Roof garden capitals in the UK

Roof garden capitals in the UK
Roof garden capitals in the UK
It’s no secret that Brits love a rooftop bar. As soon as the weather starts to warm up, people flock to the roofs to soak up the views and atmosphere. But rooftop terraces aren’t just limited to bars and pubs.

Which city has the most residential roof gardens?

There has been a boom in high-rise gardens on top of homes, sky scrapers and office blocks across the capital, so much so that London’s high-up green spaces now cover more space than Hyde Park.

So, why the rise in rooftop terraces and gardens? In larger, built up city areas, green space can be a premium, which has influenced housing developers and homeowners to rethink the function of the roof, which has formerly been a lacklustre and underutilised space.

Not only do rooftop gardens provide vital access to outdoor space for properties without ground level gardens, but they also help to attract even more nature to cities and towns, offering valuable real estate for plants, pollinators and other wildlife.

So with rooftop gardens quite literally on the rise, The Grass People wanted to find out which city is home to the most properties with roof top outdoor spaces.

Which city has the most residential properties with roof gardens?

To find out which city has the most properties with rooftop gardens, The Grass People scraped Rightmove’s ‘for sale’ listings of 100 UK towns and cities, the 32 London boroughs and the City of London. These locations were scanned for the keywords "roof terrace", "roof garden", and "rooftop garden".

The data analysis has revealed that London currently has the most residential properties with a roof garden, with 3,709 out of 49,514 properties currently listed for sale.

A map and table displaying the locations with the highest number of residential properties with roof gardens

Taking the crown for the UK’s rooftop capital, is the capital itself, London! With 3,709 properties matching roof garden keywords the city has lots to offer residents looking for extra green space to enjoy. It’s no secret that the air quality in London is poor so the large number of roof gardens will help filter out the toxic air particles and clean up the air! A win-win for the residents and the environment.

The lack of green space within the inner city of Manchester has long been a discussion of many roundtables between councils and new build developers looking to “green the city”. With recent successful developments of homes with rooftop gardens from the Manchester Gardens project, it looks like plans to get more green space into the city are working, as Manchester has the second most rooftop gardens in the UK!

In third place is Liverpool, with 176 out of 3,299 properties for sale listed as having rooftop space. The northwest city has seen a number of developments built specifically with rooftop greenspace in mind. Last year, plans were lodged for a 478-home housing scheme with a 1km long rooftop park for residents as well as multiple luxury apartments and housing offering shared and private rooftop spaces popping up across the city.

However, it’s not just new properties or apartment complexes that have a rooftop space, there are a number of older properties that also have a garden on the roof, including townhouses and detached dwellings across the top three residential rooftop gardens capitals of the UK.

Which London borough has the most rooftop gardens?

The Grass People removed London from the city-level data and a separate analysis of London was conducted to provide a granular view of the capital’s rooftop garden landscape.

A map and table displaying the London boroughs with the highest number of residential properties with roof gardens

The analysis of London properties listed that matched roof garden related keywords has shown that the borough of Wandsworth has the highest number of properties for sale with a rooftop outdoor space, a total of 421 out of 2,984 listings.

In second place, is the central London borough of Tower Hamlets, with 419 out of 2,756 listings, followed by the central west end borough of Westminster, with 327 out of 4,265 for sale listings.

It’s no surprise to see so many homes for sale where owners or developers have swapped tiles for turf, as London is leading the trend in urban high rise green space. Over the last decade the area of green roof space across the capital has more than doubled, thanks to a 2008 policy by the Greater London Authority requiring large developments to consider installing one. Since then, living roofs and carpets of wildflowers have been springing up consistently across the city. And the types of gardens and spaces have evolved too.

Historically, rooftop gardens had been simple, because many rooftops could not support plants or trees that require deeper soils for their roots. However, thanks to research into structural load and developments in rooftop appropriate soils and materials, it’s absolutely possible to plant grass seeds and grow a beautiful lawn above the ground.

If you are thinking of installing a rooftop green space, it’s always best to consult an expert first.

Methodology

Rightmove for sale listings for 100 UK towns and cities, the 32 London boroughs and the City of London were scanned for the keywords "roof terrace", "roof garden", and "rooftop garden". The count of such listings and the total count of for sale listings for each city (as of 9/3/2022) were then used to calculate the % of listings include these keywords for each city. (In the case of London due to the volume of properties available, properties listed with the relevant roof garden keywords were extracted via borough and then added together to get the total "properties matching roof garden keywords", "total property count" and "% of listings with keyword match".

Data
You can find the full list of data here.