Terrace Garden Ideas

Updated November 21, 2016

Terrace gardens give the impression of a small, outdoor haven away from the rest of the world. Gardeners typically design these small gardens on balconies or building roofs to create growing space to enjoy. Terraces can also be ground level or below grade. The main function of a terrace involves creating an outdoor living space that's both comfortable and functional.


As with any garden, terraces require preparation of soil to allow your plants to thrive. Terrace gardens also should include a comfortable seating area so you can enjoy the environment. Above all, your garden terrace should be an oasis whether it's located on an old balcony, roof or small patio behind your home. Above all, the surface of the terrace needs to be prepared properly for your plants.

Waterproof terrace surfaces completely before installation of any dirt, and install proper pipe drainage systems to prevent damage to your property. Drainage and waterproofing are especially important with balcony and roof terraces. Check with your building owners before installation of any terraces. Dumping dirt onto your balcony or roof could cause major damage to the structure as can the weight of the drainage bricks.

Vary the heights of your plants as well as the colour. Gardens offer so much more interest to the beholder with varying textures, colours, shapes and heights. Unify the design by using a few similar plants as anchors. Choose a colour scheme and stick with it throughout your terrace garden. Add extra interest to the plantings by choosing plants with textured and variegated leaves.

Raised Terraces

Above-grade terraces offer a view of your surroundings. Maybe you enjoy a cup of coffee every evening while watching the world go by. Elevated terraces offer both planting and entertainment space. Decide if you'd like to use your terrace garden for a functional vegetable garden or a beautiful flower garden. It's possible to incorporate both within a relatively small space. Adding potted containers will add height and beauty to your garden as well.

Adding Decor

Plants form the primary decorative accent pieces for a terrace garden. Choose plants with low-growing root systems to accommodate the thin layers of soil on the terrace surface. Also consider what type of furniture you'll need in this outside living space. A small, bistro-style table or comfortable futon seating can accent your plantings. Consider the terrace an extension of the home living space. Use soft cushions, accent tables and decorative pieces on the tables. The plants function as a backdrop for your terrace garden, much like a painted wall forms the base for decorating a room.

Container Gardens

Container gardens offer a great option to create a beautiful terrace without the expense of laying bricking, drainage and dirt. Containers come in so many varieties that you can literally design pocket gardens throughout your terrace. Consider using plastic pots, wooden barrels or coconut-fibre-lined wrought iron plant stands. Group two to three containers together with different flowering plants to create the impression of a small in-ground garden. Use height to your advantage to decorate with topiaries or mandevilla vines on a trellis. Add a few cosy seating arrangments, and you've got a simple terrace garden with minimal effort.

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