New York City Residence With Four Terraces

September 7, 2011 by

When JoJo Demirel and her husband Baris moved into their new place in Red Hook, Brooklyn last April, their first order of business was to put up a greenhouse.

The couple had always shared a love of gardening but only began digging in the dirt last year when they moved into their new house. And they had good reason to start: their new building had 4 terraces which they’ve since transformed into prolific urban gardens.

Tomatoes growing on the rooftop.

Water was initially a bit of a struggle as only two of the four terraces had connections, but they overcame this obstacle by adding a rain barrel and extending hoses which they dropped down from the main spigots to the secondary levels.

From the third level looking down to the second level terrace.

The Demirels, who have together been in the restaurant and catering businesses for the past 12 years, will roll out their own catering company next spring, for which they plan to utilize their own garden produce and large selection of herbs from their urban garden.

Asked about her favorite garden feature, JoJo Demirel responded poetically, “Smells of the rosemary, basil and lemon verbena after a rain. Butterflies.”

Herbs and a Lemon Verbena tree on one of the terraces.

Veggies currently growing on the four terraces include tomatoes, spicy, super hot and sweet peppers, eggplant, carrots, and cucumbers. In addition, they are cultivating a variety of herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, dill, parsley, chives, basil, purple basil, mint, bay leaves, and lemon verbena. To attract the bees for pollination, the Demirels grow catnip and lavender. For privacy, the’ve added lots of coleus plants and boxwood shrubs.

Another of the four terraces.

The Brooklynites maintain the garden for their own daily use–for canning and otherwise preserving–but also for sharing baskets of produce with friends and family, and for entertaining, which they like to do often on the rooftop.

Mmmm, fresh herbs from garden to table…

Demireal says one of her biggest successes was learning about hand pollinating plants. “And doubling our yield!” she claims, while adding she has also picked up, “that Jaune Flamme tomatoes are incredibly prolific!”

The back terrace.

I asked Demirel if she had any tips for other urban gardeners. “We are organic gardeners. The best way we’ve found to treat aphids is with a mixture of water, canola oil, and a touch of pure soap in a spray bottle.” she advised. “Also, planting scallions, leeks or chives in between your peppers, zucchini and cucumbers (the most affected plants) works as aphids don’t care for the smell.”



This is their first year trying their hand at growing dwarf plum, meyer lemon, and orange trees…fingers crossed.


But it’s not just the lure of four terraces that brought them to Red Hook. “We have always loved this area, Demirel said of the couple’s move to their present Brooklyn neighborhood. “It feels like we are on our own out here, in many ways, yet so close to the city. We previously worked in Dumbo so it was a quick bike commute to work.”

All photos: JoJo Demirel


  1. Rebecca ~ Sweet Baby Yams said:

    I’m amazed at how much you can grow with limited space. This garden is inspiring!

    — September 7, 2011 @ 14:01

  2. Emmon said:

    That opening photo by JoJo, looking down on that table and gardens, is a STUNNER. Makes me think of the cinematographer Carlo Di Palma (Blowup, Mighty Aprhodite) Thanks for sharing this!

    — September 7, 2011 @ 14:45

  3. intie said:

    Gardening really starts in the soil. Thinking about what goes on a microscopic, bacterial level is something most of us rarely think about, but proves time and time again to really affect the quality and abundance that our garden yields. Investing in soil inoculants means investing in the health and fertility of your soil for years to come. I think more people should be aware and this site,, is a great resource to get all garden enthusiasts on a path toward a better and healthier harvest!

    — September 7, 2011 @ 15:44

  4. gardenglamour said:

    It is a sign of a truly good garden design to want to visit the various garden rooms. I can see so much creativity and garden glamour in the arrangement of the planters and living areas! Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration.
    Happy gardening.

    — September 8, 2011 @ 07:41

  5. Annie Haven | Authentic Haven Brand said:

    I love this share Yes, you can grow #freshfood anywhere what an inspiration <|;-)

    — September 8, 2011 @ 09:14

  6. Barbara said:

    Now THIS is a well thought out, fun, and productive city garden!

    — September 8, 2011 @ 09:37

  7. New York City Residence With Four Terraces | Pingback said:

    […] The couple had always shared a love of gardening but… Read More… […]

    — September 24, 2011 @ 10:54

  8. Dan said:

    This is proof that an urban home is not a sentence to frozen vegetables and dried herbs and spices. Very inspiring, thank you for sharing.

    — September 26, 2011 @ 01:45

  9. New York City Residence With Four Terraces | Urban Gardens | Unlimited Thinking For Limited Spaces | Urban Gardens | Welcome to my Kitchen New York City Residence With Four Terraces | Urban Gardens | Unlimited Thinking For Limited Spaces | Urban Gardens | Pingback said:

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    — March 28, 2012 @ 13:02

  10. abercrombie paris said:

    La quasi-totalité de ce que vous pointez arrive à être étonnamment précis et qui me fait demander pourquoi je n’avais pas examiné cette question dans cette lumière précédemment. Cette pièce fait vraiment particulier allumer la lumière pour moi autant que ce sujet particulier va.

    — May 5, 2012 @ 02:08

  11. Tracy said:

    Can you send the recipe 4 the yummy toaties w/ herb cgeese please, thxs in advance 🙂

    — July 13, 2012 @ 16:56

  12. Dak-tuinen | warmonderhof Pingback said:

    […] Brooklyn garden with four terraces. […]

    — July 18, 2012 @ 15:19

  13. Agen Bola said:

    The glues hold me back. What is healthy to glue dishes together like these?

    — August 17, 2012 @ 03:10

  14. Bonnie Price said:


    — April 9, 2013 @ 11:15

  15. Mary Gehlen Hickman said:

    Hi, any chance you want to show off your gardens to me when I pick my daughter up from Pratt. I’m in town May4-9th. I run a small scale garden business in California and am trying to market a harvest idea for my clients. Would love to talk with you, see what varieties do well in containers and vertical. Looks awesome

    — April 9, 2013 @ 11:21

  16. Coco Cake said:

    this is really inspiring! love it. ^__^

    — April 9, 2013 @ 12:52

  17. urbangardens said:

    Hi Mary, thank you–they are indieed lovely but they are not my personal gardens, they are the gardens of the Demirels in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Perhaps you can contact them directly to see if they’d be interested in sharing them with you.

    — April 9, 2013 @ 12:57

  18. urbangardens said:

    Aren’t they Bonnie? I love what thee Demirels have done and how they have been inspired by their own culinary endeavors.

    — April 9, 2013 @ 12:58

  19. urbangardens said:


    — April 9, 2013 @ 12:58

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