LandEscaping: Taking Refuge in the City on a Rooftop Garden Oasis

style-in-sky-rooftop-garden-oasis-Norman-McGrathPhoto by Norman McGrath from Rooftop Gardens: The Terraces, Conservatories, and Balconies of New York, Denise LeFrak Calicchio

The serenade of the city is hard to ignore, not to mention how it can affect our stress levels. With people bustling, smells wafting, and sounds buzzing, it can be hard to catch a breath of our own. Unwinding can start to feel like a sport. For urban dwellers without ground level outdoor space, creating a rooftop garden oasis can offer a soothing getaway for a respite from it all.

roof-garden-3Photo: Marie Viljoen, via Flickr. 

Green Refuge in the Sky
Of course, not everyone has a rooftop terrace of their own, but even having access to one in your building offers an opportunity to relax in a green space. These disused areas are just waiting for you to transform them into small escapes of peace and beauty. Whether you have one to design on your own, or get to work with neighbors, a rooftop garden is a creative investment in happiness.

Small-decked-rooftop-garden-oasis-jenny-bloom-garden-design-ukSmall rooftop garden design and photo, Jenny Bloom Garden Design.

What’s Your Lifestyle?
Begin by deciding on how you would like to use the the rooftop garden. Do you want this space to be a sanctuary in which to recapture your bliss when you return home from the city chaos? Do you see the space as a vibrant place for entertaining guests? Making these lifestyle and usage decsions are essential for developing the initial design.

If it’s seclusion you’re after, you’ll need more plant life to function as screening. If you are the quinesstial host, you may want a more open space for entertaining. Sketch up your dream design to pass on to a landscape architect, who will interpret your ideas and turn them into reality.

rooftop-garden-oasisPhoto: Sheraton Hotels via Flickr.

All Decked Out: Choosing the Materials
Part of the design process involves selecting materials, such as decking, often a popular choice for rooftop gardens as it’s easy to maintain and install, and adds more depth than bare concrete or flat roofing.

When it comes to color and material, you’ve got many choices. Specialist suppliers like Millboard not only offer a wide range of products but, they can also offer sound advice on which decking material best fits your needs.

Patio-Deck-Balcony-Design-in-rooftop-garden-oasis-tapjaPhoto via Tapja.

Decks with adjustable roof pedestals offer space below to conceal unsightlly pipes and cables. And for added safety, and there’s anti slip decking.

Creating a Living Space
Are you the theme type? Would you want to create a design scheme like desert oasis, tropic paradise, succulent sanctuary or native greenery? Dedicate time for sourcing the right flowers, plants and trees. Specialist garden centers are a great source. If you’ve dreamt of small trees for your garden getaway, before purchasing any, be sure to figure out the logistics of getting a tree to your rooftop. If access is a problem, make your life easier by starting small and letting your garden grow with time.

indulgy-rooftop-garden-oasis-deck-plastoluxPhoto: Plastolux via Indulgy.

DIY or Hire a Professional?
The sky may be the limit for a rooftop garden, but not usually for a budget. Some people are experienced enough to tackle a number of the required tasks involved in creating a rooftop getaway. You may be able to lay decking, install a chic birdhouse, and plant your favorite native flowers. But don’t worry too much if you don’t have the time or are not quite the Alan Titchmarsh of the rooftop garden world. Just hire someone. Hire insured professionals and request quotes from at least three landscaping firms, then make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

pull-tab-design-rooftop-garden-oasisNew York City rooftop gardens, design and photo by PullTab Design.

Sigh in the Sky
After all the planning, designing, sourcing, and some elbow grease, kick back and relax as your rooftop terrace welcomes you with open petals.

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