A well-designed terrace is like an oasis of calm amid the bustle of the busy city. Give this outdoor zone a facelift with nature-inspired furnishing, comfy lounges and entertainment areas.
Set up a garden
A green garden on the rooftop brings in a feeling of calm and peace while enhancing the overall experience of your home. Instead of just growing a lawn, which often causes roof-load and moisture-management issues, try to bring in a Zen garden. Also referred to as ‘rock’ or ‘dry landscape’ gardens, they spruce up the look of the terrace with a harmonious balance of gravel, boulders and rocks with shrubs, plants and grass. In this picture, sustainable garden design use pebbles and pavers interspered with patches of greenery to make a charming Japanese-inspired garden. You can lay down faux grass in some parts, which is low-maintenance and budget-friendly, too.
Tip: Dot the area with matkas (clay pots) for the Indian touch. A water feature, a mini fountain or even an earthen bowl filled with water will help take down stress levels many notches.
Green up the walls
Celebrate seemingly restrictive architectural features such as parapets, walls and dividers and use them to your advantage to create a green zone. Spaces Architects@ka transforms this terrace by growing a living wall that is complemented by bamboo plants for a countryside vibe. (The giant bamboo Bambusa vulgaris has many cousins, which come in gorgeous varieties of shape, colour and size; so go splurge.) Consider growing climbers and creepers along the parapets – think flowering bougainvilleas (Bougainvillea glabra) or lush curtain creepers (Vernonia elaeagnifolia). If your ambition is a bit muted, you could set old cans and containers in frames on the wall or on a rack, or hang potted plants on the wall, to start your own herb or flower garden.
Fence the borders
Tightly packed buildings in the heart of a city are often a hindrance to privacy. Fencing the terrace boundaries with wooden slats and other natural materials can give the zone a warm and cosy feeling without it being too restrictive. In the image, SPASM uses timber fencing to create a natural jaali that provides a much-needed sense of openness without intruding on the owners’ privacy. The spaces in between the fencing allow natural ventilation.
Tip: To create a private terrace, you could also grow tall plants along the fence to create a leafy enclosure. You might use jute sheets or creepers on a wire trellis to segregate areas.
Convert it into a jacuzzi area
Convert the terrace into a make-shift spa with a hot tub or a jacuzzi. In this space, Secret Gardens places a jetted whirlpool bath strategically close to the edge so it feels like an infinity pool. Of course, it helps that this space overlooks a view like that. The wooden flooring around the tub doubles as a deck where you can place a beach chair or throw some cushions to laze around. If you live in a place high in humidity or rain, replace the wood with low-maintenance tiles or stone.
Tip: Inflatable pools are great for those hot summer afternoons, too.
Go for a restful lounge
Considering the tropical Indian weather, resilient and comfortable wicker furniture is a sensible choice for outdoor areas like terraces. Here, Fadd Studio sets up a relaxed lounge area using wicker sofas, chairs and a coffee table. Beige cushions and mattresses offset the black furniture and also ensure comfort, an essential for lounging zones.
Tip: Up the aesthetic appeal with a sculpture or even a few topiary bushes.
String up a hammock
For me, the even a tiny terrace becomes a perfect lounge area if it has a swing or, even better, a hammock. What spells relaxation better than lounging in a hammock with a long cool drink and a favourite read? Go for hammocks and swing chairs, like in this Bates Masi terrace, for that sense of playful fun and invitation to chill out.
Add a playground
Here, Eldridge London devises a stepped garden done up in wood. The raised wooden platform-containers provide a base for greenery and gravel. Some of the in-between area is used for a stainless-steel slide and there’s a sandpit at the bottom!
Create a pergola bar
Bring in a pergola that can be used as a bar area or even an outdoor barbecue station. In this image, NA+P Architects erects a pergola with wooden support cross-beams and pillars and an etched-glass roof for a decorative touch. The glass provides good cover on rainy days and saves precious outdoor furniture.
Light it up
Illuminate the terrace with accent and statement lights – think sconces (that reflect the light upwards) or even lights to illuminate your plants just like what Pineapple House Boutique Hotel have done.
Bring in a birdhouse or birdbath
Make the most of the openness to the sky and invite some birds in. Hang a birdhouse or perch one on a pole; set up a feeder and enjoy hours of bird watching. If there is some space to spare – and it doesn’t take much – you could also set up a stone or earthen birdbath.