Stairway to the Stars | Floral & Hardy | London | UK

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This is the roof garden to a property in Holland Park.

Brief

The owners envisaged transforming their existing roof spaces from its old, nondescript form into a revitalised and beautiful contemporary space, that not only created a real ‘wow factor’, but reflected their home and its contemporary design style. The new outdoor space was to be designed to cater for outdoor living/dining, entertaining friends and simply relaxing. The roof terrace was to be a low maintenance outdoor space that can be both used and look fantastic all year round!

Solution

The roof terrace is accessed through a set of French doors from the lounge area of the apartment. This leads out onto a small space that houses the metal staircase up to the roof. This space was overlooked and had access to the neighbours’ terrace with views across to the nearby apartment block but was transformed to make not only a feature of this area but to highlight the fact that there is access to the roof terrace. This draws you into the garden and creates less of a divide between home and garden. This link between indoor and outdoor space is achieved by the installation of large glass bi-folding doors. This really opens it up and allows much more light into the home.

The original gate was blocked up to create a definition of space and to re-establish ownership. The walls were re-painted with a pale contemporary colour, which reflects more light and helps to make the area seem bigger. Cedar screens were placed around to increase privacy and to hide the overlooking tower block.

Contemporary planters surround the boundary with plants which not only softens it but transforms it into a ‘garden’ that is viewed from the house.The existing staircase was retained, and painted in the new colour scheme.

The main terrace is now the main dining/entertaining area that has been revitalised into a beautiful and contemporary garden area and the old timber decking was replaced with low maintenance composite decking.

The boundary of the roof is surrounded with contemporary planters containing low maintenance bamboo that is used for screening and sensory purposes. This area is used as a dining area and a new sleeker dining set will be installed to match the new design style; there is additional bench seating provided, to allow informal seating opportunities all year round.

The walls of the house surrounding this roof terrace were re-painted to transform the original salmon red to the paler colour that adds continuity and a contemporary backdrop to all the areas.

The roof terrace has an additional upper level that was originally unused. The re-design reclaims this as usable space and makes it an important feature of the terrace. This sunken rooftop is the new ‘chill out’ area, where built-in bench seats fill the space, creating a really relaxed area that provides the perfect post-dinner environment. The roof is decked in composite decking and the original concrete coping stone was removed and replaced with glass balustrade which is important for both safety and privacy.

We included a structural element to this space with a contemporary overhead timber structure that provides a sense of enclosure, whilst also affording a framework to allow evergreen scented jasmine to grow across, producing a sensory experience. Access to this upper level was provided with a sleek timber staircase with storage and subtlety was key, as we did not want to lose precious space from the main terrace area by creating a substantial staircase.

In terms of planting, our clients expressed a desire for a fresh contemporary scheme that is completely low maintenance and that looks attractive throughout the seasons. A selection of evergreen and architectural species provide the main structure, whilst a mix of grasses and a select palette of perennials add spikes of colour creating some additional interest across the year.

Lighting adds an exciting dimension to the entire roof garden, making it not only usable on summer evenings, but also visually accessible in the winter months. Inset lighting to the decking, wall lights and up-lighting to the structural planting creates brilliant effects, however, with the use of different circuits, a subtler feel can be achieved according to the mood and occasion.

We installed an automatic irrigation system, which can be set to water the plants for a pre-determined amount of time each day, especially advisable in the planters, and is useful if spending any period of time away from home.

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40 Bloomsbury Way , Lower Ground Floor, London, WC1A 2SE