One of the unexpected but nicest aspects of creating a rooftop garden in Chicago is that frequently the garden is enveloped in the urban canopy. This “borrowed scenery” provides a sometimes wild, sometimes quiet but always lush green backdrop to our work.

For our clients in the Southport Corridor neighborhood, their third-floor covered terrace provided just the setting for creating our version of the traditional Hawaiian lanai, a “covered veranda” exposed on 3 sides to allow airflow through the space and protection from the sun. Our lanai featured an expandable awning to shade the dining table and bar as needed, drapes in the windows to allow for airflow and privacy in the space (and add a charming touch), colorful planters and tropical plantings.

A hardwood built-in grill, TV, fireplace and sectional lounge furnishings round out the creature comforts, while porcelain tiles underfoot, an automatic irrigation system and landscape lighting make the space as maintenance-free as they come. And on a warm summer’s day, it’s not difficult to imagine yourself in the Hawaiian Isles!