Rooftop veggie garden next condo amenity
Written by Nina Lincoff on July 30, 2014
Cassa Brickell, a development from the Solution Group, is to break ground at its Brickell site in October. But the boutique 81-unit residential development will have something that isn’t commonly seen in Miami – a rooftop vegetable garden.
The vegetable garden at Cassa Brickell follows similar installations at hotels and developments across the world and follows other landscape design elements like the hanging gardens at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. The 900- to 1,100-square-foot garden is to be on the south side of the property on the roof terrace. Different containers are to grow at least five vegetable and herb species, with help from La Petite Fleur Miami, a Miami-based floral and landscape design company that counts the Raleigh Hotel, MC Kitchen and the Cypress Room as clients.
The 10-story building already reports 55 units sold and expects to be close to 60 or 63 sold at ground breaking. Twenty-two different floor plans are available across the 201 SW 17th Road development’s 81 units. Nine of those units will be either penthouses or townhouses.
The rooftop terrace and garden add to the Miami landscape in a way that the developer felt was missing.
“We wanted cosmopolitan Miami to join all these cities in a new way of conceptualism and urbanism,” said Camilo Lopez, president of the Solution Group.
The garden takes advantage of one of Miami’s best assets – the weather – and creates a different way for residents to interact with their space. Instead of simply entering the lobby and heading up to an apartment, residents can now plant, grow and eat vegetables, fruits and herbs all on their rooftop terrace.
“One very unique aspect of living in the city versus that of living in the country is that you can’t plant vegetables which you can use at home,” Mr. Lopez said. Ideally, more rooftop gardens will change that.
“We have such a great environment here in Miami. We have year-round beautiful weather for the most part,” said Simone Stark, owner of Le Petite Fleur Miami. “There are other cities that don’t have the type of weather we have, and they’re using their rooftops,” Ms. Stark said. The Cassa Brickell project is one of the first projects in Miami with a rooftop vegetable garden.
“It’s starting to put Miami on a map where other cities already are. It may feel like we’re playing catch-up a bit, but I think it’ll be easy for us to do it,” Ms. Stark said.
Developers wanted the concept of a boutique development and home to fit together. The rooftop terrace incorporates as many of those elements as possible.
“That summer kitchen you see in home design magazines, Cassa Brickell brings that to Miami. It has a summer feeling,” Mr. Lopez said.
For residents, a rooftop garden, and one they can have a say in and help cultivate, will only help to create a sense of place.
“Not only are they living in their building, but they’re interacting with the environment. It gives them a sort of ownership as well as a sense of community because other residents will be participating with the garden if they choose to,” Ms. Stark says.
Home gardens aren’t necessarily rare in Miami-Dade, just in areas like downtown and Miami Beach where condominium and apartment development is rampant.
“When we’re talking about the city and the Beach, they’re just so condo and apartment oriented,” Ms. Stark said. “People have it in their own minds when they live in a condo or an apartment that you have to give up the luxury of having a garden or backyard.”
Year-round sunshine isn’t just great for beach weather; it also means that growing can happen year round with a little experimentation.
“The nice thing about Miami is that we have such a mild winter. We can have almost two days of almost freezing temperatures, if that,” Ms. Stark said. Vegetables, fruits and herbs can be grown year round, and once the garden is installed and weather and shade patterns are established, Ms. Stark will be able to determine what can be grown best at particular times of the year.
Maintaining and dividing up the garden’s resources will depend on the residents, but Ms. Stark said she will help during the installation and afterward with the residents to help them plant.
“I’ll be there when it comes to the growing seasons. Obviously, because of the weather, there some things will grow better than others,” she said.
The Cassa Brickell rooftop garden is certainly an experiment, but when it comes to gardening and growing, experiments can yield the sweetest results.
“Plants are adaptable. It’s about trial and error and it’s about being able to give the plant times to adapt. It might not work out necessarily the first time unless it’s a native plant,” Ms. Stark said. “You’ve just got to try and retry and test. Have patience with it, experiment with it, and sometimes you can get great results.”