Behind the Design | Carroll Gardens Rooftop

Cold and gray: That's the best way to describe both the weather and the space on the initial site visit for this rooftop garden project. Our client wanted a new outdoor space that would feel like a true extension of their home. They wanted to transform the bland and barren rooftop into a place where they could grill, lounge, and entertain.

Originally, the space had only cage-like metal fencing, plain walls, and concrete pavers. 
What the rooftop lacked in character, it made up for in spades with skyline views. 

Key Issues

  • No existing plantings

  • Unattractive metal fencing

  • Limited privacy from neighbors

  • Empty, unplanned space


With the ultimate blank canvas on our hands, we were excited to develop a design that would add beauty and functionality to the rooftop.


The Design

To help make the rooftop the ultimate entertaining space, we designed an outdoor kitchen complete with a grill, refrigerator, and beer tap. We used Ipe wood for the facing because it is both fire-proof and long-lasting and a custom-poured concrete countertop for a modern look that tied into the existing space.

A construction detail of the new outdoor kitchen area. 

We chose clear cedar built-in planters to connect with the new cedar cladding for the metal fences and planted them with low-growing flowering perennials and grasses so that the the skyline views wouldn't be obstructed, even when someone was seated. We dedicated one planter next to the outdoor kitchen to cooking herbs.

The planting plan. 
The final design plan. 

The Finished Garden

A view of the outdoor kitchen and dining area. 
Looking from the kitchen/dining area out to the lounge area and the skyline views beyond. 
Modern lounge chairs and views of downtown Manhattan with the budding plants.