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theory of everything rooftop design a-z

contemporary roof garden design principles

roof terrace blog / elements

design & words Amir Schlezingeramir schlezinger

Roof Garden Design Principles

We spend countless hours pondering the minutiae of new roof terrace schemes – a prolific process of profound roof garden design principles, perseverance and pertinence. Next, we expend a lifetime writing articles about the punchy results, sharing our knowledge and lifelong practices to please the profusely pinning public. From ideas and inspiration to techniques and trends, we've stockpiled shedfuls of roof garden design principles for you to probe and pore over. Yet, this is no ordinary handbook, but an online coffee-table cyberback, narrated with a definitive A-Z list of literarily everything – our very own human-generated tag cloud of roof garden design principles.

architectural roof gardens

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A for abseiling, access, acclimatise, adaptable, aerial, aeroplanes, afloat, afterglow, airflow, airglow, airstream, aluminium, all-weather, aloft, alpine, altitude, ambient, ambition, analogous, analysis, anchor, angles, anti-topple, apartment, aperture, apex, apparatus, architects, architectonic, architectural, architecture, arciform, artificial, artworks, aspect, atmospheric, automatic, awe-inspiring, azimuth and azure.

B for backdrop, balance, balconies, balustrade, beehive, bench, bespoke, biodiverse, blue, blueprint, blustery, boatlike, brackets, brand-new, breadth, breathtaking, breezy, bridges, bright, budgets, builders, buildings, built-in, built-up, bullnose and buoyant.

C for canal, canopies, cantilevered, capacity, cascading, castors, cathedral, centrepieces, cherry pickers, chippings, cinematic, city, cityscape, civic, cladding, clients, climate change, clouds, coastal, cobbles, commercial, composite, compost, concrete, construction, consultancy, containers, context, contours, cosmopolitan, crane, cultivation, cultural, curvature custom-built and custom-made.

roof garden design process

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D for decking, designer, details, develop, developments, diagonal, dialogue, dichotomy, dining, discreet, diverse, diversity, docks, domes, drainage, dramatic, drought-tolerant, duplex, durable and dynamic.

E for eclectic, ecological, edible, elevation, elongated, embankment, embracive, emergent, energy, engineer, entertaining, environment, epic, equilibrium, ergonomic, evening, ever-changing, evergreen, exclusive, exotic, expansive, expertise, exposed and exterior.

F for facade, fascia, feasible, fibreglass, fire pit, flooring, flora, fluidity, focality, foliage, foolproof, footprint, frameless, framework, freedom, frost-hardy, function, furniture, furniture lift and fusion.

roof garden focal points

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G for gadgets, gallery, gardening, geometry, glass, glazed, glow, global, golfing, gradation, grand, granite, gravel, grasses, green and gusty.

H for handrail, hardscape, heaters, height, hideaway, high-altitude, high-contrast, high-finished, highlighting, high-reaching, high-rise, high-tech, Himalayan, historic, hoist, horizon, hot tub and hover.

I for iconic, illumination, immersive, impactful, individualised, indoor-outdoor, industrial, informality, infrastructure, inner-city, innovation, insects, installation, insulation, integrated, interior and irrigation

J for jacuzzi, joists, jungle and juxtaposed.

K for kaleidoscopic, kitchen, kitted and knowledge.

roof garden detail design

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L for ladder, landmarks, landscape, lanyard, layered, layout, levels, lifestyle, lighting, lightweight, linear, linking, liveability, load, location, lofty, logistic, long-term, lounger, low maintenance and l-shaped.

M for magnetism, maintainability, make-up, man-made, maritime, materials, matrix, Mediterranean, merge, merits, metal, metalwork, methods, metropolitan, microclimate, mid-rise, milieu, minimalism, modern, monumental, motif, movable, movement, multicultural, multidisciplinary, multilayered, multi-use, multi stem and music.

N for narratives, nature, neighbours, nestled, network, new-build, niche, night-time, noise and non-stop.

O for oasis, open-air, open-plan, outdoors, outline, overhang, overlooking and owners.

P for paddlestones, palette, panoramic, parapet, park, pavers, pebbles, pedestals, penthouse, perched, permeable, personalised, perspective, picturesque, planning, planters, planting, platform, plinth, plumbing, podium, pollution, porcelain, porosity, position, potential, powder-coated, progression, project, promenade and protective.

roof garden planting design

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Q for quartz, quayside and quintessential.

R for rain, rainfall, rainwater, rainy, raised beds, reach, recessed, reciprocation, rectilinear, recyclable, reflectance, remote-controlled, renovation, residential, resilient, retrofitted, river, riverfront, riverside, robust, roof, roofline, roofscape, roof terraces, rooftops and runoff.

S for scale, scenery, scheme, screens, seamless, seating, setting, sightlines, silhouettes, sinuous, site-specific, site works, sky, skyline, skyscraper, skyward, small-leaved, social, space, spatial, specialised, specification, spectrum, split-level, sprawl, stainless steel, structural, succulents, summit, sun, sunny, sunset, suntrap, surface, suspended, sustain, sustainable, sweeping, synergetic and synthetic grass.

T for tailor-made, tapered, teamwork, technical, terrace, textured, tiles, tower, traffic, treeline, trees, trendy, triplex, trolley and troughs.

roof garden hard landscaping

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U for uncharted, uncluttered, understated, undertaking, unfussy, uniform, uninterrupted, universal, unmistakable, unobstructed, unusual, unveil, unwind, up-close, upkeep, urban and usage.

V for vantage, vase, vegetation, vehicular access, verandas, verdancy, vertical, vessels, viable, vibrant, views, vista, visual, vitreous, vogue, voids, voluminous and voyage.

W for wall-to-wall, warehouse, warmth, watering, watercourses, waterfront, waterproof, waterside, wattage, wave-shaped, weather, weatherproof, webbing, weekend, weight, welding, well-drained, well-fitted, well-integrated, well-lit, wharf, wildlife, winch, wind, windblown, windbreak, windows, wind-resistant, windswept, wind-tolerant, windy, wires, wispy, workmanship, worktop and wrap-around.

X for xerophytes.

Y for year-round, Yin & yang and yonder.

Z for zeitgeist, Zen, zenith, zephyr, ziggurat, zinc, zonality and zone.

– coda –

Rooftop Bedrock

From the elaborate parterres of vast, classical roof gardens, through pared-down expressions of medium-sized modernist terraces, to tiny postmodern balconies, contemporary rooftop designs have arrived at the mainstream utterly contracted yet thoroughly prospering. These leftover urban pockets epitomise an unabating struggle to keep pace with accommodation needs, amid a fading ecology and skyrocketing property values – gifting midair bedrocks of solace and well-being.


Propitiously floating on river airstreams and skyscraper mainstays, the embryonic ideas which buoy up seasoned roof garden tours de force interlock semantic brainpower and straight-talking practice to spawn classic terrace design principles. Azimuth to Ziggurat, our A-Z of modern roof garden design principles individualises the 500 most frequently used words of our rooftop lexis – rhapsodised lingeringly in a cloud of tags, aerial drags and roofy colloquial zigzags!