10 Modern Rooftops For Summer Relaxing and Entertaining

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By Gabrielle Golenda / Published by Dwell
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With the weekend coming up and summer on our minds, the thought of relaxing on a rooftop is tempting, and inevitably magnetic. This is especially true if the rooftop is well-designed and accompanied by picturesque views.

From a residential rooftop with several outdoor gardening spaces to a supportive housing building in the Bronx with a green roof, we've compiled 10 examples of relaxing rooftop designs that offer a scenic refuge.

A Roof For Gardening in Canada

On the lower roof, cedar decking and flower beds define one of several outdoor gardening spaces. Part of her ongoing research into the livability of cities, Fitzgerald aimed to create landscaped areas that were "aesthetic, aromatic, educational, and productive." The deck is bordered by an expanded aluminum mesh railing and black metal corrugated panels.

On the lower roof, cedar decking and flower beds define one of several outdoor gardening spaces. Part of her ongoing research into the livability of cities, Fitzgerald aimed to create landscaped areas that were "aesthetic, aromatic, educational, and productive." The deck is bordered by an expanded aluminum mesh railing and black metal corrugated panels.

The hydroponic rooftop garden grows out of volcanic stones. The home is conceived as a giant C-shaped spiral.

The hydroponic rooftop garden grows out of volcanic stones. The home is conceived as a giant C-shaped spiral.

A Fermob table and chairs are on the rooftop terrace. "The weather is unpredictable, to say the least. You want to be outside but you don’t want to sit in the middle of a gale," says Duncanson. "But [at this house] you can always find a place that’s quiet."

A Fermob table and chairs are on the rooftop terrace. "The weather is unpredictable, to say the least. You want to be outside but you don’t want to sit in the middle of a gale," says Duncanson. "But [at this house] you can always find a place that’s quiet."

"We have all these different destinations," says Sardinas, a writer who works from her home office. "I’ll be working, get stuck on a passage, and take a break to go read outside." On the lower roof, red Vegetal chairs by Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec for Vitra provide moments for repose.

"We have all these different destinations," says Sardinas, a writer who works from her home office. "I’ll be working, get stuck on a passage, and take a break to go read outside." On the lower roof, red Vegetal chairs by Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec for Vitra provide moments for repose.

A rooftop oasis furthers the outdoor connection. It's planted with red fescue at the client's request for a wild and unmaintained look and an experience akin to "walking through a field."

A rooftop oasis furthers the outdoor connection. It's planted with red fescue at the client's request for a wild and unmaintained look and an experience akin to "walking through a field."

The roof became the perfect location for their vegetable garden, as well as benches and a recreation space crowned by a hot tub powered by a four-kilowatt solar array.

The roof became the perfect location for their vegetable garden, as well as benches and a recreation space crowned by a hot tub powered by a four-kilowatt solar array.

"In this project, we got so much benefit out of this "secret garden" for the master suite along with all of these environmental benefits that the residents were excited to embrace. It's one of the pieces we are happiest about," says Feldman. 

"In this project, we got so much benefit out of this "secret garden" for the master suite along with all of these environmental benefits that the residents were excited to embrace. It's one of the pieces we are happiest about," says Feldman. 

The Brook, a supportive housing building in the Bronx, occupies what had, for years, been a vacant lot. The green roof, pictured here, is one of a number of LEED-driven elements.

The Brook, a supportive housing building in the Bronx, occupies what had, for years, been a vacant lot. The green roof, pictured here, is one of a number of LEED-driven elements.

The roof deck is a place for entertaining, and offers scenic hillside views. During the design process, the team was challenged with preserving these views while adhering to the required 3.5-foot railing height mandated by building code, a height that would block all views while seated. As a solution, the team came up with open metal railings that would maintain safety while preserving the view.

The roof deck is a place for entertaining, and offers scenic hillside views. During the design process, the team was challenged with preserving these views while adhering to the required 3.5-foot railing height mandated by building code, a height that would block all views while seated. As a solution, the team came up with open metal railings that would maintain safety while preserving the view.

Two Harry Bertoia-designed chairs sit on the main third-story deck, which includes a hidden green roof that absorbs rainwater, cools the upper floors, and purifies the air. "It’s a nice little oasis on the roof, with plants that bloom at different times of year. The owners love spending time up there," Dubbeldam says.

Two Harry Bertoia-designed chairs sit on the main third-story deck, which includes a hidden green roof that absorbs rainwater, cools the upper floors, and purifies the air. "It’s a nice little oasis on the roof, with plants that bloom at different times of year. The owners love spending time up there," Dubbeldam says.

Shop For Your Modern Rooftop

Mix Fire Bowl by EcoSmart Fire
Mix Fire Bowl by EcoSmart Fire
Mix up the atmosphere of your courtyard, deck or patio with the EcoSmart Fire Mix Fire Bowl. This contemporary take on the outdoor fire pit is made out of durable yet lightweight fiberglass-reinforced concrete. It is also available in two sizes to add warmth and architectural style to any outdoor space. Customize with decorative stones or colorful fire glass around the burner.
-Written by Lumens | Lumens
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Sponsored by Lumens
Blaze Fire Towers
Blaze Fire Towers
Make your outdoor space everyone’s favorite hangout. Blaze Tower is the ultimate backyard or patio/deck accessory: an all-in-one outdoor fireplace, charcoal grill, and wood smoker. It's precision-cut from American steel three times thicker than imported fire pits, built in Kansas, and designed to endure a lifetime of outdoor use, all the time being seamlessly easy to assemble. And it’s sleek, eye-catching design is sure to make your outdoor space everyone’s favorite hangout and a new favorite piece of furniture that happens to cook the perfect rack of ribs.
-Written by Huckberry | Huckberry
Yard Hammocks from Yellow Leaf
Yard Hammocks from Yellow Leaf
Yellow Leaf hammocks elevate the art of relaxation to a science by taking a classic rope hammock and turning it into a “cocoon of comfort.” The soft, performance fibers are a lot smaller and stronger than on a regular hammock — and there are way more of them. In fact each hammock takes a full week to weave and consists of over 3 ½ miles (!) of fiber. Holds up to two people and a total of 400 lbs, and makes for a super-soft hammock that won’t leave any criss-cross rope imprints on your skin. Plus, it packs down easy into a duffel bag the size of a pineapple. Explore the whole collection here.
-Written by Huckberry | Huckberry
Acapulco Chair by Innit Designs
Acapulco Chair by Innit Designs
The Innit Designs Acapulco Chair is cool in more ways than one. Based on the original 1950s design, it has an open and airy yet ergonomic and supportive open weave vinyl seat inspired by traditional Mayan hammock weaving techniques. The pear-shaped seat and architectural steel frame give the chair a retro-modern aesthetic suitable both indoors and out.
-Written by Lumens | Lumens
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Sponsored by Lumens
RS# Folding Ping Pong Table by RS Barcelona
RS# Folding Ping Pong Table by RS Barcelona
The RS Barcelona RS# Folding Ping Pong Table is the perfect solution for the table tennis player with limited space. This full-sized and fully functional table features an HPL top and Iroko wood legs (both of which are safe for outdoor use). Once you've thoroughly trounced your opponent, both sides of the table fold up to fit in a space just 28 inches wide.
-Written by Lumens | Lumens
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Sponsored by Lumens
Dish of Desire Bird Feeder
Dish of Desire Bird Feeder
Treat your furry and feathered friends to a multi-course meal by adding food to each level of the feeder. Crafted from durable red cedar and aluminum, this simple design is clever, playful and functional, too.
-Written by AHA | AHA
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Sponsored by AHA
Modern by Dwell Magazine Hexagonal Concrete Planter
Modern by Dwell Magazine Hexagonal Concrete Planter
We believe that great modern design should extend to every part of our lives. That’s why we created an extensive number of products for our Dwell x Target collection—even accessories for both indoor and outdoor living. Case in point, the Hexagonal Concrete Planters are clean and graphic containers where you can pot your favorite greenery, either in a sunroom or out on the patio. It’s available in two sizes (small and large), both of which come in a natural gray hue and range from $69.99 to $89.99. The geometric shape allows for a variety of modular arrangements when multiples are grouped together.
-Written by Paige Alexus | Dwell
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Audio Pro's Portable Bluetooth Speakers
Audio Pro's Portable Bluetooth Speakers
The Audio Pro T3 is a true beauty and brains type of one-two punch. Meaning, it not only elevates your whole decor while it patiently sits on the coffee table — but it also packs a surprisingly detailed, room-filling sound into a speaker small enough to bring along in a backpack. The solid build, thick leather carrying strap, and metallic hardware are a perfect even-keeled mix of contemporary and iconic mid-century design. 30 hour battery life. All in all, a big upgrade for both your tunes and your living space.
-Written by Huckberry | Huckberry
Windfall Outdoor Wall Light from LBL Lighting
Windfall Outdoor Wall Light from LBL Lighting
Crisp lines and a slim profile combine in the Windfall Outdoor Wall Light to create a clean modern look. The indirect light bounces off the smooth, matte finish of the back plate to give off a beautiful glow
-Written by YLighting | YLighting
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Sponsored by YLighting
Delano Planter by Crescent Garden
Delano Planter by Crescent Garden
Serve up a big bowlful of modern design--along with plants--with the Crescent Garden Delano Planter. It is large bowl-shaped planter made out of rotation molded polymer resin. The largest size (34 inches) includes a special drainage plug system in the event you want to use the planter as a water garden or fountain instead.
-Written by Lumens | Lumens
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Bold Stripe Shag Indoor / Outdoor Mat by Chilewich
Bold Stripe Shag Indoor / Outdoor Mat by Chilewich
Show your stripes indoors and out with the Chilewich Bold Stripe Shag Indoor / Outdoor Mat. It features thick bright stripes and a cushy texture made out of specially tufted vinyl yarns. Use in the bathroom, entryway or on the patio for a durably fashionable look. Available in a variety of colors and two sizes.
-Written by Lumens | Lumens
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Sponsored by Lumens