A well-designed city terrace can provide an oasis of calm amid the busy urban bustle, but city spaces also come with their own unique set of challenges. A small footprint, restricted access and an overlooked position are some of the problems that demand clever design solutions.
Create a leafy enclosure
This rooftop retreat is lush and leafy thanks to clever planting and a smart use of space. By concentrating all of the planting around the edges of the terrace, it creates the feeling of all-enveloping greenery, while still leaving a good sized area in the centre for a table and chairs.
You could create a similar green-wall effect to this by combining a low box hedge with a climber or rambler, as the designers have done here. Mixing in a couple of small ornamental trees such as bay or olive, will add extra height.
Keep your colour palette simple
When space is tight, a restricted colour and planting palette will really come into its own, creating drama and impact. The repetition of just two types of plant in neat raised planters, as seen here, arguably creates much more impact than a bigger mix of plants would provide.
Combined with a luxurious corner sofa, comfy armchair and a parasol for sunny days, this terrace has luxury tied up.
Build a green screen
This design shows that even the tiniest of terraces can be transformed with a little creative input. A comfy sofa spans the entire width of the balcony, creating generous seating for two people and offering maximum leg room in the constricted space.
Rather than cluttering the floor space with pots, the owners have installed a neat screen of bamboo behind the sofa instead, to create a leafy privacy screen as well as adding vertical interest and colour.
Add movement with grasses
This design is perfect if you live in the city but long for somewhere peaceful to relax and enjoy the dappled sunlight and listen to the wind rustling through the grasses.
A soft screen of swaying grasses and a compact, leafy tree give the illusion of a rural hedgerow, and a well- cushioned bench beneath offers the perfect spot to rest on sunny days. Grasses like these are relatively low maintenance and are well worth considering if you prefer your outdoor spaces to look more ‘meadow’ than ‘manicured’.
Suspend your seating
A hanging seat is an ingenious solution in a small space, as it doesn’t clutter up the floor space, making it a valuable addition to a compact terrace. It also adds a dash of the unexpected, another secret weapon when designing a small space.
You will probably need to get in a professional to fit a similar chair if you want to recreate this look at home, to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage to whatever structure you plan to hang it from.
Create the illusion of levels
This garden could seem oppressive thanks to the high fencing and the close proximity of the surrounding buildings, but an ingenious design turns this negative into a positive by using the full height of the wall to create the illusion of a stepped garden.
Raised planters provide an elevated bed for a neat row of box hedging, and olive trees planted closely together reach up to cover the very top of the fence. Three raised planters behind the sofa provide another layer of greenery. By elevating everything in this way the floor space is left clear to allow for furniture, and it also makes it easier for the homeowners to move around the space, especially when entertaining guests.
Celebrate clean, architectural lines
Unlike a meandering country garden, where boundaries can be loosely marked by rambling hedges, an urban terrace is more likely to be defined by vertical lines. As such, it makes sense to choose a design that celebrates these architectural restrictions rather than fighting them.
This cleanly ordered terrace does just that, with its crisp built-in seating, integrated planters and grey-slate feature wall all reflecting the surrounding urban architecture. Utilitarian seat cushions are quietly stylish and the planting is neat, ordered and contained, drawing heavily on structural plants such as grasses.
When designing a small space it’s tempting to try and fit lots of small plants into the space, but it can actually pay to do the opposite, and use just one or two large-scale specimens to create the feeling of a bigger space. It might sound counter-intuitive, but it’s a tried and tested interior design technique, and works just as well outdoors.
In this small terrace there are only two plants, but thanks to their generous proportions it feels like a lush and green rooftop hideaway. Tall plants or big shrubs also draw the eye upwards; a useful design trick in a small space.
Be dramatic with lighting
This contained seating pod has the feel of a cosy restaurant booth or snug sitting room thanks to the tall surrounding walls, overhead canopy and the arrangement of the furniture. Perfect for creating a cosy outdoor living space that can be enjoyed in all weathers, this design has added drama thanks to the targeted spotlighting which adds a wash of light, and allows the space to be used after nightfall.
You could create a similar effect by adding a canopy and light source to your existing outdoor space, effectively creating a ‘snug’ area.
Introduce the unexpected
This London terrace has real star quality thanks to feature lighting, stepped levels and a shimmering silver canopy above the outdoor sofa.
LED strip lights have been concealed underneath the overhang of each step to cast a warm glow and highlight the changing levels. It’s an effective idea that would be easy to recreate in most city gardens. The canopy is a little more dramatic; the designer used 4km of stainless-steel ball chains to create the shimmering cascade. A length of muslin or linen would be an alternative way to achieve a draped effect.
Source – Houzz
Main Image Source – Houzz