An urban garden can offer a welcome reprieve from the cold and artificial surroundings of a city. The only way to elevate such an oasis would be to literally elevate it. For the horticulturist who isn’t afraid of heights, here are the world’s greatest rooftop gardens.

Waldspirale, Germany

Waldspirale rooftop garden

Waldspirale translates to “wooden spiral,” which, as you can see, is exactly what it is. The Austrian architect who designed the building, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, is said to have once called straight lines “the devil’s tools,” which explains why the green roof coils and undulates. Photo: FanBox

Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver

Vancouver Convention Centre rooftop garden

Vancouver Convention Centre roof

The convention centre’s crown is a six-acre “living roof” that recovers rainwater for irrigation and is home to thousands of indigenous plants. It also has its own bee farmPhotos: BuildipediaImnarchitects

Millennium Park, Chicago

Chicago Millennium Park Millenium park art

Chicago’s urban park is considered to be one of the world’s largest rooftop gardens because it sits on top of a parking garage. The downtown green space is filled with impressive architecture, landscape design, pedestrian paths and public art — including a piece that looks like a giant silver kidney bean. Photos: minusimgur

Namba Park, Japan

Namba Park Namba Park

Nestled beside a 30-storey tower in Osaka, Namba Park is an eight-level rooftop garden that spans several city blocks. It’s large enough to host cliffs, canyons, ponds and waterfalls. Photos: Jerde.com

Nanyang School of Art, Singapore

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

The university’s green roof is accessible by stairs, making it one of the most serene spots in the world to skip class and drink beer. Photo: imgur

City Hall, Chicago

Chicago City Hall rooftop garden Chicago City Hall green roof

First planted in 2000, the Chicago City Hall green roof is one of the earliest and most well-known examples of green roofs in the United States. The space was designed to test different types of green roof systems, and it’s aesthetically pleasing enough to distract us from the ghastly ventilation system. Photos: imgurCamiros

Cannon Bridge Roof Gardens, London

cannon bridge rooftop garden Cannon Bridge Roof Gardens

Featuring one of the best views in London, the Cannon Bridge Roof Gardens can be rented out for private events. Is it expensive? Probably. Photos: Pure ConsultingCannonBridgeRoofGardens.com

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