2015 I-Plants Magazine International Design Contest – First Place Award


Rooftop Garden – “PGAV”

Project Description —
By: Lynn Ott

During our visit with the owner she described how she’d like to feel, as if she was sitting on her patio at home looking into her garden. She wanted “pretty things” but was not specific about plant varieties.

There were existing pots with Japanese Maple Bloodgood trees, but two of them had died. She loved having trees up so high on her terraces. There were also some dead bushes in containers that we replaced, and a few that she wanted to keep.

We talked about how we could plant a few things that would hopefully come back after our Missouri winters on the 10th floor. We choose boxwood so there would be something green during the winter when the rest of the bed was empty.

Variegated liriope always looks crisp planted among annuals. We also needed to pick ‘strong’ annuals that could take the heat and wind of our summer, plants that were good-to-go without much pinching or deadheading, as we couldn’t reach the outside edges of these beds.

Texture of plants was always big. We planted ferns and euphorbia. Purple Scaevola, red begonias and yellow lantana added pops of color with the crotons.


This downtown office on the 10th floor was lucky to have 2 outdoor terraces. One was 78’ long x 3’ deep and wraps around to the left corner. The smaller one was 59’ long x 3’ deep, also wrapping around the left corner. Both terraces had Japanese Maple Bloodgoods, and evergreens in containers, along with containers that were filled with Croton ‘Petra’ and Lysimachia in groupings. Each terrace boasts its own water source (yeah!!)

These beds actually hang over the sides of the terraces. We had to secure ourselves to rings in the bed and to the railing with a harness and climb into the bed working backwards to plant. Some of us with long arms could plant the edges closer to the inside. You can imagine the feeling looking over to your left! In the beds are speakers that continually play music while you were out there, so we had to consider their placement in the design and where to plant the boxwood.

The view was facing into downtown, and to the left you get a good shot of the Stadium. It is shaded most of the morning and gets sun all afternoon. Our clients hold many meetings, conferences and working breakfasts and lunches on these terraces. There is almost always a breeze and sometimes it gets quite windy!

We were almost finished planting the largest terrace when the owner came out, enthusiastically clapping her hands. She had described what she liked, we picked out materials, and we gave her just what she wanted. Success!

Article originally appeared in the 2015 September issue of iPlants Magazine. Article was authored by Lynn Ott of Growing Green Inc, and reprinted with permission of I-Plants/Urban Horticulture Magazine. Photos by Growing Green Inc.