Xeriscaped / Organic Rooftop Gardens

We transformed a steeply sloped lot covered in invasive blackberries into a low-maintenance retreat with food crops.
xeriscaped organic rooftop gardens, Harvested Rainwater Feature
Harvested Rainwater Feature
As we built the studio building, we installed a 2000 gallon cistern in the front yard. A pump recirculates the rainwater through the waterfall to keep it oxygenated. We use the rainwater to water the garden on the roof of the studio, and to flush our toilets.
xeriscaped organic rooftop gardens, Wood fired pizza oven on patio
Wood-fired pizza oven on patio
In an effort to keep maintenance to a minimum, our front yard is all flagstone and patio. We built this pizza oven ourselves.
xeriscaped organic rooftop gardens, Rooftop Organic Garden
Rooftop Organic Garden
Our roof has been built to take the weight of a garden, estimated to be 60 lbs per square foot of soil and water. We mixed our own rooftop mix, using Perlite for aeration and to reduce the weight of the soil.
xeriscaped organic rooftop gardens, Front Yard
Front Yard.
We planted native species and drought-tolerant plants and shrubs - ferns, Oregon Grape, thyme, Virginia creeper, Heather, Lavender. We mulch to keep evaporation to a minimum.
xeriscaped organic rooftop gardens, Lavender tolerates drought
Lavender tolerates drought
Gravel covers the ground above the rainwater cistern.
xeriscaped organic rooftop gardens, Tireside Garden with Thyme
Tireside Garden with Thyme
On the south side of the studio, against the wall, our fruit trees and raspberries, plus crops like potatoes, absorb the reflected heat.
xeriscaped organic rooftop gardens, Medicinal Garden
Medicinal Garden
Theme gardens like our medicinal perennials and a dye garden for dyeing fabric for my fibre art each have their own beds.
xeriscaped organic rooftop gardens, View from studio deck
View from studio deck
In the greenhouse, we grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil and cucumbers - all the hot weather crops.
xeriscaped organic rooftop gardens, The front yard showing the Pizza Patio
The front yard, showing the Pizza Patio

Suggested materials:

  • Local granite
  • Organic seeds  (West Coast Seeds)
  • Shrubs and Trees  (Sunshine Coast Nursery)
Gail Hunt

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Shui Haber
    on Mar 1, 2017

    Beautiful project! What materials did you use to build the pizza oven? In general can you share a blueprint sketch of what you have done?

    • Gail Hunt
      on Mar 1, 2017

      Thank you, Shui. We used fire brick for the base and dome, refractory mortar. Vermiculite+sand+cement to cover the firebrick. Sorry, I don't have a sketch or blueprint, but search online.

Join the conversation

2 of 11 comments
  • Shui
    on Mar 1, 2017

    Absolutely love this project!

  • Nancy Flemming
    on Jul 22, 2017

    Love this, I am wanting to do a tire retaining wall, the idea is still floating around it hasn't come to fruition yet.

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