For the City of Chicago’s inaugural urban gardening show, “Garden in a City”, CSG was invited to design, construct and install a rooftop garden. Our design paid tribute first to the city’s architectural heritage, with the Chicago River symbolized by a meandering, pebble-strewn streambed. The “river” terminated at “Moscou II “, a steel sculpture by artist Joel Perlman, characterizing a city skyscraper which typifies the raw strength so often associated with Chicago. A backlit, sanded plexiglass screen provides a dramatic backdrop for the piece.

A rusted metal bridge spans the streambed, and Chicago’s green spaces are symbolized by the raised boxes planted with trees, shrubs and perennials.

While the installation paid tribute to Chicago’s architectural history, it also outlined a vision of the future of rooftop living. Sophisticated lounge seating; grilling and food prep areas; an audio system and dining room furnishings; an overhead shade pergola, wicker screen and patterned marble flooring all demonstrated the limitless rooftop garden possibilities using current products, materials and technologies. Hidden drip irrigation keeps plant materials watered on a scheduled basis. Low-voltage landscape lighting lends an overall glow to the evening garden; LED light strips illuminate narrow openings in the wicker screen ornament; and “egglight” pond lights flicker against plant materials, pebbles and the fantail goldfish swimming lazily by.

The installation is anchored by the generous use of clear cedar which has been sealed to protect against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Desert Sunset pebbles placed throughout the display provide visual continuity.

Our work was rewarded with a 1st place award by the three internationally recognized landscape architect judges.

Photography ©2006 Linda Oyama Bryan. Used by permission.