Garden Photo of the Day

Tobias’s rooftop garden in Berlin

Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Tobias Mandelartz

We’re traveling back to Germany today, to visit Tobias Mandelartz’s rooftop oasis in Berlin. He says, “I’m 45 years old, and an online journalist. We bought the flat in January 2014 in one of the green suburbs of Berlin just because of the amazing 100sqm roofgarden and began immediately with our work. Since we had a (smaller) roof terrace in our former flat we knew what we wanted to create: A stylish urban jungle! A mixture between planned wilderness and formal garden.


“I always dreamt of a sunken garden which is obviously not the best idea to build on a roof, so we made it “the other way round”: If we cannot build a pit the plants have to be on a “higher floor”, placed around the garden.


“We have two kinds of planter box: wood and terracotta. Those made of terracotta are placed around the wooden terrace to give this area a Mediterranean look, with lots of smaller terracotta pots in different sizes. The roses in the terracotta boxes are a lovely souvenir from our annual holidays on Sylt, an island in the north of Germany in the Northsea. There the Rosa rugosa is known as “Applerose” and is growing like weed all over the island. (Of course we BOUGHT them, we did not dig them up, smile!)


“The wooden planter boxes are placed around the two areas of the roof garden. Since we are big fans of Karl Foerster and his work we tried to create a perennial garden which will show its true beauty in late summer and autumn. To give the butterflies some food we added elder and lavender. The white garden bench flanked by two spherical shape Buxus is a reference to the more formal looking traditional English garden.


“The back part of the garden is a “No-go-Area” at the moment due to a pair of bluetits which raise their kids :-). At the side of the wooden terrace is a wine barrel cut in half (we can´t wait for the water lilies!) and a small herb garden in that trendy “Mediterranean Shabby Chic”, smile! Different terracotta pots are placed on antique wooden fruit crates.

“Since there are lots of trees around our house there was no need to have plants of a bigger size on the terrace as well, but in the corners we have placed a maple and a small birch.

Facts: 5 Terracotta planter boxes, 14 wood planter boxes, 5,000 litres potting soil, 9 weeks of hard work. ”

Wow, Tobias, that is a lot to accomplish in 9 weeks, and it’s beautiful! Truly, a restful, serene spot. Thank you so much for sharing! ***See more photos at Tobias’s blog, HERE!***

Heads up, everyone. We’re making major changes to the website in the next few days, and it looks like we won’t be able to post anything to the GPOD for the first few days of next week. So don’t be alarmed if you don’t see anything new–we’ll be back as soon as we can! In the meantime….go outside and take some pictures and send them to me!! [email protected]. >>>>>>

**** Share your garden story…. Email me with photos and words at [email protected]. ****

Want us to feature YOUR garden in the Garden Photo of the Day? CLICK HERE!
Want to see every post ever published? CLICK HERE!
Want to search the GPOD by STATE? CLICK HERE!
Check out the GPOD Pinterest page! CLICK HERE!

View Comments


  1. dirtgirl1949 05/09/2014

    Tobias, what an incredible rooftop garden, congratulations! Really enjoyed viewing your pics and awestruck that this was all achieved in 9 weeks. More photos please.....

  2. TobiasM 05/09/2014

    thank you so much :-) More pictures (current and about the past two months)can be found on my blog:

  3. flowerladydi 05/09/2014

    It's Great Tobias!,,, and feels to me like you are an extension of the tree tops!
    You did a great job!,, love the color with the terra cotta,, adds that ' pop ',yet still keeps with a natural theme. I love your weeping birch in the corner - weeping trees are some of my favorites.
    I do not know what ' bluetits ' are,, I assume some kind of bird?, not crazy about the name -:),,
    You have created a little mecca in such a short period of time!, and I am sure you loved every minute of the process! Thanks for sending!

  4. TobiasM 05/09/2014

    @flowerladydi: It´s a bird :-) I was a bit bewildert as well, but the german "Blaumeise" seems to be a Blue Tit in your language:

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/09/2014

    What a fabulous and impressive undertaking...all that in 9 weeks...sigh...the energy of youth! See, Tobias, being young is all a matter of persepctive and, since I have over 20 years on you, I'm allowed to regard you as an energetic young "whippersnapper". Love all your seating offerings and how your site is surrounded by the tall trees.
    Perhaps some answers will be found on your blog (which I will go to soon as I hit post here) but did all your garden plants and potting materials come up through your abode or did a crane help get things in place?

  6. NC_Yarden 05/09/2014

    What a great use of such limited space. A complete transformation. Well done. Looks like a pleasant retreat, and I would have to assume a pretty cool perspective, being elevated as it is. Thanx.

  7. tractor1 05/09/2014

    That's a lot of labor for only nine weeks. It's looking good however I'd be concerned about all that weight affecting the load bearing limit of that structure, especially when it rains and all that soil sops up tons of water... is that a real lawn growing in soil or astroturf? Before adding more materials I would retain an engineer to calculate the safe load limit of that flat roof. Also the roofing material has be able to dry or it'll soon rot and leak, or worse.

  8. Miyako 05/09/2014

    What a beautiful space! I moved to country wanting to be in nature. If I can do that I can live in a city!

  9. greengenes 05/09/2014

    Good morning! Tobias, what fun you must of had when you first seen the space and started seeing what could become of the beautiful rooftop! It is totally awesome and you have done a great job! I so love the roses. Its such a nice escape from the rest of the world. So private, I could lay out there in my skin! And you probably do, right?
    Here in the Seattle area there are buisnesses that are growing food for their restraunts and bees for honey, all on their roofs. Its a pretty cool use of space. Well thanks for sharing and have fun!!!

  10. wildthyme 05/09/2014

    Tobias, your rooftop garden is lovely. What a lovely way to enjoy the spring sun protected from the breeze. I was also wondering if that was real lawn or astroturf? And how do you direct the water runoff? Since the walls around the rooftop were already there presumably there was an existing drainage system to carryoff snowmelt? What a wonderful escape you've created.

  11. sheila_schultz 05/09/2014

    Rooftop gardens are such a delight for city dwellers. No wonder you chose this flat with so much roof space available to create your dream gardens. 9 weeks of hard work well spent!

  12. TobiasM 05/09/2014

    @ meander1 : thank you so much, you´ve recharged my batteries :-) (To be honest: I had to look up the beautiful word "whippersnapper", now I LOVE it!!!!) To answer your question: No, we had no crane (although I would have loved to), but fortunately the help of some strong porters.

  13. Meelianthus 05/09/2014

    Goodmorning Tobias ~ What an innovative, fascinating and truly lovely garden space you have created - and what a tremendous lot of work! It must be such a delight to step out into your very private garden and either work with your plants or just sit and enjoy the fruits of your labor. I viewed your blog and it was so interesting to see the transformation, wish I knew German as it looked like you had some nice subtitles. It's hard to imagine lugging all of those materials up to the rooftop, wow! Thanks for sharing your gardening talents.

  14. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/09/2014

    Hi, Tobias, thanks so much for popping back in and answering my question about whether or not a crane was used to help get all the materials to the rooftop. I got even more enlightenment from your blog. I am agog over how you got all that stuff up that circular stairway...even with the help of some hired porters. What a huge challenge...which you didn't let stop you turning your vision into a reality.
    Glad my teasing use of the word "whippersnapper" gave you a smile. It's an old fashioned word so there are probably a lot of young Americans who don't know it either...and now you do!

  15. user-1020932 05/09/2014

    coolest garden ever on gpod, i love it all. agree with Miyako, if i could have this space i could be an urban dweller. great job, sure it's the most popular place for all your friends to spend time

  16. grannieannie1 05/11/2014

    Tobias, you young whippersnapper, this time you have REALLY DONE IT!
    (Now that you've translated whippersnapper we'll use it freely on you!)

    Your design shows so clearly how dividing a blank small space actually makes it look much larger. That concept always makes "garden rooms" so intriguing requiring more time to study and investigate further how they were achieved as you have accomplished so perfectly.

    We look forward to summer and fall scenes, too.

  17. user-7006902 05/12/2014

    Marvelous accomplishment! And the nesting birds, validation! I truly believe the world is more beautiful with gardens and they should be EVERYwhere. Applause to you for creating this urban roof top garden.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest