The Ultimate List Of Must Have Modern Rooftop Amenities

    by Brandon Reed / April 25, 2018

    Amenities attract users of the spaces we design. We know this to be fact. If it wasn’t for the amenities offered in student or high-end mixed use housing, for example, most of appeal and value added to the developments would fall flat (for the interior and exterior). Here’s our list of the current “must have” amenities in modern rooftop development.

    Fire Pits With Built In Seat Walls

    Firepits - there’s just something really special about the mood and ambience a fire pit brings to an outdoor space, especially when you consider the various design styles you can implement. Creating zones for outdoor seating around fire not only gives your tenants and guests a really great space to relax and enjoy each other’s company, but allows your outdoor space to be utilized virtually year-round, extending the value and attention your outdoor space should receive.


    Pools are great and always desirable. It is eye candy, and every person in the world has come to expect them in most communities. Even though they are not usually the most used amenity in any given development, they sell apartments and housing of any kind - from single family to student housing to luxury hotels and resorts - but more important, they bring people together.

    Hot tubs

    In a student housing community, this is surprisingly the most popular and most used amenity you could ever incorporate. In other communities and developments, hot tubs are a must have as well. They bring people together at night when most people are ready to relax from a long day, and they have year round appeal. They add even more value in the winter months when there isn’t much else to do because of the blistering cold (depending on where you live, of course. In Utah and surrounding area states, this is especially true)

    Spaces for court games (pickleball)

    Gone are the days of playing full court tennis game… for the majority of people in a mixed use development, that is. Now you can still get the same feeling by playing a game of pickleball with less commitment to time in a smaller space. It's a much faster-paced game and more closely harmonizes our fast paced lives.


    This game originated in the college tailgate and bar scene, but its popularity quickly grew. Now, this is one of the go-to games desired for outdoor fun and relaxation. Cornhole is a low commitment bean bag game that you can enjoy for five minutes or five hours. It’s an easy and relaxing game that brings friends together.

    Bocce Ball

    This is a more sophisticated and slower game, but still very popular among groups of people. Combine this with food, drinks, and a nice fire billowing in the background with some luxurious and comfortable furnishings, and you’ve got the perfect evening activity!

    Lounge Spaces, Resort Seating, & Cabanas

    Lounge spaces are always a hit, and if designed properly can add extreme value to the space. With super sleek and comfortable seating, surrounded by elements of lighting, shade, and privacy, you have the perfect combination of relaxation, comfort, and fun. These spaces are where you can really spice things up by adding furnishings with bright colors and cool accents that will differentiate your property. Embrace the fun of furnishings and make them relaxing, luxurious, comfortable, and super sexy.

    BBQ Islands with Bar Seating

    Every outdoor space in a mixed use development needs a place to grill and relax with others. These spaces are fantastic opportunities for gathering with friends and catching up in conversation.

    Half-Court Basketball

    Ready for quick game of hoops with your friends? Half-court basketball is a quick and popular way to play and have some fun. The courts are small enough that you don’t need to make a big commitment to time or space.

    Hammocks, Hammock Gardens, Parks With Vertical Poles

    People love great places to chill out and relax. What better way to relax than a group of hammocks? Hammock gardens or pole parks are making their way into the hearts of all millennials. They add an architectural component in any landscape. Combine them with really cool turf mounding where you can connect your hammock in between a series of poles. This also gives you the ability to hook up at different locations within the hammock garden. Use shade structures and canopies, combined with shade trees, to make a truly unique experience.

    Shade Canopies and Structures

    You can’t get enough shade in an outdoor space, surprisingly. In any outdoor space, you need to add shade opportunities of some kind to provide relief from the sun. Whether you’re playing sports, taking in the view, meeting with friends for dinner, or enjoying some rest by the pool, shade structures add an architectural component of interest in the landscape but also serve to add a human scale to the vast outdoor spaces that exist. if they’re placed in courtyards or more confined areas where you have above grade floors with windows, psychologically you want to shield yourself from over head onlookers.


    Technology is at the forefront of our human experience, and with that comes the need to be tied the world online. Having Wifi in your space is a great amenity that will be sure to add value to the experience. Being connected to wifi enables people to stay connected to their friends and family, and even do business at their convenience while relaxing in these spaces.


    Always desirable in an outdoor setting is a great and inspiring music soundtrack. This adds to the feel of the surrounding outdoor spaces whether at a hotel pool area, an outdoor fire pit, or relaxing in a lounge space. If you can provide ways for users of the space to have a sense of control of the music types, volume, etc., it’s an even better experience.

    Cool Lighting

    Most people enjoy outdoor amenities towards the evening hours after they’ve worked a long hard day. Lighting is great functionally, but even better because of the ambience and moods it can create. whether you’re walking along a path with sleek lighting to guide your way, standing amongst up-lit trees, enjoying dinner with bistro lighting, or lounging in luxurious spaces, lighting provides a wonderful experience that makes the space you’re in truly unique.

    Charging Stations

    Adding plenty of charging stations and outdoor electrical outlets to keep you plugged in, even though you’re probably in a cool outdoor space to unplug (pun intended), allows you to keep your devices charged and ready to go. It also allows visitors the opportunity to work while enjoying the outdoor space if necessary.  This is critical for young people and business professionals alike, so why not provide these plugins throughout your spaces, like seating locations, fire pits, BBQ areas, shade structures, cabanas, and more.

    Use this as the master list for outdoor amenities when selecting what features you are putting into your new developments.

    Want more? Download our guide: An Architect’s Playbook to Competitive Rooftop Amenities

    Tags: Rooftop Amenity Design Green Roof Design Outdoor Amenities Landscape Architecture Amenities Rooftop Amenities

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    Brandon Reed

    Brandon Reed

    I help top level architects and developers create landscapes that elevate the human experience.

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