How to Build a Garden Terrace

By Renee Gerber , last updated April 19, 2011

If you live in an apartment, chances are great that you may yearn for the niceties of living in a private house - and this includes the luxury of having your own garden terrace. There are ways you can do this, and you just need to know where to begin.

Garden Terraces

A garden terrace is a beautiful way to grow a variety of plants. While it is not just like having a garden in your backyard while living in a house, it is just as good. You can create a beautiful area that adds a positive effect on the environment, as gardens reduce pollution in addition to having an aesthetic value.

Planning Your Garden Terrace

The first thing you should do when planning a garden terrace is to create a layout of your ideal or dream garden. Make sure to include a good balance of small trees, shrubs and of course, a lawn. You may also want to add in some ornamental features, such as a garden pond, rock garden, pergola or even a gazebo. Remember, this is your garden, so it's all up to you!

After you've made your layout, the next step is to decide exactly what plants you want to make up your garden terrace. Due to the fact that a raised garden such as one in a terrace will never be the same as one that is directly in the ground, you should make sure to select plants that have a fibrous root system. You should absolutely avoid purchasing any plants that have a tap root system because they can create disaster by potentially endanger the building by growing through the terrace.


Another mandatory step is to ensure that the terrace that houses your garden will be waterproof. You don't want to have the water you provide your plants seeping down to the floor or floors below, which can lead to a huge problem for your neighbors and you as well. The roof slab should receive a good chemical-based solution treatment, and this should be done prior to any actual building of your garden. Locate a professional landscaping expert to come and inspect the job so that you know it is sufficient. At the same time, of course, you will also require drainage pipes to be into place on the terrace so that your plants won't be overly saturated when you water them. Also, you should install a waterproof sheeting to drain moisture from the roof slab.

Brick bats, or bricks that are burnt, are a good way to ensure water drainage on your terrace. These should be evenly spaced in increments of about two to four inches around the terrace. They are a good choice because they can hold the moisture you can expect while maintaining a roof garden, as normal bricks can become mud after several years.


When you start preparing the actual garden for planting, you will have to choose the right type of soil. A good mixture of soil, peat moss and manure should be enough, and you should have a layer of about six to nine inches of depth. You can then plant grass seeds, and it might be a good idea to allow this to grow first, before planting anything in addition.


Remember, you can only choose plants that have a fibrous root system. Many of your plants will probably come in pots. You can select a good mix of growths in terra cotta pots, which are beautiful for outdoor decorating. Make sure to place plastic plates beneath any of these pots so that it catches excess water when you give your plants water.

When you add plants, be sure to choose varieties that can handle the kind of condition your terrace receives on a daily basis. If your terrace is on the eastern side of the building, you will receive a good amount of sunlight during the morning, and therefore, you should select plants that require little sun and a good deal of shade. Many evergreen shrubs and trees fall under this particular category. On the other hand, if your terrace faces the western side of the building, you can expect bright, direct sunlight throughout the afternoon hours. If this is the case with your apartment, you should select plants that require a lot of direct sunlight, such as bamboo.

If your interest lies in planting your own fruits and vegetables, make sure you know in advance what types of crops will grow in whatever conditions your terrace sees on a daily basis. This will ensure that your garden will be successful.

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