A NYC Rooftop Garden with a Front Porch & Screen Door That Slams

Architect, Lawrence Tobe gave a Manhattan couple a ‘second home’ on the roof of their townhouse.

Front porches on a rooftop garden are hardly the norm in high-rise Manhattan, nor are a rooftop meadow. The owners of this downtown home in New York City, David and Eileen Puchkoff decided they wanted to duplicate the peaceful calm they enjoyed when visiting a friend’s lakefront home with a porch. They didn’t want to buy a second home so instead, they looked up… to their roof.

Daughter, Masha, relaxes on the porch with the Sunday Times

“They wanted a folly, something to take him away from New York,” said their architect, Lawrence Tobe of Anchorette, Inc. said. “I’ve done some roof terraces, but nothing that cool.”

The porch is constructed over a hole created in the ceiling of the family’s loft where they installed a stairway to connect to the rooftop. Inside the rooftop house is a landing with a galley-like kitchenette, two paned windows and a door that opens to the porch on the roof.

Roof Facts


  • This 1,200-square-foot meadow is planted with thousands of sedums, which love the heat and dry weather. (When it rains, they absorb water like a sponge.)
  • They grow here in about seven inches of a lightweight soil mixture of expanded shale and compost which does not strain the weight-bearing capacity of the roof.
  • A series of liners prevent both root penetration and water leakage. Drip irrigation lines, used only when needed are snaked beneath the soil layer. The 2,200 plants, shipped from Emory Knoll Farms, which specializes in green-roof nursery plants in northern Maryland were planted in three days by the family and friends.
  • The benefits of a green roof are many: the plants insulate the building from heat in summer and cold in winter, and they reduce storm-water runoff by absorbing rain.

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