We’re often asked to design outdoor common spaces for co-op apartment buildings in New York City. Spaces like this rooftop garden are meant to be enjoyed by multiple groups of people who live in the apartment building at the same time. In this situation, it’s crucial that we create the feeling of separate outdoor rooms so people have separate spaces designated for dining, seating, lounging, relaxing, and entertaining. While total privacy is pretty much impossible in a space such as this, it’s important to create buffers between the various rooms that give people a sense of having their own personal space. We accomplish this through the placement of furniture, planters, and architectural features such as pergolas that can help create a sense of intimacy within even the largest communal space.
When creating outdoor rooms, it’s a good idea to think about defining the space in much the same way as you would the interior of your home. You want to dining furniture to feel like an outdoor dining room, the seating area to feel like an outdoor living room, and the plants and planters are like living paintings or accessories that help add warmth and color to the space.