One of the things I love most about living in New York is catching little glimpses of outdoor spaces — somebody's patio or rooftop garden, little pockets of green within the city. Of course gardens are always lovely, but these city gardens seem especially precious because they are so rare, and especially verdant and inviting compared with the noise and bustle of the city. I've hunted down 11 beautiful city outdoor spaces, so whether you live in New York or not, and whether you have an outdoor space or not, you can experience this feeling, too.
Above: The rooftop of this Manhattan townhouse by Lubrano Ciavarra reveals a sweet little outdoor getaway, with a lawn as lush as any suburban backyard.
This Upper East Side townhouse by Rees Roberts (via Desire to Inspire) has a lovely, tucked-away little courtyard, and also a balcony at the second floor level where you can take a tea (or wine) and look down at the treetops of the little courtyard.
By Ben Pentreath (via Desire to Inspire), this patio may not be quite as large or luxurious as the previous, but it makes up for that with copious plantings. There's nothing quite like the feeling of being in the city but surrounded by growing things.
This dreamy Paris rooftop, set up for a summer wedding, was spotted on Refinery29.
The penthouse of Manhattan's Greenwich hotel, spotted on NY Mag, has a roof deck which features that rarest of New York City amenities: a private pool. It's available to rent, provided you're willing to shell out hundreds of dollars per night.
From Architectural Digest, here's an Upper East Side roof garden with sculptures, seating, and even citrus trees.
This San Francisco backyard, spotted on The Jungalow, has a much more casual feel, but no less of that urban-retreat appeal.
This tucked-away little French garden was spotted on Desire to Inspire.
The backyard of a Manhattan townhouse by Sawyer Berson provides a welcome respite from the city — and also an excellent place to play a little basketball.
This roof deck, spotted on Nuevo Estilo, has a stunning view of the rooftops of Cadiz.
These two roof decks, part of a design by Fractal Construction, via Contemporist, really play up the contrast between the city buildings and the softer lines of the greenery. Having a little garden retreat in the middle of the city — it really is the best of both worlds.
Can't get enough? Check out these 10 dreamy rooftop gardens.