For those of us who live in an apartment, balconies are pretty much the closest thing we have to a porch. It’s a good place to store a couple plants, enjoy a drink, or survey our kingdom. But you can definitely find porches in the middle of the city — you just might have to look up.
Located atop a six-story building in New York’s West Village is a 1,200-square-foot meadow and an accompanying home. Developer David Puchkoff lives there with his wife, Eileen Stukane. Following a visit to Pennsylvania several years ago, he decided he wanted a porch and hired an architect, structural engineer, and green-roof expert to help ensure the roof would neither leak nor collapse. The family actually lives in the top floor and own the whole building. A hole in the ceiling leads to the porch, courtesy of a set of stairs; its landing houses a little kitchenette and a door to the roof, according to The New York Times.
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Puchkoff sealed the roof with polyethylene and woven polyester and installed four layers of waterproof membrane. With the layers is a spongy substance that retains water for dry days. Underneath the seven inches of soil are drip lines that water the plants. A little polystyrene mound gives the illusion of a rolling hill.
The perfectly named Ed Snodgrass helped Puchkoff choose which plants would go in the meadow … all 2,200 of them. Regardless of weather, they insulate the building and absorb the rain. Most of them are sedums, which need little water and only shallow soil to thrive. There are a few other types of drought-tolerant plants as well. The result is a low-maintenance garden that mostly just requires regular weeding. Indeed, Puchkoff’s meadow is green. We wouldn’t blame you if you are too, with envy.