Urban trend: Rooftop gardens

Urban real estate is extremely desirable for numerous reasons, from its proximity to cultural attractions to its convenience for conducting business. One area in which such exclusive properties have, in the past, occasionally lacked is outdoor space. However, the growing trend for rooftop gardens is steadily changing this.  

Rooftop Garden in The Loop, Downtown ChicagoThese metropolitan green areas have been fashionable with commercial establishments for some time – open-air cocktail bars with panoramic views are easy to find in London and New York. Such spaces are now progressing into the domestic sphere, creating secluded, lush spaces across city skylines. Having long been celebrated for their agricultural and ecological benefits, rooftop gardens are now a key attraction for the urban homeowner.

Sorting the practicalities 

If you are thinking about adding one to your property, the first point to consider is the practicality of converting your roof space. Ask your architect or building contractor to assess the stability and strength of the roof, and whether it will withstand the pressure of the soil in the long term. A professional landscaper will then be able to advise you on how to best utilise the area, as well as ensuring any safety features are incorporated seamlessly into the garden’s aesthetic. 

Another practical factor is maintenance; larger or more complex spaces will require regular upkeep, and so you may wish to look into hiring a gardener. If you would prefer a low-maintenance outdoor space, be sure to instruct your landscaper to cater to that in the plans. 

Choosing your aesthetic

This urban trend lends itself to purist design, with a strong focus on natural materials. To channel the rural spirit into a city space, consider incorporating polished stone, hard-wearing wood and elegant water features into your garden. The local environment can also be an excellent source of inspiration. An English country garden with rambling roses and white wrought iron furniture would be charming in London, while hanging vines and rustic seating are ideal for evoking a Spanish feel. 

Whatever aesthetic you choose, it’s important to consider what you will be using your rooftop garden for when planning. If you intend to host dinner parties there, you may wish to commission a bespoke table and chairs set to suit your space. You could create a distinct dining ‘zone’ through architectural features, such as decking or a trellis. Alternatively, your rooftop garden could be reserved for personal relaxation, complete with a Jacuzzi and opulently upholstered recliners. 

Finding alternative locations

If you don’t have access to the roof but would like to expand your city space, you can easily adapt this concept. Both compact and generous balconies can be converted into inviting outdoor areas using potted plants, climbing foliage and bistro sets.  

To view exclusive penthouse properties incorporating this innovative garden feature, or ones that are ideally appointed for such an addition, visit Engel & Völkers. With shops in 39 countries around the world, our portfolio of luxury real estate is sure to include the perfect home for you.

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