David Winston: Urban Roof Deck Design Trends

City living often means a reduction in outdoor garden space overall. But for those city-dwellers fortunate enough to have a roof deck or terrace, a well-designed green sanctuary will be appreciated by any homeowner and their guests gathering for a barbecue or after-work cocktails this summer. Limited space is often the impetus for creative garden design achieved by using various planters in different colors and materials and filled with seasonal flowers and plants. In general, to make a dramatic impression on a roof deck or terrace, our designers at Winston Flowers are arranging and utilizing materials in repetition, pairing containers in twos (rather than in odd number groupings), planting short plants in tall pots and integrating pops of color with vibrant, playful containers often in neutral spaces. 

For this urban roof deck in Greenwich, a completely neutral space framed with stone and grey woods, we added two contemporary Domani Axel Pots in bright orange. The florals in the pots are similar in color which makes the detailing on the pots even more dramatic. Looking closely, you can see the pot’s silver rim detailing and black matte interior. Don’t plant over a pot’s detailing. You want to be able to see in the pot, which looks great year round either empty or full of plants.

winston flowers urban garden design

All photos courtesy of Winston Flowers

These electric blue containers are equally stunning, as they stand out from the wooden deck and black steel railings of this outdoor space in Boston. The size of the pots is accentuated by the low, single variety of flowers planted in each of them. One of my favorite looks is using a limited amount of bright, bold colors that complement one another, while contrasting nicely with the nearby zinc containers and other surrounding materials.

winston flowers roof top garden design

This urban sanctuary in Back Bay intentionally incorporates a limited color palette of whites and blues. This monochromatic color scheme contrasts with the natural colors of the teak and rattan furniture. The white planters are used repetitively, in various sizes, shapes, and forms. The tall planters with shorter shrubs provide for a dramatic backdrop against the home itself and help to frame the space, drawing your attention to the furniture grouping and then the spectacular view beyond. You don’t want the design to compete with the view; you want create a peaceful place to admire it.  

winston flowers roof deck garden design

This outdoor terrace in Back Bay is ultra-modern with its clear glass panels and steel framing. The surrounding buildings not only provide a stunning backdrop but inspired our color choice as well. When designing a space like this, you are easily reminded of the impact that your surroundings will have on your vision. We were intentionally simple and focused with our design scheme here. We used grey zinc containers exclusively and integrated one color, the blue salvia flowers, inspired by the blue tinted glass from the building in the background. The repetitive look is one I really love: modern, dramatic and impressive.

winston flowers rood deck garden design

This South Boston roof deck was retrofitted with all Domani zinc containers that weather nicely and some of which offer additional seating on the deck. Form, function and adaptability were very important to this homeowner. Here, we used containers to complement the aesthetic of the building itself. The combination of grey with woody, earth-tones and the brick buildings next door make for a very unified urban approach that’s minimalist in its design.  The client asked that we utilize different greens and textures for plantings so we used a variety of herbs and succulents in the containers.

winston flowers rood deck garden design

For those homeowners who have the luxury of abundant outdoor space and are committed to sustainability and green practices, why not consider planting a rooftop vegetable garden? Think beyond traditional plants and flowers with a garden that offers fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits throughout the summer. On this rooftop deck in South Boston, we created a tiered garden of vegetable plants in varying heights, colors and textures, and the garden’s frame was made entirely of wood to offset the outdoor furniture. We filled zinc containers with the client’s favorite herbs and strawberries to be enjoyed freshly picked or in the kitchen, located just steps away.

david winston roof deck garden design

—David Winston

David Winston is the CEO and Co-Owner of Winston Flowers. Their clients, the seasons, and the surroundings in which each homeowner lives inspire Winston’s garden design projects. In addition to their garden design work, Winston Flowers is well known for their unique floral arrangements and plantscapes. 

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