The Outsider: Lush Rooftop in Park Slope


    WELCOME TO THE OUTSIDER, Brownstoner’s weekly look at the ways Brooklynites design and utilize their outdoor living spaces. Written and produced by Cara Greenberg, you’ll find it here Sundays at 8AM.


    FOR A CLIENT who wanted a Mediterranean feel on her apartment building’s rooftop, Glenn Smith of Glenn Smith Design, Inc., built a deck and shade structure reached by an elevated ‘bridge’ over an 8-foot-wide pond. Then he surrounded them with an eclectic assortment of grasses, succulents, and conifers.

    The building is new construction, so weight bearing was not a significant issue, says Smith, who works mainly in Brooklyn and on the east end of Long Island. The surface of the 400-square-foot garden is covered with pea gravel, and there’s a walk made of round red concrete paving stones 12″ in diameter — the kind “you would find in a suburban backyard,” Smith says. “It’s supposed to be fun, casual, and comfortable.”

    The budget? Approximately $25,000, including construction, plants, and Smith’s design fee.

    Details and photos of the roof’s 2-year transformation after the jump.

    Photos: Glenn Smith

    Above, shortly after installation. The wedge-shaped shade structure, made of plantation mahogany with a top of cedar lattice, is used for dining and relaxing. 


    The bridge traverses a store-bought pool made of heavy plastic, which houses a variety of bog plants and reeds. 


    A generous section of wood decking was left open to the sky. 


    Evergreens in planter boxes include Hinoki cypress and junipers. Smith also planted a weeping cherry in shrub form and a Japanese maple, as well as lavender, sedums, and grasses. The supporting columns of the shade structure were left bare. Vines on rooftops are difficult, Smith says. “They tend not to like containers very much.”


    A mere two years later, above, things have gone from bare to lush. 


    The bulkhead on the left houses the staircase which allows access to the roof from the owners’ triplex apartment below. 


    A bog plant in flower in the pond, above, which is also home to about a dozen goldfish. 


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