The Best Outdoor Planters for Office Rooftops and Balconies

Posted by Jason Wyrwicz on Dec 16th 2020

As people start to return to work following the pandemic, outdoor spaces and zones for employees will become increasingly important. We can expect that employees will likely place a lot of importance on workplace comfort on their return.

The rooftops of office buildings and balconies present employers with an opportunity to create truly unique and comfortable zones for employees to enjoy. Access to fresh air and plant life, and a sense of nature at work is critical to employee health and morale.

In particular, numerous studies have shown that plants have several key benefits for employees, including reduced levels of stress, increased productivity, reduced sickness, and a boost in creativity.

This post will discuss what employers can do with plants and outdoor planters to create comfortable outdoor zones for their employees upon their return to work, whenever that might be. 

Jungle Vibes

building with plants

Creating a jungle for your employees is one quick way to earn some brownie points. Humans are naturally drawn towards nature, and nothing says nature quite like a jungle. The idea here is to create a jungle-type scene on the rooftop or your balcony but design it so people can still sit, relax, and socialize in the area.

The plants required to create a jungle include hanging plants like Swiss Cheese Vine and Hoya Plants. Add large dramatic floor plants, including Snake Plant, ZZ plant, and Lucky Bamboo. Finally, finish it off with some small jungle plants like Peperomia, Pilea, and Begonia "African Jungle."

When using hanging planters, go for self-watering pots that require less maintenance to make everyone's lives in the office easier. Big jungle floor plants are best suited to large outdoor planters like the Amsterdam Tapered Rectangular or Badalona. Small jungle plants are best suited to tabletop planters like the Short Hayden or Tabletop Collection

Minimal Comfort

balcony table

You don't need a jungle to create a relaxing and natural atmosphere. Minimalism is about only adding what's needed but retaining that sense of style and elegance. It's not busy, but it's not bare either.

Plants for minimal designs include Strelitzia Nicolai, Ficus, Monstera, and Cactus. These are gorgeous and striking plants but are neat and blend well into the minimalist decor. Smaller plants include small potted herbs, hanging String of Herbs, or the beautiful succulents.

Minimalist plant pots are often neutral in color and simple in shape and texture. For large plants, consider using the Valencia Round Pot, Milano Narrow Box, or Hayden Vase. Each is simple, elegant, and sophisticated. Smaller plants are easy to pot, and you can use almost anything to do it, such as old tin cans, painted plastic containers, or ceramic mugs. Get creative!

English Garden

rooftop garden

The earliest known English Gardens date back to the 1st Century AD. Today, the English are still incredibly proud of their gardens and is home to some of the most beautiful public gardens on the planet. It's easy to recreate the English garden style, whether on the balcony or the office's rooftop.

There are thousands of wonderful English plants to choose from, but no English Garden should be without Peachleaf Bellflower, Cottage Pinks, Geraniums, and Hollyhock. Each is a quintessential English flower that deserves a spot on your office rooftop garden or balcony. For something bigger, a Magnolia tree, Avondale, and Purpurea are all excellent options.

When it comes to outdoor planters for an English Garden, it's best to go traditional. Smaller plants are best suited to a pot like the Toulan Tall Square Planter, which looks great in any space and benefits from a classic shape with a modern design touch. Larger plants would be at home in something like the Alicante Tapered Fluted Planter, which is aesthetically striking and exudes sophistication and grandeur.

Veggie Garden

rooftop vegetable garden

Veggie gardens are becoming increasingly popular for office rooftops for two very simple reasons. Firstly, they provide the office kitchen and employees with fresh produce. Secondly, they help to improve the air quality of the local environment.

Creating a rooftop veggie garden is not as difficult as one might think. Using large custom metal planters, creating a layout that supports proper tending and maintenance work is easy. There’s no limit to what veggies can grow on the rooftop. Assessing what vegetables the office kitchen or employees use the most is a good start for making a list of what veggies to grow.

There are several benefits to having an office veggie garden beyond the eco-friendly factor. It will save the company money if there’s a working kitchen in the building. Growing your own veggies is significantly cheaper than buying them. Employees can get involved in the garden's tending and can be incentivized to do so with free produce. Teamwork spent in the garden will boost morale and strengthen colleague relationships.

Don't think you can do it? Check out these examples of rooftop gardens and urban farms that have popped up in New York City over the last decade.


green garden

Zen gardens are the perfect places to get away from the stress of the office and take a time out. Traditionally, zen gardens are a mindfulness practice for both the gardener and the visitors. Incorporating a zen garden to the rooftop of an office building could be the best chill-out zone imaginable.

Four core principles to follow are:

  1. Concealment - includes hidden places and winding paths, plus the thoughtful placement of small walls and bamboo.
  2. Asymmetry - there ‘ no need for perfect lines and shapes, just natural, flowing, and organic shapes. It should be natural, but not wild.
  3. Miniaturization - it should reflect a bigger landscape with rocks for mountains, smaller rocks as hillsides, and gravel as the ocean.
  4. Borrowed Scenery - a zen garden incorporates its surroundings as part of the design, so use should be made of surrounding buildings, trees, hills, or mountains.

A zen garden is a beautiful thing to create and maintain. Employees may want to get involved, and it could be the perfect escape from work to take some time for silence and practice mindfulness.

A part of zen gardens is to include specific plants and trees that have important symbolizations, such as bamboo, which represents strength through flexibility and teaches the zen principle of the "empty heart."

To contain bamboo and small trees like Plum or Cherry, you will need large outdoor planters or custom planters designed to give their roots the freedom they need. Planters such as the Northmoor Extra Large Planter or Old Elm Rectangular Planter would be suitable for the job, allowing the trees to thrive.


people in a grassy lobby

We can think about grassy balconies or rooftops in two ways: laid turf or ornamental grasses in pots.

Laid grass is a beautiful addition to any rooftop, allowing workers to sit on natural vegetation, soak up the sun, and enjoy their time away from the desk. You can lay grass in small to large areas, and this can usually be quite flexible. Rooftop grass, also known as "Green Roofs," are low-maintenance, and if cared for, they will look stunning and will be loved by all who use it.

Ornamental grasses include Blue Oat, Blue Lyme, Japanese Silver, and New Zealand Flax. Each has its aesthetic draws, but each adds a serious amount of drama and is guaranteed to turn heads. Ornamental grasses are also low-maintenance, provided you place them in big, deep pots or planters that give them a good, sizable home, such as the Old Elm Rectangular Planter or Tolga Modern Planter.

Secret or Private


Often, a company might share its balcony or rooftop with a neighboring company their employees. To help maintain a level of privacy, there are some great ways to hide your workers away to give them some peace and quiet.

Using height is the most obvious solution, and you can achieve this by using foliage to your advantage. Think climbing walls, thick trees, and hedges.

Bamboo is always a popular way to add privacy with its strong, thick, and dominating stature. Bamboo requires deep and long planters that will give its roots the room it needs to support its culms' rapid growth. The Badalona Planter Box is suitable for the job, or you may want to order some custom metal planters if you have a unique or challenging space to work with.

Hedges are low-maintenance but require large planters to live in like the Old Elm Rectangular Planters. You will need to prune them every so often to ensure they grow big and healthy. You will reap the rewards once they provide you with privacy and an effective sound block.

Thinking about creating office rooftop and balcony gardens? Browse our extensive range of large outdoor planters and create a visually stunning and comfortable space for employees. Check out our wholesale planter program for some great planters for less.

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