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What is a terrace?

As a terrace (from the French "terrace", derived from the Latin word for earth = "terra") is called since the 18th century, a flat, open space, which is built in front of the house on the same or an underlying level. The purpose of the terrace is a harmonious, direct connection of house and garden. Thus, the paved surface allows the installation of furniture on the terrace, but there are no walls and usually only a partial or temporary roofing ("free seat"). Depending on the terrain, the transition to the garden may be at ground level, higher or lower and, for example, accessible by a few steps or a ramp. Special forms of the terrace are the roof terrace, veranda, esplanade and the classic seat, which is not adjacent to the house, but is located in the middle of the garden.

Terrace shape and size

The architectural design of a terrace should always focus on the design of the house. The terrace shape leans against this, so that a harmonious overall design is created. Depending on the shape and size of the property, the terrace may be angular or rounded, oblong, square or a corner of a house. Whether the terrace adjoins the house at ground level, or can be reached by steps, depends largely on the architecture of the house and the location of the room from which to enter the terrace. A sunken terrace bordered by flower borders or boxes looks homely and cozy, while a raised terrace allows a good all-round view of the garden.

Modern terrace

The design of the terrace should be based on the design of the house. Here the modern wooden decks are a good complement to the clear design

The size of the terrace should keep a reasonable proportion between the house and the garden. Too small terraces are narrow and difficult to furnish, too large terrace surfaces are quickly cool and uncomfortable, especially in winter when the garden furniture and plant pots are granted. Also consider in advance, for which purpose you want to use the terrace mainly. Should small children be able to play and crawl on it? Should there be room for a sunbed? Would you like to set up a lounge corner or rather a large dining table with barbecue or are you even planning an outdoor kitchen?

The orientation according to the course of the sun

The orientation of a terrace area is usually to the south or west, since there the sun yield is highest. South-facing terraces are the perfect place for sunbathers to relax, and the west terraces entice you with a warm evening sun after work. For those who especially have breakfast on the terrace, an east-facing terrace with morning sun is suitable. Unfortunately, one does not always have the opportunity to plan the placement of the terrace freely. Even shadows from trees and neighboring houses influence the light conditions individually, which must be taken into account in the design and planting.

The right decking

As a covering for the terrace, a variety of different materials are available: Wood, WPC (Wood Plastic Composites), concrete blocks, natural stone, ceramic tiles, clinker or gravel are the most common. Make sure when selecting the decking that it is weather-resistant and does not get too hot when exposed to sunlight. Also check the maintenance properties and requirements. Wood is a living material and therefore looks very natural, but needs to be treated twice a year. Plastic coating made of WPC is very easy to care for and quickly laid, but can easily be cheap and the product quality varies greatly.
Ceramic tiles and porcelain stoneware tiles are particularly easy to keep clean, but can be slippery, while natural stone tiles have a naturally textured surface, but can easily scratch, soil and splinter. Therefore, impregnation is recommended for these panels. Ornamental gravel is undemanding in terms of care and in many shades of color, but a veritable grunge magnet, similar to washed concrete slabs, which are inexpensive, but quickly moss set and barefoot due to their rough structure is not for everyone. When planning the terrace covering, also pay attention to its visual effect. The larger the plates, the quieter the floor, but the more difficult they are to be laid.

Terrace covering made of natural stone

Natural stone is slightly restless and therefore more suitable for small terraces

For a sufficient stability, the terrace needs a substructure made of wood or concrete. Depending on the decking, the structural conditions vary; for example, in the case of a ground-level terrace, the ground at the terrace site for the substructure must be raised a few centimeters deep. For heavy stone slabs, however, usually a flat gravel bed is sufficient.When screwing wooden planks, use stainless steel screws and nuts to prevent any ugly rust discoloration. Also plan the water drain through a slight incline or drainage grooves. How to build a wooden terrace yourself, we show you in our construction manual.

Large format plate flooring

Here, the large-format, sand-colored Plattenbelag exudes Mediterranean flair

Sun protection for the terrace

When it comes to sun protection, a whole range of solutions are available - starting with the classic awning with manual or automatic operation and the parasol, which can be flexibly placed. In addition, there are other modern or classic solutions for roofing terraces. An awning has a special, organic character and can be stretched as needed. When bracing, pay attention to a sloping course so that rainwater can run off. Anyone who has clear preferences for the tanning session can install a fixed roof over their terrace, for example made of glass and aluminum or wood. A pergola covered in wine, wisteria or clematis in the summertime provides a breezy but effective sunscreen.

Terrace with awning

An awning provides the necessary shade in the noon hours

The matching garden furniture

The furniture of the terrace should be as coherent as the equipment in the rest of the house. Combine natural materials such as wood or rattan and fabric for a homely flair. Tables made of glass and aluminum give clear structures and fit perfectly on stone floors. The space requirements of the furniture also play a role: Heavy teak or lounge furniture requires a large terrace as a frame, while a compact balcony set or a filigree bistro table is the right choice for small areas. No matter which furnishing taste you follow, look for harmonious combinations. Whether floral upholstery or white linen cover - there is a wide selection of patio furniture and accessories for every taste.

Terrace with lounge furniture

If you dream of comfortable lounge furniture, you should plan your terrace accordingly generously

Screen for the terrace

Due to dense buildings, terraces are unfortunately often visible from neighboring houses and gardens or passing paths. Then you need an additional privacy screen. This should be as space-saving and unobtrusive as possible, but at the same time not restricting the view from the terrace into the own garden too much. Here are wooden trellises, which not only prevent curious glances, but also the wind. Tall potted plants can be placed at the edge of the terrace for the same purpose. With a flowing transition from the terrace to the garden, tall flowering shrubs such as jasmine, lilac or chasteberry serve as a natural border. Another suitable privacy shield is bamboo. Planted in a narrow channel along the terrace side, it protects against wind and unwanted insights.

Plant the terrace

Depending on the direction of the sun, the sunlight on the terrace varies. This is the main clue after which you should choose the planting. There is a huge selection of sturdy balcony and tub plants in the specialist trade with different demands on light, location and care. Usually used for terrace greening one-year potted plants, which are renewed every year, or hardy woody plants such as Buchs or large ornamental grasses. Set in pots and pots, perhaps graded on a plant staircase, the flowering plants provide seasonal mood. Even high trunks in tubs have great ornamental value on the terrace.

Terrace with potted plants

The correct planting ensures color on the terrace

Fresh herbs in pots or boxes exude a spicy fragrance and can be used right away in the kitchen. Even fragrant roses, lilies or jasmine fill the air with their fine aroma. Foliage plants and grasses give the terraced planting structure and the eye a quiet point to linger. Caution: Mediterranean potted plants such as citrus trees or oleanders are only suitable for patio planting if you have the opportunity to overwinter the plants in the house. Tip: Include the greenery in the terrace design right from the start. For example, in the ground embedded planters can serve as a border. Even single, integrated into the pavement Minibeete make a lot on the terrace. Raised beds on the edge of the terrace can be used as a screen.

Create terraces properly

The trick in creating a terrace is the balance between privacy and openness. As a sociable, personal retreat, the terrace should offer the opportunity for undisturbed relaxation, but at the same time be so open that the garden can be overlooked and visited. Therefore, consider at what angle and at which height level you would like to create the entrances to the garden. Should there be a staircase or a door? Or is the terrace directly adjacent to the large playing lawn? Beautiful ideas for successful transitions we have summarized here for you.Do you follow special forms and clear contours with bedding and border borders, or do the individual elements flow directly into each other? Tip: If planning a new patio, visit the garden and public gardens. There you will see a number of different design variants implemented.

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