In progress indicator

Hostile Roof Terrace

In progress indicator
Full size image

Question from jean lamb


House rules are loading...

In progress indicator

We are processing your monitoring request...

In progress indicator

In progress indicator

Comment on a listing

Comment on a listing

Comment on a listing

Cancel and close this form

I have a south facing (3 storey up) 4m x 6m roof terrace with the only solid wall on the north east side. It is very windy, very hot and very cold at various times of the year. It also needs some sound proofing. Any suggestions? I live in Dorset 500m from the sea. Salt isn't really a problem! Thats one plus!!!!
I 've searched for LARGE LIGHT WEIGHT planters but they are all so expensive. I wondered about the large plastic tree containers? Where could I buy them? Plants I have tried don't seem to survive. I desperately need HELP to make this area enjoyable and usable.

 Hostile Roof Terrace (29/05/2010) Hostile Roof Terrace (29/05/2010) Hostile Roof Terrace (29/05/2010)

Click image to enlarge

  • Views: 4581
  • Replies: 6
  • Posted: Sat. 29th May 2010 09:37

Re: Hostile Roof Terrace

Reply from Kathy C

Hi, Jean,
What a lovely space you have - and those doors must let in so much light! Unfortunately, I am not sure of the best place to buy lightweight tree planters, but it might be worth a look on ebay every now and again - you can get some used ones for good prices. I do have some plant suggestions that will do well in your exposed site.
- Crataegus laevigata 'Paul's Scarlet' - Deciduous tree with clusters of double, dark pink flowers. Very hardy and tolerant of pollution and coastal sites.
- Prunus laurocerasus - very hardy evergreen shrub - if you don't like this cultivar, there are many to choose from - check them out on thi site.
- Cornus florida or Cornus florida f. rubra - lovely small, deciduous trees happy in sheltered or exposed sites. Colder winters encourage berry production.
- Laburnum x watereri 'Vossii' - another smallish deciduous tree
- Chamaecyparis pisifera - conifer very tolerant of exposed sites and loads of cultivars with varying leaf colours, habits, heights to choose from. Have a look at the choices on this site.
- Berberis x stenophylla 'Corallina Compacta' - compact rounded deciduous shrub with yellow flowers

  • Posted: Tue. 1st June 2010 18:44

Re: Re: Hostile Roof Terrace

Reply from Kathy C

Hi, again, Jean
I ran out of room in my last reply so will finish up here.
- Ulex europaeus - has thorns but is a tough plant so perfect for your terrace.
- Sambucus - either S. racemosa or cultivars of S. nigra - S. racemosa is the hardier of the two but both should fair well in your site.
- Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko'
- Lonicera tatarica - upright, deciduous shrub with pale pink flowers.
- Ledum groenlandicum - rounded, evergreen shrub with clusters of small, white flowers in late spring.
- Cornus alba - My favourite cultivar is 'Sibirica' - love this decidous shrub! You need to prune it each year to get the intense red stems but well worth it!
- Veronica spicata - tough perennial with spikes of flowers - comes in so many colours - look it up on this site to see the many possibilities.
I hope you find some things you like from this list. You can add them to your 'Plants I Want' list if you are a subscriber.
Good luck making your selections and locating pots. Please let me know what you choose and how you get on.
All the best,
Kathy C

  • Posted: Tue. 1st June 2010 18:57

Re: Re: Hostile Roof Terrace

Reply from jean lamb

Thanks Kathy for your list of plants. Yes they are great I have several on the ground level or have had in the past. However, I have had various plants on the roof including grasses, rosemary, bay and phormiums, to name but a few. They all get wind tattered, burnt and rocked. It is very , VERY windy. There is also an issue with deciduous plants as there are 4 drains which I have to keep clear. Until I solve the sound proofing so I can put decking down to which I should be able to secure wind break and shade not much is going to survive. Well artificial grass may if I could anchor it !!!!!!!!! I shall look on e bay for pots. I did put sail cloth around the railings one year - great - some things began to thrive- then one September afternoon we had a gusty storm and it was torn to shreds! I sound a grouch! But honestly its a wild, wild place! If I had only known just how wild I would have had a wall built during construction but alas thats not an option now.

  • Posted: Wed. 2nd June 2010 08:38

Re: Re: Re: Hostile Roof Terrace

Reply from Louise Gregory

Hi, myself and my neighbour Sarah share a 4 x 5m second floor balcony next to a very busy main road facing out towards south east. Three sides were exposed to all the elements with added heavy traffic noise enclosed with similar railings to the ones you have, ours are 1.5m high, the remaining side is solid rough brick with an access door to each flat at opposite ends.

To give some protection from the wind we bought 3 rolls of 1 x 5m rush screening from a Focus sale at a cost of £24.00 for all 3. We attached the rolls in the mid point of the railings leaving small gaps at top and bottom with plenty of thick garden wire at the top and bottom, overlapping in the exposed corners. Along the 5m front we constructed from recycled wooden planks and pallets 2 tall box planters and attached a long window type box planter between. Trellis is attached to the back and above the wooden planters by scaffolding poles for clematis and outdoor lights. We have a low chunky pine table that slots tightly but only part way underneath giving a useful pots/tools/bits storage area that is hidden from view yet safe.

Over the sides of the railings we have 2 large and 2 small hay racks that trail masses of nasturtium and lobelia grown from seed. In one corner we have a mixture of wild flowers and woodland plants in pots among a variety of interesting moss/fern/fungus covered logs with a small trickling water feature. The other corner is having a tiered corner wooden planter constructed to hold black bamboo, oriental poppies and anything else that we find that is free or very cheap!!

We also use troughs and baskets around the inside perimeter to grow peas, mixed salad, strawberries, tomatoes, herbs and edible wild flowers, with potatoes growing in sacks behind the doors!!

The rushing gave enough protection to let us learn which plants could grow best and where, so that the plants themselves provide additional protection from weather and some sound proofing.

Hope this is useful


  • Posted: Fri. 26th November 2010 13:42

Re: Re: Re: Re: Hostile Roof Terrace

Reply from jean lamb

Hi Lou
Thanks for your description of your terrace-sounds very successful. I am in process of having decking installed so we can have an awning frame screwed down! I shall keep all your experiences in mind. As I've got an allotment it will be an entertaining and chill-out area rather than productive! I've had success with toms and herbs etc.in the past, even escaping the dreaded blight! Looking out this am it has a light dusting of snow-none on the ground only on the distant hills!
Happy pottering.
Regards Jean

  • Posted: Sat. 27th November 2010 10:05

Re: Hostile Roof Terrace

Reply from Mark Gregory

before you get going..check the weight loading..if it's new there will be calculations that will tell you what and where you can load the roof...take heed.if it's old take my advise and consult a local structural engineer for a couple of hundered pounds you will be pointed in the right direction..
you should also consider a simple irrigation system to the terrace..also think about the containers.you can make them out of marine ply, line them with plastic and even paint or render them..the options are endless..but you can make them big enough and also insulate them with sheet insulation material.this will help the pots not freezing.
think about plants that will tolerate sun and wind?.
think thick waxy leaves.(Phormiums for example)
Silver leaves (lavender. staychs, phlomis ,etc) They generally do well in harsh hot conditions.
Thick succulent leaves.(sedums house leeks etc)
hairy leaves
Herbaceous perrenials
Decidous trees like birch.
dwarf pines look cool in containers
Maritime plants such as Griselinia..(bullet proof)
There is so much you can do, and will be succesful...work out the design first.the planting will be fun and is the least of your worries...

  • Posted: Thu. 17th June 2010 18:58