Anne Roberts Gardens Rooftop-Gardens

Rooftop Gardens: 5 Popular Features to Consider in Your Design

Rooftop Garden Features: Ideas to Help You Start Planning Your Own Private Space

Rooftop gardens, without a doubt, are becoming “de rigueur” for city dwellers who otherwise wouldn’t have much green space—or a place to relax outdoors. Read on to find out about popular features that people with rooftop gardens like to employ in their designs.

Consider These Popular Features in Rooftop Gardens

It may be surprising to learn that there aren’t a lot of things that you can’t do when designing your rooftop garden. As usual, a lot of what you’ll choose will be determined by your budget, your taste and the kind of space you have. So, instead of talking at length about various features, we’ll show you some ideas.

1. Fire Features

Fire tables and fire pits create a tremendous amount of ambiance in rooftop garden settings. You can buy them online or through your landscaper. While you can use gas, gel, propane or wood, remember that installing one with a gas line will save you a lot of hassle and cost in the long run.

TIP: There are regulations regarding fire pits and fire tables in most localities, so make sure you know what they are before buying one. If a landscaper is handling your project, they will do that for you.

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Fire tables and fire pits are very popular rooftop garden features. You'll need to check local ordinances before installing one!
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This amazing water feature was found on

2. Water Features

One reason that I love water features in the city is that they can help drown out noise pollution while making you feel like you’re a million miles away from day-to-day stressors.

There are some cool water features you can see on this Pinterest link.

3. Gardens, Greenhouses & Growpots

Feeling the need to reconnect with nature? Go heavy on the gardens, grow pots or even install a greenhouse. Wildflowers and casual cottage garden type flowers can transport you.

Take a look at one of the rooftop gardens we had the pleasure of working on.

There's very little that you can't grow on your rooftop garden, so let your imagination go when developing your plan.

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Hanging out in this garden is a real stress reliever.
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This outdoor kitchen in Chicago looks very inviting. Picture from:

4. Cooking Features

Outdoor kitchens have been in for a while and are steadily growing in popularity. Why give up one of summer’s greatest pleasures when you don’t have to? Consider installing a small outdoor cooking station. You can have one built specifically for your space or you can try to incorporate some of the pre-made packages you can buy online.

Consider installing a small outdoor cooking station. You can have one built specifically for your space or you can try to incorporate some of the pre-made packages you can buy online.

Take a look at more urban outdoor kitchen ideas here. If you’re into pre-built kitchens, WoodlandDirect is one of the many retailers of pre-made kitchens. Take a look at their selection here.

An inviting space is like a magnet...both for you and for your guests.

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5. Privacy Solutions

There are many ways you can create privacy in a rooftop garden. From selecting fast-growing evergreens to incorporating fencing, installing green walls or even objets d’art, you can definitely get the privacy you want in your urban space.

This Pinterest link will show you a few ideas.

As well, check out our previous post called Landscaping Ideas for Privacy, which is all about creating privacy in your outdoor spaces.

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We love this rooftop garden privacy hedge. Image from

Your Rooftop Gardens: How to Start Planning Yours

  1. We suggest that you start by measuring your space to get a sense for what you’re working with.
  2. Next, you’ll find it useful to download our Landscape Planning & Assessment Guide. There’s an easy tick-list there to help to identify problems with your space and to help you track the features you’re interested in, right down to the color of flowers you prefer.
  3. To get a sense for what you think you’d like, you can download some free graph paper templates and do some quick preliminary sketches. If you’re doing the work yourself, keep researching online for the features you’ve decided to employ. Rework your designs until you think you’ve got what you want. Or, if you have the skills, use a landscape plan software. Better Homes & Gardens has an easy one here.
  4. Next, find out about any regulations or permits that apply to your project before you start placing orders.
  5. If your plan requires work outside of your skill level, contact a landscaper who can help determine what you can do within your budget as well as guide you on what’s allowable in your area.

More Inspiration for Your Rooftop Gardens

Check out House & Garden in the UK to view some really exquisite rooftop gardens in their Roof Garden Design gallery. And, as always, we recommend searching Pinterest and Houzz for additional ideas.

Creating your outdoor space takes some time, patience, vision and creativity, whether you are landscaping a whole yard or just landscaping small areas. When you’re ready to move ahead, our team is highly experienced in all facets of landscape design. We’ll be happy to talk with you in person or over the phone to discuss how we can help you with your planning and outdoor overhaul. Feel free to call us or contact us online to get started with a discussion about your Chicago landscaping ideas and needs.

About The Author

Anne Roberts
Anne Roberts
Chicago Landscaper, Master Gardener, Green Roof Specialist & Degreed Horticulturist at Anne Roberts Gardens

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