
  • Plants, hardscape materials and furnishings can be an extension of the decorating theme already going on inside.
  • Create a user-friendly design.
  • Hide unsightly scenes, like pipes, walls and industrial parks, and create privacy with a screen of plant material, a self-supporting trellis with climbing vines or an overhead structure like a pergola or shade sails.
  • Not only will these structures provide shade, they'll also create a privacy screen from neighbors.
  • Mask noisy sounds with a water feature or grasses.
  • Light up your rooftop getaway.
  • Use lightweight furnishings, like teak furniture, polypropylene carpet, ipe decking and other materials.
  • Use plants that are hardy to one zone lower than yours. They'll be more likely to survive the rooftop winter conditions.
  • Use small-scale furniture.

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