Roof Top Terrace ~ Small Gardens in the Sky

Since I sold my apartment last month, I had been looking around for different options to build my dream home. I used to think of getting a Condominium unit with PES (Private Enclosed Space) or Patio. I like the idea of having a big open space for some greenery and outdoor dining. As open spaces are considered non-livable spaces, the costs of buying a unit with this kind of space is usually lower than if you are getting a penthouse with the equivalent open space. Of course, there are some downsides to getting a PES unit. Usually, the Patio does not have a shelter above and who knows what will your neighbours above you throw into your courtyard. Some condominium developers do help you resolve this by having shelters covering most of your PES areas, leaving only a very small amount of space opened to the sky. Some build trellis above the open space. Some developers simply left them open. I had viewed several condominium projects lately and found a mix of the above. Of course, the sheltered Patios with good floor plans had already been snapped up.

A Glass Trellis will be attractive, but some developers resolve the problem with solid shelters. overhead

I saw an ideal unit at Arc@Tampines. It is an Executive Condominium build under more stringent reselling rules by the Singapore Government. The price, although is high at his point of time in Singapore’s hot property market, is “reasonable” when compared to other private condominiums or even other Executive Condominiums. Of course, this is an old project and most of the units are already sold. What was left, is a Penthouse unit and some left over 3 bedroom units. The price is again, reasonable compared to neighbouring developments (it is still very expensive). The downside to this penthouse unit is that the duplex unit comes only with a rooftop terrace, with no rooms. This means that the rooftop is purely useful as a private garden. Since I have been looking around, this unit triggered the possibility of getting an Executive Condominium Penthouse Unit and do up some nice landscaping at a lower cost than buying a private condominium.

Some great Ideas from the Internet on building a Minimalist Rooftop Garden.

Artificial Tuff on a Simple Rooftop Terrace (Pictures from

You can even have a Pool on your Roof Top Terrace! But its going to be Costly (Pictures from

Root Top Pool from a condominium boucher.

Since then, I had been searching for ideas to create a beautiful landscape on a rooftop terrace and large balconies. I had the idea of shrinking large gardens that are typically seen in large bungalows into a rooftop. This means that the relatively small rooftop terrace need to accommodate a pavilion or trellis, a small waterfall or water feature, a grass patch, “trees”, plants, stone pavements and even flowing “rivers”.  How do I get such effects with such limited space? Last weekend’s visit to the Singapore Garden Festival 2012 gave me some ideas. On the exhibition are 2 landscapes done up in a relatively small area of about 100 square meters. We can easily shrink this a little to fit into a typical rooftop terrace in a penthouse. Of course, I do not expect it to be cheap. But the looks are a killer and temptation is irresistible. 

Landscaping by Andy Sturgeon for the Singapore Gardens Festival 2012.

The landscaping by Andy Sturgeon is my favourite. The wooden decked pavilion is surrounded by luscious green and calming flowing water around it. The best part is, it has 2 B&B Italia Metropolitan Chairs to let you relax in! That’s just kidding. I mean, it is 3-tiered landscaping that attracts me. An infinity pool circumnavigates the pavilion decked out in wood and hanging greens in the open top. The infinity pool in turn is surrounded by trees for that natural and relaxing ambience. I do not deny that the lighting and the comfortable air conditioning skewed the feeling and it will most likely not be as attractive as it seems in open air in the day time. Here are some other great landscaping from the Singapore Garden Festival 2012. These small landscapes will make a great garden in the sky. Small enough to fit, big enough for personal enjoyment.

Japanese Themed Landscape, small enough for a Rooftop Terrace of a Penthouse.

Pavilion by the Pool and Water Feature, perfect for relaxation.


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