6 Design Tips For Creating The Perfect Rooftop Patio

A flat roof offers endless design possibilities as well as extra living space. Whether you want to entertain guests or create a peaceful respite for solitary relaxation, following are 6 tips for designing your rooftop patio.

1. Add some greenery.

From potted ferns and hanging vines to herb or vegetable gardens, plants add life to your rooftop patio. They also lower temperatures during the summer and create more oxygen in the surrounding space.

Choose plants based on your personal interests and expertise. If you consider your thumbs more black than green, for example, select low-maintenance succulents. If you love designing with lots of color, buy flowering plants.

2. Create shade.

You'll use your rooftop garden more frequently if it provides a comfortable environment. Shade protects you from the heat of the sun and adds privacy, though you don't have to shade the entire space.

You have several options for shading your rooftop patio:

  • Hiring roofing companies to roof the entire space
  • Installing pergolas for partial shade and additional greenery (such as vines or ivy)
  • Erecting shade sails or umbrellas that can be moved or taken down when necessary
  • Arbors for a more narrow shaded area

Keep the first tip above in mind when creating shaded and sunny areas. Some plants thrive in direct sunlight, while others prefer more indirect exposure.

3. Choose diverse seating.

Some days, you might feel like stretching out on a lounger or chaise to read the latest novel. On others, you might prefer to dine outside with your family to soak up as much of the summer warmth as possible.

Furnish your rooftop patio with different types of seating to accommodate as many uses as possible. Define separate seating areas with lighting, outdoor rugs, and strategic furniture groupings. The back of an outdoor love seat, for example, could separate a lounging area from a dining area.

4. Establish a focal point.

Every room in your home—even those outdoors—need a focal point. This is the object or item to which your eye is immediately drawn when you enter your patio. Examples of focal points might include:

  • Fire pit or outdoor fireplace
  • Large plant or potted tree
  • Colorful or patterned fabric for furniture upholstery
  • Striking light fixture

Choose a focal point that draws the entire space together visually. It should represent your unique design aesthetic.

5. Hang some art.

Artwork isn't just for the inside of your home. It enhances the visual impact of your rooftop patio and makes it an inviting place to visit. Choose artwork that is safe for the outdoors or that will be shaded under an overhang.

Sculptures make excellent outdoor art because they are typically durable and resistant to moisture. Since most rooftop patios don't have much, if any, wall space, you'll need to think about options other than hanging art.

6. Cultivate privacy.

Just because your outdoor space is located on your roof does not mean it is shielded from view. Surrounding buildings that are as tall as—or taller than—your home will provide other people with a view of the space.

If you install a pergola, for example, hang curtains from the supporting columns. Draw them back with ties when you want an open view around your patio, then release them to create privacy. 

Folding screens and lattice fences also provide privacy for outdoor spaces. Use tall plants for an organic screen or let ivy grow on trellises around the patio. You have the choice of surrounding the entire space for privacy or only a certain portion.

Rooftop patios make excellent additions to your home. If you are considering a flat roof, consult with roofing companies about your options, then start dreaming about how you will design the space.