The term “terrace garden” can refer to two different types of gardens. In one sense, a terrace garden is a garden which is established on a terrace, roof, or patio, usually in a house where there is limited gardening space. These types of gardens are especially popular in urban areas, and they are sometimes used in restaurants and other establishments as well. A terrace garden can also be a garden which is built in a series of raised or “terraced” beds against a hillside. Terrace agriculture is often the only way to utilize steep land, and some very ancient examples of terrace gardens can be found in South America and Asia.
Terrace gardens in the sense of patio or rooftop gardens can be ornamental or functional, and they are usually designed with container plants to make the terrace easier to manage. Gardeners can also build raised beds on their terraces for gardening. Sun exposure and access to water are two important things to consider when establishing the garden, as is the goal of the garden.
Some people like to grow fresh herbs and vegetables on their terraces, while others want to create a green retreat. Occasionally, gardeners create a mixture of the two. Plants can be trellised around a terrace for privacy or shade, or used to create a pleasant recreation area for residents and guests of the home. It pays to plan ahead when developing this type of garden, because of space considerations.
In the other sense, a terrace garden can be used as an ornamental landscaping feature, a way to make a landscape functional for gardening, or a source of crops. Terrace gardens are constructed by leveling areas of a hillside and building retaining walls to prevent erosion. Gardeners can also backfill an area bounded by a retaining wall to create a raised terrace. Drainage is critical with this type of terracing.
In areas where hills are not a part of the landscape, it is still possible to build a terrace garden. Some people like terraced landscaping because it makes the landscape more dynamic and interesting. In order to create terraces, gravel for drainage and soil for growing will need to be trucked in and built into a series of terraces which are retained with wood, brick, or concrete walls. Once established, this garden can be developed in a variety of ways, and it often attracts a great deal of attention from guests.