Of course we all know the age old wisdom of measuring twice and cutting once. As a designer I am used to measuring the ground, tree circumference, A/C foot print and other obstacles that we need to work around. I draw out what needs to be measured and Shawn with his trusty laser measuring tool sets out to get all the numbers. Generally an inch here or there doesn’t make a difference.


This wonderful tool makes life much smoother when you are out on a hot day taking measurements.

Last summer we designed a roof top garden for a very nice young couple. They had an outdoor sofa and that was about it.They wanted more seating and more greenery. They looked over a big pool in the complex and faced east so got bright morning sun. It felt very harsh up there on the third floor. One wall looked onto the blank stucco face of the neighboring building and reflected back a lot of light and heat. This seemed like a good place to add large planters. We all decided custom build planters with trellises would be the best. So we measured the space and between the columns.


Before, do you see the caps on the columns?

On this project the couple bought a design. This included sourcing furniture and suggested a lay out  and ideas they could implement as their budget allowed. I included lots of photographs and a color scheme with shades of blue to make the space feel cooler and go with the surrounding architecture. I found a great little hanging fountain and suggested some ceramic planters in shades of deep blue. I found sources for outdoor rugs that went with the accent pillows on the couch etc.roof top design

Fitting the slats.

Fitting the slates.

One of our crew is a good carpenter and welder. He loves it when we do custom work for clients. He took our measurements and made the best looking planters. Each planter has a metal liner with holes in the bottom to add to the longevity of the cedar. We cut a piece of screen to fit the bottom before adding the potting soil mix.

Once they were all done we set out to take them up three flights and install them on the roof top patio. And they looked lovely up there. But they wouldn’t fit between the columns. We didn’t think about the screens and the cap of the columns. It was not a happy moments! We went ahead and planted them so the clients could decided if they could live with it or not. But in the end the client and I decided really it would always bother us. We want to leave with everyone happy at the end of each job. So of course we made it right! IMG_20140806_154920 - Copy

Beautiful cedar planters each two inches too big!

We took new measurements and decided on an additional two inches so we had room to play with. This time they slide between the posts perfectly. We took away the original planters and they are now happily obscuring the view of a shed in my son’s back yard. I would have loved to have room for them here at Ravenscourt but we are pretty full up.

Second try!

Take two! It was late afternoon so the shadow made it hard to photograph.

This was a hard lesson or should I say expensive one. Thankfully the clients were very understanding!

Happy Gardening!

P.S. The home owner just sent me this picture. They are very pleased : )