Imagine hanging out in this roof garden in the middle of Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood at night with a group of friends. Illuminated both by the lights of nearby skyscrapers and up-lighting in the planters, this roof garden is quite the urban oasis. It features lightweight aluminum decking, ipe planters, an ipe and metal pergola, and ipe benches with built-in storage under the seats. Few woods can match the natural beauty of ipe (pronounced ee-pey), a hardwood with a 30-year life expectancy. Plantings include coralbark maples, hornbeams, pink cherry trees, crape myrtles, and feather grasses. The planters include LED up-lighting and automated drip irrigation lines. The aluminum decking conforms to NYC fire code, which doesn’t allow more than 20% of a roof deck to be made of combustible materials. This roof deck is very exposed to wind, sun, and extreme temperatures, so the biggest challenge was picking plants that are rugged enough to withstand these tough conditions.