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landscaping / January 24, 2018


To the traditional home-owning American, the garden stops where the home begins. But by incorporating living things into and onto our home’s roofs, we can provide great benefit to ourselves and our surrounding community.

Seattle living is about making the most of the space available. Outdoor living has transformed from a place of relaxation and entertaining to environment friendly gardens. Rooftop gardens can be an oasis in an otherwise built up urban ambience. Gardening on a rooftop has a lot to recommend it - privacy, good sun & fun, but there are several things to consider about rooftop gardening before you start planning & planting. 

If you've gone through the pros and cons and have decided to created your own rooftop garden, here is a list to consider beforehand:


These two go hand in hand. Check with your landlord and/or building code if you are allowed to make these changes to your rooftop. You will need to make sure the roof can hold the load.


You need to consider getting materials in and out of the building. Material Handling by Terrain. 


You will need to be able to run a hose out to the roof and watering cans can become too much of a work. We suggest installing rain barrel and drip irrigation. 

Sun & HEAT

You must consider a shade, wether it comes from nearby buildings or you will have to consider building a shade. Sun can be a problem for plants as well as heat your concrete and furniture. 


You may want to consider some type of wall or fencing as wind can whip down straight urban streets, especially on high-rises. This is were you will have to check the building code once more. It is especially important when building safety barriers for kids and pets.


If your rooftop is not surrounded by nearby building, you might want to plan for screening to create some privacy. This can be done planting living walls, evergreens, run vines up a trellis wall or simply using some umbrellas. 

Electrical Wiring

Electricity isn't essential, but it sure makes things easier!


Space is limited on a rooftop and you will be needing some storage area. Our favourite option is double duty - seating with built in storage.


This client wanted to capture the space above an existing unsightly concrete garage with the desire for a rooftop edible garden. Terrain worked closely with the client and designer to create custom built stainless planters and install a floating IPE deck. Terrain also structurally modified the garage roof to accommodate the new engineering requirements. The seats were specially chosen by the client (originals from Florida’s Dolphin Stadium).  The planters were designed to double as toy bins for the families young children. These also double as additional seating for deck entertaining.


See More Photos from this Project>

Terrain has the skillsets and fabrication shop to handle the full range of your landscape elements. Metal components such as railings, gates, fences, decks and outdoor kitchens are few of what we can create. We work with you and the architect or designer to create the perfect finished product.

If you are considering a rooftop garden, contact us and we will provide you with more information on your specific location. 

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