West Village Rooftop Terrace: A Lush Oasis Landscape in New York City

Rooftop Terrace
Rooftop Terrace

We created the feeling of depth and abundance in this cozy rooftop terrace through the use of layered plantings and staggered heights of plants and planters.

The client’s main objectives were to not make the terrace feel overly crowded and to avoid the hodge-podge effect she previously had with too many mismatched containers. We got rid of all the plastic and most of the terra cotta pots she had and created a more streamlined effect using grey fiberglass and dark brown ceramic pots. People often ask if their ceramic planters will crack in freezing conditions.  When choosing ceramic pots, the main thing to ask is whether or not they are made for outdoors.  The ones that are made for outdoors should have been fired at a high enough temperature to prevent cracking. This garden also features wicker furniture, grey fiberglass planters, dimpled Asian ceramics, and lush plantings of Japanese maples, junipers, dogwoods, rhododendrons, margarita vines, and flowering annuals. All of the planters contain automated drip irrigation and low-voltage lighting lines.

Pro Tip:


A small space will feel larger the less clutter there appears to be. Having lots of individual, free-standing planters and furniture in different styles can make the space feel smaller and more hodgepodge.  Pick 2-3 colors to work with and 2-3 textures and repeat those elements in different combinations to make the space feel more harmonious and well designed. I generally chose no more than 2-3 planter styles as well in any small garden.