This shady rooftop terrace, located in Manhattan’s West Village, was designed with a beautiful grey composite deck, wood fencing, a pergola, and an outdoor Shoji screen. Composite decking has come a long way and can have a very high quality looking finish like this one. The benefit to using composite wood is that it is rated for fire safety. NYC fire code allows no more than 20% of the floor surface to be made of combustible materials on a roof. Our client also wanted to cover an unattractive cinderblock wall, but she didn’t want to spend a fortune on a custom-built fence. The Shoji screen adds an exotic touch and is a less expensive fencing option, due to the use of the grey Sunbrella fabric panels, than a solid wood fence. For the planters, we used red ceramic and grey fiberglass pots filled with a lush, shade-tolerant mix of hollies, cherry laurels, bamboo, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, a red Japanese maple, and rose-of-Sharon. All of the plants are watered on an automatic drip irrigation system. Nighttime illumination is provided by low-voltage up-lighting that runs through the planters. One of the biggest challenges to this roof garden project was the intense shade cast on all sides by taller neighboring buildings. We picked plants that would do well in shade and survive in containers throughout the seasons for many years to come.