Terrace Design NYC – Rooftop Deck Gets Zen Treatment

Image of roof deck with custom wood panels, planters filled with lush annuals and perennials.

We designed this rooftop garden for a yoga studio on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The planters are filled with beautiful, sinuous Japanese maples that were hand-selected for grace and form.  A soft green layer of moss tops all of the planters, adding a wonderful finishing texture evocative of a forest floor.  The custom-built wood deck, planters, bench, and fencing are stained a warm and inviting reddish-gold color. This garden also contains coral bark maples, a Zen/rock garden, and many flowering perennials that attract butterflies.  All of the planters contain drip irrigation lines that water the plants on an automatic timer.  Low-voltage lighting lines run through all of the planters as well, providing soft nighttime up-lighting of the plants.  What a beautiful spot to practice yoga, relax and feel blissful!

Pro Tips for Rooftop Terrace Gardens:


The intense sun, wind, and freezing temperatures on a rooftop can be a full zone or two different than that on the street down below. Notice which side of the building your garden falls on and approximately how many hours of sun per day it receives so you know whether the plants you can grow should be for full sun, full shade, or something in between.


Buy smaller-leaved plants that won’t get torn apart by the wind. Plants should also be able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Conical-shaped trees tend to do better than lollipop-shaped trees, and they won’t get blown over by the wind.  Also, trees with multiple stems tend to do better than single-stem trees and lower-growing, spreading trees like Japanese maples tend to do better than trees that grow extremely tall.

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