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london private roof terraces

roof terrace blog / lifestyle

design & words Amir Schlezingeramir schlezinger

Thrill of Working High Up

This detailed showcase features private roof terraces we designed and built around Central London. While working in proximity to River Thames, we continually develop our approach to managing complex urban site conditions, finessing roof terrace planters and exploring outdoor lighting alongside ergonomic seating design, where dynamic London locations, supportive clients and the thrill of working high up reinforce our boundless passion for creating progressive roof terrace designs. With immersive landscape photography by world-renowned Marianne Majerus, Clive Nichols and Tim Soar, we take you through these standout roof terrace gardens and their owners' lifestyles.

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1. pimlico 2. chelsea 3. vauxhall 4. grosvenor 5. shoreditch 6. king's cross 7. tempus wharf 8. covent garden 9. london bridge 10. butlers wharf

vauxhall roof garden
bespoke roof terrace chelsea
pimlico rooftop garden

1 pimlico

raising the rooftop

A sequence of four small terraces forms a layer of interconnectivity between this 11th floor penthouse apartment and its London skyline. With the building named after celebrated sculptor Sir Anthony Caro, its limestone elevations and their vast geometric apertures required analogous surfaces and sculptural planters to enhance the views and stone-clad wall textures. We formulated an array of bespoke powder-coated planters, complemented by deeply veined fibre pots. A raised concrete bed floats above a recessed LED light along the main terrace elevation, accentuated by an architectural rooftop design featuring a multi-stemmed sculptural Eucalypt tree and white Vondom furniture.

panoramic perspectives

In a sheltered, subsequent roof terrace, a Japanese maple contrasts enveloping pale stone walls with lush deep crimson foliage, while the study's roof garden terrace forms a welcoming centrepiece facing the apartment's entrance, defined by a tall Windmill palm. The ultimate balcony features easily maintained dainty Libertia grasses in a fitted vase, highlighting the culmination of a sky-high series of roof gardens which frames panoramic perspectives of Grosvenor Canal, Battersea Power Station, Chelsea Embankment and Wembley Stadium.

2 chelsea

kings rooftop terrace

Residing above Stamford Bridge Stadium in Chelsea, our clients enjoy two penthouse terraces within a dual aspect. The south-facing rooftop overlooks Chelsea's football pitch, and produces abundant herbs for the kitchen, as well as Lemon fruits and precious scent. Yet, the roof terrace adjacent to the living room forms an awkward narrow outline, amid a north-facing shaded setting. Existing concrete paving was re-laid at a 40-degree angle in a dynamic layout to instil balance in this triangular rooftop, where we removed a handful of pavers at rhythmic intervals, and enhanced the surface design by integrating distinctive Derbyshire lilac flagstones. The rectangular material extends sense of space, fusing perfectly with a contemporary apartment decor, while a graceful outdoor sculpture created by artist Elliott Brotherton forms a central focal point, depicting an embracing couple.

3 vauxhall

cinematic roof garden

These 220 square metres of pure London bliss form an astounding roof garden atop Bridge House at St George Wharf, above Vauxhall Bridge. Perpetual south-westerly river winds are mighty, while bright sunlight is contrasted with deep shade cast by surrounding buildings. Still, the rooftop's kaleidoscopic Battersea sunsets amplify matchless riverfront panoramas, augmented by a cinematic urban ambience and its authentic Londonesque spirit. The roof garden's design echoes the distinct boatlike silhouette of this colossal riverside development, where expansive decking balances a lofty facade with varying Iroko deck board widths alongside Blanc de Bierges buff concrete pavers.

thames bridges

Three steps lead to an artificial putting green, flanked by custom-built raised beds and spacious rooftop seating. We planted grasses, Euphorbia, Phormium, Rosemary and desert Yucca species to enable continuous views towards surrounding Thames bridges, while tall Box hedging creates a vital wind shield along a dining area. The design's minimalist outline and low-key surface textures accentuate two trios of immense Agave succulents featured in symmetrical curved raised beds, where these glaucous, architectural focal points are displayed at the roof garden's central axis, framing panoramic London views sculpturally, while keying into St George Wharf's turquoise cladding.

4 grosvenor

roof terrace panorama

This Grosvenor Waterside roof terrace features dynamic outdoor lighting which complements a Chelsea Bridge panorama, amid 360-degree views. We embedded LED strip lights in paved surfaces to enhance a directional layout and amplify an entire rooftop design, while merging the terrace's outline with its bridge orientation, the sight of landing aeroplanes towards Heathrow and surrounding linear architecture of the development's satellite buildings. Olive, Pine and Silver birch trees were selected for their ability to thrive in strong winds, sun and pollution, and other than a minimalist surface and bespoke slanting planters to define them, the city vistas which they frame sustain a clear perspective of genius loci. Big Ben appears centred through a spinning London Eye, while Wembley Stadium arch glistens westwards. Battersea Power Station chimneys and Chelsea's Pumping Station tower provide a quintessentially London backdrop.

grosvenor waterside roof terrace
kings cross penthouse terrace
king's cross
shoreditch roof terrace

5 shoreditch

ec2 penthouse terrace

Our client enjoys two spacious terraces either side of his apartment, where curved ceilings, circular skylights and glazed elevations were echoed in a matching narrative, within architectural, minimalist roof terrace designs. The client's penchant with gothic furniture, ethnic artefacts and contemporary art inspired the design process; on the terraces, we removed everything, and started from scratch. The main rooftop was surfaced in Ipe hardwood, complementing the interior's vast Walnut flooring, while merged with granite on the same grid to match the kitchen's layout. We designed a quartet of curved vases, positioned at equal intervals, to accentuate the glass elevation with their burgundy tones, yet retain uninterrupted views. Two trios of tall tapered planters contrast the vases, displaying large Box spheres and framing a terracotta Buddha. On the terrace's far ends, tall Bamboo, featured in recessed troughs, enhances scale, movement and privacy, where refined ambience is accentuated by an LED light afterglow.

6 king's cross

canalside roof terrace

Perched above Battlebridge Basin on Regent's Canal, opposite Kings Place concert hall, this designer rooftop terrace gently curves around a converted penthouse, where a minimalist interior glistens between distinct concrete structures. We navigated the building's curvature by utilising hardwood decking, sizeable sandstone pavers and LED strip lighting – forming a minimalist hard landscape. Yet, the wind tunnel effect, noise and pollution present a daily challenge. For the central focal point, we designed a pair of silky white, custom-made planters softened by sprawling herb clusters, while two multi stem Silver birch trees anchor the roof terrace's corners, producing see-through veils to nearby city landmarks. Resilient Birch foliage thrives in urban roof garden environmental factors, sustaining all-year-round schemes.

7 tempus wharf

roof terrace landscape

Situated near the Design Museum, this roof terrace is positioned snugly atop an intimate, small residential building with the charm of a historic wharf. Located halfway between Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf, the apartment's myriad of landmarks, viewed up-close outside its living room, forms awe-inspiring panoramas within a penthouse featuring roof terraces facing both north and south, connected via a long walkway. Our client sought to raise the riverfront roof terrace height to enjoy continuous Thames vistas, where we created a split-level deck, oriented towards Canary Wharf at a 40-degree angle.

wave-shaped planters

By utilising European Oak to match the apartment's interior flooring, we further detailed three board widths which produce a dynamically random deck sequence, while a duo of custom-designed, curvilinear planters reiterates the Gherkin's unmistakable oval outline. For the south-facing roof terrace, adjoining the master bedroom, we designed three unique wave-shaped planters, tailored to echo essential water ambience in a one-off expressive motif, augmented by Mediterranean flora with Californian lilac, European palm and Southern Magnolia.

8 covent garden

roof garden way of life

This expansive roof garden was designed and built into three distinct spacious areas, where each zone extends functionality and benefits from a unique London landmark vista. BT Tower forms a prominent backdrop across the breakfast spot, while a vivid outdoor kitchen hub presents an immersive London Eye panorama, positioned alongside an artificial grass lounge with a remarkable Nelson's Column perspective. The large roof garden encompasses its apartment's entire footprint, with two further roof terraces enveloping the living room at a lower level. Diverse entertainment zones enable a trendy rooftop ambience, where our clients installed an outdoor surround sound system, kitted up the kitchen, and sourced comfy furniture to maximise alfresco use.

covent garden rooftop design
covent garden
wharf landscape terrace
tempus wharf
southwark city terrace
london bridge

9 london bridge

roof terrace & the city

The SE1 London postcode, following EC1, is one of the most prolific for designing roof terraces, and Bermondsey, Borough, London Bridge and Southwark are right at the heart of it. Antonine Heights in City Walk presents outstanding bird's-eye views of Southwark's emerging lofty architecture, yet, when we first arrived, one aspect was distinctly apparent – the roof terrace's pivotal view is partially obscured by a concrete wall. We designed three pairs of bespoke aperture planters to redefine sense of depth along the perimeter, augmented by subtle LED lighting. Sun-filled elevations were infused with Mediterranean rooftop foliage, where Palm trees and herbs produce wind-resistant clusters, while the front troughs are renewed with fresh bedding displays every year to provide zesty seasonal variations.

10 butlers wharf

These four roof terraces defined a complex project, as access to Shad Thames is restricted and available only at specific times, where each outdoor space in Butlers Wharf's penthouse suites features a unique terrace microclimate. Across the top balcony, a minimalist combo of Irises and Sweet flags provides all-year-round structure amid an up-close Tower Bridge panorama. A shaded rooftop courtyard below is accessed from the master bedroom, designed as a lush atrium. Here, we planted a winter-hardy, subtropical jungle, combining variegated Hostas, Ligularias and Sasa bamboo under vast Tasmanian Tree fern canopies, which conveys sheer contrast to its surrounding city steel fabric with sumptuous leafy terrace planting. An evergreen Clematis climbs an architectural stainless steel frame, producing a verdant backdrop, while a Welsh Oak bespoke bench enfolds a circular concrete table and an opal stone African sculpture.

striking roof terrace vista millennium bridge
millennium bridge
spectacular views thames roof terrace
thames barrier
penthouse roof garden terrace panorama
caro point

– coda –

A Challenging Skyline

Working on roof terraces brings endless fun, be it the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden, the breathtaking Barbican heights, or the verdancy of a sky roof garden overlooking Wandsworth Common. As London's city skyline is continually crowded with new skyscrapers, apartment developments and further monuments, its views gradually redefine a more complex and challenging topography. Still, the wind, heat, shade, pollution and sheer lack of privacy remain paramount liveability factors to consider when creating a roof terrace garden design in London. Crafting these soaring habitats into alluring yet manageable outdoor spaces for our clients, and some vital wildlife creatures in the process, forms both the core principle and purpose of this lifelong voyage – making exceptional London roof terraces.