How to create an Attractive ‘Sky Garden’ for Residential Developments

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How to create an Attractive ‘Sky Garden’ for Residential Developments

Sky Gardens, or rooftop gardens, are popular additions to luxury prime residential developments throughout London where the availability of ground floor garden area is at a minimum.

If you take a look at some of the latest super prime developments in London they all have dedicated outdoor spaces in the form of rooftop gardens or balconies.

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Recently government ministers have revealed new proposals to make the addition of these rooftop spaces easier.

Under the new draft legislation, planners would support rooftop construction on homes, commercial premises and office buildings as long as the new addition is in keeping with the local area.

This shift in planning rules will be a welcome change for developers in inner city spaces, especially those renovating existing buildings for residential developments.

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The inclusion of outdoor spaces in luxury residential developments is often a key selling point for wealthy buyers who want a slice of outdoor space. In the city where every metre of ground space is premium finding places to add in these outdoor spaces can be difficult. That is why the dawn of ‘Sky Gardens’ has been met with such popularity.

For developers looking to integrate an external Sky Gardens into their project, the main key in a successful design is ensuring that they are useable spaces. This means considering ease of access, creating an ambience and also, especially in the UK, considering some form of weather protection.

Maintaining Views from the Roof Garden

When residential developments are created out of existing buildings, or where height restrictions apply, a frameless balustrade is a popular option for defining the external parameters of the rooftop terrace.

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Frameless Glass Balustrades have the unique ability to allow light and vision though the safety barrier, therefore reducing the impact a roof terrace or garden would have to a residential development. They are also great solutions for small balcony spaces to residential developments as they don’t restrict or impede views out from internal spaces.

Top level residential developments, especially ones in London, can carry a premium for the natural attributes of their location, such as a view over the Thames. You don’t want to reduce this massive selling factor by impeding views out with metal grills and solid balustrades. The use of properly designed structural glass can resolve.

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Access to Rooftop Gardens

Access to any external areas has to be hassle-free or they just won’t be used. Sliding or Bi-Folding doors with a level threshold are a great option for balcony or roof terrace access. When the doors are open the internal and external spaces are effectively merged and the transition from inside to out is minimised.

If the rooftop garden space is going to be communal you will need to ensure that a door system chosen is designed for high traffic use. An aluminium casement system or a specialist architectural metal door can maintain a modern luxury design with the necessary testing for high traffic use.

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Outdoor Spaces for British Weather

The UK climate doesn’t naturally allow for year-round al fresco living like some of our European neighbours. Careful consideration of rooftop garden design is needed where heating, lighting and water protection are concerned. All elements should be considered for inclusion in a rooftop outdoor space.

An automated louvre roof system is a great way to combine all of these required considerations into one, lightweight roof top installation to create a year round external living space. When its sunny the louvres can be turned to let in natural light. When it is raining the louvres can be closed which then interlock and create a fully watertight garden roof.

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Alternative solutions like automated awning roofs, custom pergolas or bespoke structural glass canopies can also provide cover from the elements and make an external living environment that is useable throughout the year.


Are you creating a ‘Sky Garden’ on your own development? Speak to the team at IQ Projects to find out how our architectural glazing packages and accessories can be used to create a luxury rooftop environment.


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Rebecca is Head of Marketing at the IQ Group and has worked in glazing specification for many years. She has a broad range of technical knowledge about all our glazing products and offers technical advice and guidance to architects for specification. Her easy to digest technical advice is often quoted in magazines and publications. You might also recognise her as one of the IQ Glass CPD presenters.
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