A Garden in the Sky: Reconnecting a Family with Nature

Set along a traditionally shaded and quiet street in the Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, this spectacular urban dwelling left a young family longing for a connection to nature.


Seeing the treetops and Lake Michigan from their windows was just not satisfying enough. Our solution was to create a garden on their 800 square foot rooftop- replete with trees, grasses and flowering perennials.  The challenge for us, however, was to make it completely mobile so when the roof needs repair or replacement in the future, our entire garden could be lifted up and stored away. 


photo of rooftop looking east

Accessed from an interior stair from the family’s apartment below, the design called for comfort and an easy elegance. The palette we chose is simple; IPE flooring, raised aluminum planters, stainless steel cabinetry topped off with a concrete countertop, a new steel and IPE railing along the parapet wall, quaking aspens, boxwoods, upright ornamental grasses and low sedum groundcover. 


sketch of proposed design looking south


sketch of proposed design looking northeast

When the project is complete, the family will enjoy lounging, dining, entertaining, and grilling, all the while surrounded with beautiful plantings, displaying season interest and contrasting textures. Currently the project is in for permit, completion is scheduled for Summer 2014.

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In Search of Shade in Sunny Southern California

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We Chicagoans seek out the sun at the first signs of spring.  We walk on the sunny side of the street and rush past shadows created by tall buildings.  We long to feel the heat of the sun on our … Continue reading

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