Our clients shared with us that when researching on renovation tips for their roof terraces, their biggest pet peeve was that many ideas simply can’t work for Singapore’s hot, humid and wet weather.
Soft rugs and cushions cannot even last a week in our weather where we get periods with extremely heavy rainfall, intense dry spells and when the average temperature outside is 34 degrees Celsius.
So we decided to compile this Roof Terrace Renovation Guide to help people living in hot and humid Singapore. While this is written for roof terraces, they apply to landed home gardens and condominium balconies too.
- Get Some Shade
Granted, you’re not going to be siting outdoors between 12 noon to 2pm. But you’re still going to need shade. One option is to custom build a trellis, pergola or really any wooden or steel structure to provide shade. This will also serve as a structure for you to add ceiling fans and lighting. We have built structures made out of wood or steel and covered it with either polycarbonate or aluminium composite panels before. You can read more about a project that we did here: https://absolutoutdoors.com/2016/02/22/building-a-trellis-at-an-office-balcony/
With custom-built trellises or pergolas, you can specify the exact size and colour of the materials and can also build in useful features like fans and lights.
But custom-built solutions are not the only ones. You can also buy many off-the-shelf pergolas. Some even come with seating.
Both custom-built and off-the-shelf options may not differ much in costs, so it’s really about personal preference and what suits your needs best.
- Outdoor Flooring
Only choose outdoor flooring that can withstand the elements. Some choices are: artificial grass, or artificial carpet grass, wooden decking and tiles. We’ve got a detailed post here that states the pros and cons of various outdoor flooring that can help you decide which outdoor flooring option is best for you, based on your needs.
Most importantly, choose an outdoor flooring option for your roof terrace that requires minimal maintenance, unless you relish spending hours on your rooftop terrace doing lots of housework. 🙂
Another important consideration when selecting your outdoor flooring on your rooftop is whether the room right below the rooftop is frequently used. If it is, you can consider using artificial grass on your rooftop as the draincell layer that we lay below the artificial carpet grass provides heat and sound insulation. So it actually helps to cool the room below it. And when it’s raining heavily, the artificial grass helps to muffle the sound so it’s less thunderous in the room below.
- Don’t Forget The Walls
Gone are the days where homeowners just painted their walls white and left them be. These days, homeowners want more out of their properties. So artificial vertical wall gardens, or artificial green walls, have become really popular.
These artificial vertical gardens provide pretty greenery on the walls without needing much maintenance.
Important tip: Choose artificial plants that are UV-treated and can withstand the sun and rain without disintegrating. Most artificial plants sold in retail store are meant for the indoors and their colour won’t last outdoors.
- “Live” Greens
Custom build some planters or even just have pots of “live” plants on your roof terrace, These can work as privacy screens, lower the temperature of the roof terrace and add colour and fresh air!
Mix and match your live and artificial plants for best aesthetic effect, and easy maintenance. This will help you enjoy your roof terrace without lots of tiring and expensive maintenance.
- Functional Aspects
Don’t underestimate the planning required for a useful roof terrace. If you intend to have a washing point there, consider having a sink that comes with a cover. This way, stagnant water will not accumulate in the sink and provide any mosquito breeding sites.
If your washing machine is on your roof terrace, consider building a cover for it using aluminium to protect the machine from the sun and rain, and also prevent any irritating power trips that occur when water gets into the machines.
- Outdoor Furniture
From swings, lazy daybeds, conventional tables and chairs to sofas and couches, outdoor furniture options are endless.
When choosing outdoor furniture, have a thought about how you will be using the space. Is it more for family dining and relaxing, or do you intend to entertain there? Create pockets of spaces where people can have privacy. Do you have young children who would love a swinging to and fro on a swing?
- Have Fun!
Having fun is an important aspect of having a roof terrace!
Celebrate your roof terrace by having a blast there. Custom build a putting green for yourself, build a sand pit for the children or buy some outdoor play slides for them.
These tips are compiled based on our own experience when landscaping many homes in Singapore; and from the many ingenious suggestions by homeowners. I hope you find these useful and please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help with your roof terrace, garden or balcony renovation.