THE ZEN OF ROOF GARDENS

New York City has countless roof gardens, terraces, and balconies. Here's an opinion on the garden as a rooftop sanctuary.

Look aloft, to the top of the buildings… a roof garden design is outward looking, a designed sanctuary high up on top of a building, sometimes with an endless panorama, a bright, beautiful, and open sky above it.  Most appropriately, it fits today’s city dweller with their overscheduled, time challenged lives. 

 View of moonrise from Noho roof garden designed by Todd Haiman Landscape Design

View of moonrise from Noho roof garden designed by Todd Haiman Landscape Design

For many, traveling to a city park takes a 1/2 hour or longer to embrace nature; walking up a flight of stairs or out their side door to a shared or private roof garden designed and built by their landscape designer is but seconds away and “immediately gratifying.” A place to look at and admire the blue skies at day and heavens at night. It is a place to relax and re-energize, a place to reflect and even to pray. We enjoy company and serve them meals below the heavens; illuminate our garden space with lights and torches for ambiance at dusk.  

Houzz recently featured an article on Todd Haiman Landscape Design. We transformed a bare rooftop into a serene, city escape.

Maybe the roof garden is a holy place.  Maybe it hasn’t changed much---its essence is arguably the same as it was 6,000 years ago.  People escalated themselves, or surrounded themselves on this (mostly) raised platform to reach another plateau, physically higher and spiritually greater. 

 Illustration of a ziggurat

Illustration of a ziggurat

One could argue that there isn’t any difference between the priests of Ur in Mesopotamia ascending the ziggurat to its apexical temple and the urban dweller that uses his/her roof garden to unwind and meditate.  Roof gardens can be intensely private spaces, essentially... sanctuaries.