What are the design rules for turning a terrace into a garden?

When designing a terrace garden, a number of fundamental elements must be taken into account: the proportions of the space, the layout, the intended use, and the choice of style in relation to the technological performance of the selected materials.


How to furnish a terrace: a solarium with pergolas, a rooftop garden and a vegetable garden on the terrace

A terrace offers a fabulous view of the surrounding urban space and, with the right arrangements, can become an extra outdoor room. 

This space can be transformed into a garden through the targeted selection of outdoor furniture such as matching dining table sets, armchairs and sofas for lounge areas, sun loungers and sunbathing facilities. If you also want to use the terrace in the evening, it is crucial to carefully arrange light fittings for night vision.

  • A terrace with a solarium

When designing the green space in a solarium, you can opt for decorative potted plants or large planters for flowers, trees and shrubs to mark out the area for sunbathing and relaxation, preferably with perimeter grillage to increase privacy. Pergolas can also be integrated in the project: be careful with permanent ones since they require specific permits depending on the individual municipality.

  • Rooftop garden

A rooftop garden requires a water drainage system and an effective irrigation system to make the garden space usable and pleasant. The advantages? Sound insulation, improved air quality and thermal insulation.

  • Rooftop vegetable garden

A solution for zero-kilometre vegetables and herbs, as well as a place for outdoor activities that are unusual for urban areas. The creation of a vegetable garden on the roof – once the load-bearing capacity of the floor below has been assessed – can transform a terrace into an energy-saving and healing place.

Plant selection

Depending on the layout of the terrace space, you need to carefully select planters and consider certain essential design criteria for the greenery on your garden terrace:

  • Pay attention to exposure: if the exposure is predominantly south and particularly intense in summer, you should choose species that can withstand high temperatures and strong sunlight. In general, you should choose evergreens such as lavender, ivy and cork or other drooping perennials.
  • Opt for related plants: this reduces maintenance and optimises fertilisation and irrigation times.
  • Select based on seasonality: to alternate colors, species and types and have a garden that changes with the seasons
  • Choose climbing plants and green walls with dense vegetation: they provide shade and protect from prying eyes
  • Containers and planters

Excellent results can also be achieved with plants in pots or containers. It is better to invest in a design that is consistent with the desired style without sacrificing technological performance in terms of irrigation and resistance to external agents.


Which coverings to choose

When choosing coverings to decorate a garden terrace, you need to consider that the flooring must:

  • be suitable for transit of people and vehicles
  • be suitable for changing temperatures
  • have low water absorption
  • be anti-slip and resistant to chemicals.

You can adapt the technological solutions to your preferred design style, but outdoor stoneware combines excellent performance with versatile, contemporary styles.


The Ossimori collection in parquet-effect stoneware with Stepwise, Zero Glossy and Sublime Sync technology and resistance to deep abrasion and frost is the right choice for a terrace intended as an outdoor lounge. Listel tiles in three sizes and four indoor/outdoor colors also permit visual continuity between indoor and outdoor spaces.

The Realstone Argent XT20 stoneware tile in the single 60x120cm size and in four different colors – Avorio, Ghiaccio, Sabbia and Miele – gives an exquisitely Mediterranean flavour to a terrace that becomes a solarium where you can welcome friends in the evening for parties and outdoor dinners. The Realstone collection boasts Greenguard and Declare certifications.

Stoneway Ardesia XT20 – in the 60x60cm size in Antracite, Beige and Grigio colors – and Stoneway Barge Antica reproduce the tactile appeal and veining of stone for a terrace with a minimal Nordic effect. They can also be laid on a grass area if space permits. Its 20 mm thickness makes it an ideal choice for outdoor floors.