The views from our client’s rooftop in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood truly define “high-rise” living, surrounded as it is by numerous residential structures which tower over it. To define the space and create a feeling of security and enclosure, we built a heavy, solid wooden pergola for the family dining area and draped a shade fabric assembly from its beams. Lots of plants in containers create “walls” and soften hard lines, while panels of 3Form recycled acrylic with an embedded grass pattern serve as wind and visual screens on top of the parapet wall.

The clean, modern lines of this garden are achieved by avoiding clutter and working with a minimalist approach to furnishings and materials. Sightlines and traffic flows are kept open. A limited number of colors are employed, creating a sense of calm and serenity. A large wooden sculpture of log ends mimics the decorative pebbles beneath it and centers the western third of the deck, while synthetic turf and plantings anchor the eastern deck. All-weather furnishings by Dedon are comfortable but not excessive. Zinc planters by Domani and decorative blue pebbles tie together visually, and the gray-blue sky is reflected in the glass-topped table. Planting pots, re-imagined as water features, create movement.

The result is an expansive garden for family gatherings, entertaining or simply enjoying life above the city streets.