Published: August, 2019

Biophilic design - the new way to enhance roof terraces and city life

Getting close to nature is one of the joys of landscaping - for designers and clients alike. We all know a green, outdoor setting lifts the spirits, promotes wellbeing and provides a constant source of pleasure and inspiration.

In our increasingly urban world,  fewer and fewer people have much daily connection with greenery or natural water.

That’s why roof top terraces are such a vital and popular aspect of modern inner-city living, and have such an important environmental role to play.

Up high above the streets, terraces offer so many opportunities to combine features of light, air, water and plant life. And given the technology and systems available, great terraces have never been easier to create. Sophisticated systems for decking, planters and edging can combine to produce spectacular and environmentally beneficial results.

To take these connections to the natural world further, some landscape architects are now exploring the principles of biophilic design, a relatively new school of thought which stresses people’s innate and deep-seated need to incorporate nature into modern environments. One of the best examples of biophilic design is the High Line in New York, a former train line that has been converted to a park teeming with plants, shrubs and various forms of vegetation.

The biophilic movement originated in the States just over a decade ago, driven by the Living Building Challenge, a green building design and certification programme. Although initially focusing on interior design, it quickly embraced landscape design too.

Biophilic landscaping has many strands but essentially the designer is encouraged to mimic nature. This means making as much use as possible of light, air, water, plants and providing natural landscapes and ecosystems that can support animal life.


Kinley’s range of systems and products are ideally suited to help landscapers achieve these biophilic effects. Natural timber decking areas and AluExcel aluminium edging can help shape and encourage a new landscape’s ecosystem. And our planters and benches accommodate multiple forms of plant life and vegetation, perfect for mimicking nature.

Corten weathering steel, which is often included in Kinley projects, is also great for blending well with outdoor designs. It’s bang on the money too with biophilic design philosophy, which likes to incorporate into landscape design things that age, change and acquire what theorists call the patina of time.

Corten certainly ticks those boxes, whether it’s used for bordering, retaining walls and raised flowerbeds, or a whole range of water features. And as CorTen absorbs high levels of Co2, there are verifiable environmental benefits too.

If you’d like to know more about your designs can get closer to nature, please come and talk to our Kinley experts.

Whether you are an architect, designer, quantity surveyor, estimator or contractor, we can support you through the process of selecting the right Kinley products.

As well as technical support, we have a number of free resources available to help you throughout the design, construction and installation process.  Don’t forget that samples can be requested in the post, or picked up in person from the new Kinley showroom in the heart of Clerkenwell. 


Kinley provides innovative and superior quality products to create inspiring gardens and outdoor places people enjoy.

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