Roof garden designs are big news in the world of landscape architecture and design. As developers and urban designers look up to the sky for the last remaining spaces for landscape, some truly inspiring designs have incorporated the most innovative landscaping materials to produce public spaces and roof terraces that take the inner city dweller to a whole new realm of greenery and nature.
2014 saw the number of roof garden design rocket with a number of high-profile designs achieving media coverage. Controversially by some, loved by others, London’s Sky Garden, a roof garden design within the Walkie Talkie building, incorporates landscapes that make the visitor feel as though they have walked over the brow of a hill to see the impressive London cityscape open up before them. Another roof garden design that made the press at the University of Greenwich, which unveiled 14 new roof garden designs within a purpose-built campus that provide outdoor spaces for students and academics. Another high-profile roof garden revealed late last year was the iconic Battersea Power Station whose design comprises a 355-metre long landscaped roof garden space that was designed by the architects behind New York’s High Line.
As reports of the UK’s cities losing more and more of their public spaces come to light, 2015 looks set to truly be the year of the roof garden and the roof terrace, and we should expect to see more and more high-profile, innovative balcony designs throughout the year. Advancements in landscaping materials and landscaping products are one of the pivotal forces behind this trend in landscaping, with innovative products designed and adapted especially for installing where there are no aggregate footings and where drainage and the ability to access flooring exists. An example of this is the ability to install paving and non-slip composite decking in balcony and roof garden designs, thanks to advancements in paving support and decking support pedestals.
Non-slip composite decking retains the natural feel of timber decking to balcony and roof designs, but with the longevity and non-slip qualities of wood-polymer materials. Being much safer and slip-resistant, composite decking resists the elements and requires very little maintenance over the years. Thanks to decking pedestals, composite decking can be installed within pretty much any balcony or roof terrace setting. Adjustable and raised, paving and decking pedestals allow for full drainage of hard surfaces, as well as allowing easy access of cabling or other services running underneath. In addition, aluminium edging designed especially for roof garden designs, such as RoofEdge from ExcelEdge, provides designers and developers with the option to include sharp landscape edging, again, with hard surface drainage fully taken into consideration.
Roof terraces, gardens and balcony designs also have an opportunity to incorporate unlimited measures of greenery too, thanks to Corten steel planters, ranging from small modular planters through to giant planters teaming with greenery. Easy to install and effortless to move, the flexibility that planters, such as the Perimeta range of planters from Kinley Systems, is only limited by the imagination of the landscape architect and designer.
As property prices throughout the UK’s capital continue to rise, roof spaces offer superb opportunities to create outside and public spaces. With 2015 now well underway, we can all look forward to seeing more and more interesting roof garden designs emerging as we approach the summer.