Rooftop gardens have been around for some time, but you may have not taken notice of the revolutionary change that has taken place in the last few years in regards to rooftop gardens. We are seeing a wide spectrum of garden features on rooftops, ranging from exotic Japanese gardens to more conservative walkways and parks.

Plant life and design are a standard feature in rooftop outdoor living spaces. They create ambiance. Gardens have been conceived as a main feature or a complementary feature, and more often than not: both. It is common for condos or multi-family complexes to have a full rooftop garden with counter-high garden beds for families to plant and farm. This would be considered a main feature. Also, on the same complex you could find an outdoor dining area in which the ambiance is provided by planters and plant life. The latter is an example of a complementary use of gardens and plant life on the rooftop.

There are more examples of rooftop amenities features throughout this blog series!


Part 1: Standard Features

Part 2: Living & Sharing

Part 3: Sports & Health

Part 4: Water-based

Part 5: Rooftop Gardens

Part 6: Recreational

Part 7: Luxury & Leased

Part 8: Exotic & Pet


Grass Areas: Taking in the sun on the roof is one of the many benefits of a grassy area up on the roof. Grass is a relatively simple feature to invest in; once irrigation and drainage are set up, the initial installation is cost effective, and maintenance can be kept to a minimum. Grass makes great contrast to concrete structures like walkways and sitting benches. It also helps to balance out the elements if the rooftop has too much concrete and wood. Another application of grass areas is to cover large unused spaces that would otherwise be left empty.

Parks & Walkways: For big or small spaces, the user experience must be considered. Navigation can make or break a rooftop amenity. Parks & walkways create a pleasant user experience throughout your amenity, and they prove to be even more valuable in dense urban areas where open green spaces are scarce. For big open areas this feature is a real ambiance creator; there is something majestic to a large, green rooftop area that resonates with most of us. This is a great way for mixed-use commercial and public buildings to provide amazing experiences on their rooftop spaces.

Rooftop Gardens: This is a great feature that never goes out of style. Rooftop gardens -in some way or another- make their way to most amenities. Irrigation and drainage are important factors to consider. Proper installation of systems is key to avoid subsequent drainage problems. Plant life cycles and maintenance should be taken into account as well. Is your amenity functional during the winter? Temperature highs and lows can really impact the overall health of a rooftop garden.

Size and style will depend on the specific objective of the amenity project; just remember that there are many options out there. Japanese and sculpture gardens can add a certain lifestyle to an amenity that might just be the right fit for your target audience.

Raised Vegetable Gardens: A green initiative and a healthy hobby. More and more we are seeing vegetable gardens up on rooftops. To many people, this only makes sense. This type of feature can really add a level of gravitas to a property, especially if the building is marketing itself as green or high performance building. You can easily add water recollection systems to make it more sustainable. If this is something important to you and your target tenant, then go for it!

Vegetable gardens tend to resonate with family oriented properties. As most developers benefit from long tenant retention rates, you should consider this as a great investment for your multi-family complex.