Terrace garden ideas, tips for design and setup in India

Terrace garden design ideas

A terrace garden is a garden that is established on a terrace, roof, or patio, generally in a house where there is limited gardening space. These types of gardens are particularly popular in urban areas, and they are sometimes used in restaurants and other establishments as well. A terrace garden is also called a roof garden, it is a garden in which vegetables, fruits, and flowers are grown on terraces or roofs of buildings. Creating a terrace garden doesn’t only mean having a lot of houseplants. This décor includes several rules and patterns to create a gorgeous yet subtle place with greenery. You want to choose the right plants and take care of their growth. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • How do you make a terrace garden
  • Benefits of terrace gardening
  • Terrace garden design plan
  • Terrace garden design ideas India
  • Terrace garden construction
  • How to set up a terrace garden

A step by step guide to Terrace garden ideas

Soil and fertilizer to use in Terrace garden

The perfect or correct soil mix corresponds to regular soil, vermicomposting, and sand in the uniform proportion. Soil type mainly depends on the plants. Fill in the pots with the required soil mix according to the plants you wish to grow. You can get this premix in any of the nurseries but they charge high. Instead, purchase all the ingredients separately and mix them yourself. A well-nourished soil assures healthy and sturdy growth of the plant. One important point to remember is after the rains most of the nutrients are washed away. Thus replenishment of these nutrients is advisable. Never try to opt for a chemically nursed soil. Not only does it kill harmful bacteria and worms, but also helpful microbes and worms get eliminated.

The right mix of soil needs regular soil, compost coir peat (or sand), and vermicompost in equal quantities. After the heavy rains make sure add essential nutrients back to the soil as water tends to wash them away. You can add compost every week or so make sure the soil has enough nutrition.

How much will the terrace garden cost?

If you plan to start a terrace garden at one go, it will cost about Rs 20,000, which will be the investment on seeds, saplings, containers, and the soil bed or manure. The set-up cost of Terrace garden will reduce if you begin small and stepwise, invest a little every month, and use recycled containers. The joy of watching your plants grow and thrive will outweigh any nominal expenses in terms of seeds and saplings that you buy.

Approximately 500 sq ft terrace garden can be set up with an initial investment of Rs 10,000- 15,000. Then, this includes the cost of fertilizers which can be alternated with homemade compost. Within this space, one can grow a dozen vegetables, about five different flower plants, and the same number of medicinal plants.

Tips and ideas for setting up a terrace garden

In case if you miss this: Easy Vegetables to Grow in Pots.

Tips and ideas for setting up a terrace garden.
Tips and ideas for setting up a terrace garden.
  • First, you can avoid the typical parapet wall or railing and instead, go for transparent glass to make it more vibrant for the small rooftop. But if you like privacy, then opt for railing or parapet.
  • In case if you have little soil for terrace gardening, you can plant flowers such as sedums or alpines. These flower plants can withstand a certain amount of drought also.
  • If you have large terraces then go for large plants. Having large plants all together will give your rooftop a great look.
  • Opt for variations in the size of the plants, such as a few shrubs, small plants, and annual plants, etc. Make sure you have different types of pots for them as well to bring diversity to the terrace garden.
  • Select a style and theme for your garden and decide on your furniture. If you want to have dinner on the rooftop sometimes, then you have to buy furniture accordingly.
  • It is essential to brighten up your terrace during the evening with proper lights. Different types of plants will look extraordinary with the lights at night time.
  • Create a focal point that matches well with the décor and this would be the prime attraction of your terrace garden.
  • Take any colors for the decoration of walls, floors, furniture, and railings. For the accent, you can use any neutral color like grey, white, and beige, etc.
  • Make use of plastic containers, they are lighter and then hold better moisture than terracotta. When you are using soil at the terrace, don’t forget to waterproof the surface of the terrace and it will protect your home from any leakage.
  • Avoid watering the plants in rains and if there is excessive rain from a few days, add nutrients back to the soil. Usually, 4 to 6 hours direct sunlight is required for plants at the terrace. To grow the tastiest vegetable plants, arrange more sunlight for them.
  • Don’t keep plants too close because they will compete for nutrition, water, and sunlight and they could not mature as required.
  • Terrace gardening requires simple tools and arranges all these for your requirements. You may require sprayers, composters, shovels, rakes, and gloves to name a few.

Important points and ideas to be considered while setting up a Terrace garden

A terrace gardener should consider below points;

Terrace Capacity

The first main thing to check before starting a terrace garden is whether the roof surface can bear the weight of the soil. Soil, especially wet soil is much heavier than one can generally conceive. Buy a lightweight garden soil mix online. Avoid developing a terrace garden on structures that have shown signs of weakness and damage. A terrace garden must be made on the rooftop of a substantial building or a house constructed with load-bearing floors.

Waterproofing and drainage

The terrace must have adequate drainage so that rain and irrigation water drains off quickly. If the plantation is to be done directly on the terrace floor, it is advisable to install drainage cells before putting the layer of soil. It is a good idea to install a drip irrigation system, rather than watering by conventional methods.

Container gardening on the terrace

Installing a proper terrace drain-cell system can be an expensive affair and you can always arrange a series of containers holding soil such as pots, boxes, troughs, tubs, and drums, etc. These containers are located over wedges or bricks to leave a clear gap between them and the roof for proper drainage and passage of air.

Flower beds on the terrace

Small flower beds can be made directly on the terrace. Then, this can be achieved by placing the soil between the parapet and a wall built on the inner side. Moisture-proof wood shuttering, stones, and bricks can be used to make the inner wall of the flower bed. Flowering annuals that are suitable for terrace gardens are Antirrhinum, Stocks, Sweet peas, Pansy, Dahlia, Chrysanthemum, Marigold, Alyssum, Phlox, Dianthus and Verbena, and much more.

Go vertical

On a terrace garden, the space available for gardening is limited; so it is a good idea to encourage vertical gardening. Some of which can climber over a supporting pillar, and an ornamental arch while others can rampantly spill over the top of the boundary wall and hand down the side of the building.

Selection of plants for terrace garden

If you want to grow vegetables then start with the ones that grow fast and don’t need much effort, like coriander, fenugreek, gram, chili, capsicum, spinach, etc. Once you have gained confidence then you can grow anything, even the fruits and vegetable plants of your choice. Almost all vegetables can be grown on the terrace garden. Cover the terrace with bamboos if you think that the sun is too bright on the terrace.

Apart from the above-mentioned precautions, you can commence with the plantation of those vegetables, which grow fast and need less attention. To mention a few are coriander, capsicum, fenugreek, and spinach, etc. Be assured to grow anything on a terrace garden once you gain confidence. Maybe start with one single container and vegetables like radish, tomato, or chili and in due course of time expand your width.

Some other plants suitable for terrace gardens are Areca palm, Bostern Fern, Weeping Fig, Syngonium, Chinese evergreen, Jade Plant, Pot Mum, Mogra, Rubber Plant, Dumb Cane, lady palm, and money plant.

Selecting appropriate plant containers for terrace garden

Different types of pots such as cement pots, clay pots, earthen pots, specially designed pots are available in the market.

Garden boxes or raised beds are one of them, which is an excellent option to grow plants and flowers. Not only these raised beds offer excellent drainage, avoid soil erosion and compaction (hard) but do not allow snails or slugs to enter the plant soil. Also, these raised beds are wide in length when compared with pots.

Troughs and trellis is a good option for creepers and vines. Hanging pots can enhance the terrace garden appearance by planting decorative flowering plants. Ultraviolet (UV) grow bags can be used for tomatoes or salads. Other available containers can be old boxes, plastic bottles, and crates. But plastic has the property of breaking or cracking on prolonging exposure to sunlight. If you are using such junk items, pierce a small hole at the bottom, this will help in removing excessive water.

You should also check this: How to Make Compost from Kitchen Waste.

Rooftop/Terrace garden design ideas

We have some great terrace garden design ideas that you can use for inspiration on your rooftop.

Keep it open

A small rooftop if kept open looks big size. Consider transparent glass instead of a parapet wall; fences, railing or even you can make a hedge around the border. Though, if you are concerned about the privacy and would like to block the constantly prying eyes of the neighbors, avoid this tip.

Grow tall plants and trees

For example, growing bamboos and grasses is a good combination if you want to make it low maintenance, otherwise, options are unlimited, grow shrubs and trees.

Create raised beds

If your roof supports, creating raised beds adjacent to the walls is a good idea. Then, you can add wooden raised beds or the ones that are made from metal. If you like, you can also construct the concrete raised beds about 2 feet deep and wide would be a great size, in them, you can even grow tall shrubs and small trees and with the regular maintenance, pruning, and root trimming in every few years you can control the plants. These raised beds ensure you use waterproofing membrane and lay thick root barriers that can block roots and prevent damage to the roof. One more idea is to make slightly elevated raised beds from the surface that way the raised beds do not touch the surface and plant roots may not be able to penetrate.

Plant carefully

When it comes to rooftop garden design, ensure you keep the diversity in the size of the plants. A few large plants, shrubs, and small trees, ground covers, annuals should be there. Also, buy containers of different sizes this will give a great look to the rooftop garden.

Utilize vertical space

Utilize vertical space to add more space to the rooftop garden, hang planters on the walls, use railing planters, and grow a lot of climbers.

Add a focal point

A focal point will attract the eyes toward it. Anything can be a focal point that draws attention. A water feature, a tall tree, a beautiful arrangement of container plants, and a statue, etc.

Do lighting

During the evening, the rooftop garden must be well-lit. Especially near the stairwell or door, it is nice to make more bright spots. Also, lighting a roof will make it look larger during dusk.

What are the extra precautions and ideas required to set up a terrace garden

Some of the basic requirements for terrace garden design are;

Shelterbelt – In case of high velocity winds these windbreaks’ act as an absolute protection to your terrace plants. While it is not a compulsory requirement, it can be thought upon when the terrace garden is fully operational.

Seeds – Do not compromise on the seed’s quality and soil nutrients. Not only the local nurseries can be the best source of seeds but even the regular consumption can fetch some of the basic seeds like cucumber, lemon, etc with hardly any efforts.

Watering the plants – Depending on the requirements, water the plants once or twice in a day. Then, this will assure the healthy growth of plants.

Enough sunlight – Study the shadow and illuminated areas of the garden. Then, this will help to put the plants as per their natural conditional requirements.

Reprocessed containers – Using environment-friendly containers like coconut shells, bamboo baskets, and broken boxes, etc. can add a natural look to the terrace garden. If you are planning to cover the entire terrace with soil, sow those plants which can flourish in it.

Soil pest management – Plants are the main source of food for various pests such as bugs, aphids, and ants. Not all of these can be handled with one pest control. Various methods are required to eliminate such unwarranted irritants.

Additional protection – Once the plants bear fruits and flowers, creatures like rats and squirrels get attracted. Encompass the plants with nylon wire nettings.

In case if you are interested in this: Vegetable Planting Chart in India.


  1. All the best thing regarding the terrace garden ideas tips for designing and setting up in the India. Such articles are not only knowledge enhancers but also very interesting to read and to learn to compare from.I loved reading this article very much.


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