Making the most of roof terraces
Feel good in airy heights – roof terraces can be wonderful places for relaxation and recreation. Provided that their potential has been fully exploited.
A breathtaking view, plenty of space and tranquility – roof terraces enhance a home immensely. However, the full potential of the open space is not always exploited – with the result that it appears uncomfortable and existing furniture and plants look rather lost. “The design of the roof terrace should follow a well thought-out concept,” says Ulrike Seher from the grünhoch3 planning office. This is based on considerations regarding the use of the outdoor area: At what times of day is the roof terrace most likely to be used – and for what purpose? Should it be for entertainment or rather for recreation? Is a rooftop pool or hot tub an issue? Or is a rooftop garden with fruit trees and space to grow vegetables desired – or rather one with a dense lawn for your feet to sink into? Last but not least, the local conditions flow into the concept: What is the location of the roof terrace? Is it protected from the wind or can the wind attack it from all sides? Is there a risk of heat buildup?
Observe load capacity
Last but not least, the bearing load is an important factor: “If you want a lawn, you have to make sure that the subsoil can withstand it,” explains Seher. This, he said, requires a minimum of 350 to 600 kilograms per square meter, while the standard load-bearing capacity is between 350 and 400 kilograms per square meter. “If these wishes are expressed during the construction phase, they can be reinforced accordingly. After the fact, this is rather difficult,” says the landscape planner. By the way, the load-bearing capacity must also be taken into account if a whirlpool or a pool is to provide water fun on the roof terrace. And another thing should be considered during the construction phase: Namely, that both a water and an electricity connection are available on the roof terrace. Because here, too, it is usually difficult to retrofit at a later date.
Once the use has been determined, the next step is the design of the recreational oasis, such as the choice of flooring.
Anyone who appreciates lush greenery on their roof terrace should also invest in an irrigation system in this context to save themselves from lugging around watering cans. Not least in view of the fact that plants on roof terraces have a significantly higher water requirement. This is partly due to the fact that the sun and wind dry out the soil, and partly due to the fact that hydrangeas & Co are usually planted in troughs. “Troughs should therefore be larger than usual, as more soil volume provides more water storage,” Seher says.
Another important element for the attractiveness of a roof terrace is the choice of flooring: this should be as robust as possible, weatherproof and require little maintenance. The issue of heating should also be considered. Wood, for example, does not get as hot even in intense sunlight, but it is usually high-maintenance. Besides wood, stone has also proven its worth. However, the latter heats up, but it is easy to maintain. Speaking of heat, awnings, well-anchored sunshades made of wind-permeable material or awnings are some of the ways to make the outdoor living space as comfortable as possible.
All year furniture and plants
Finally, the finishing touches to the roof terrace are furniture and planting. Here, however, should not be forgotten, namely, that even the most beautiful summer is over at some point. Frost-resistant furniture and hardy plants should therefore be given preference, firstly, to save the search for winter quarters and transport to them. Last but not least, hardy plants can be a pleasing sight even in the cold season.
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