The Art of Roof Gardening

Gardening and city living do not come hand in hand. Even the suburbia has been taken over with houses, car parks, supermarkets, landscaped gardens, pools and highways. Rarely can you find space for your own garden in your backyard. Home developers prefer to allocate space for backyard pools and driveways than leave out nice spots for a vegetable or flower garden.

Roof Garden
Image Credit: Flickr

City dwellers and avid green thumbs resorted to converting their window sills into pocket herbal gardens. But the newest craze nowadays it to use roof spaces for gardens. And why not? The move to put plants overhead has several advantages:

1. Environment Friendly – Plants help reduce air pollution. We know how plants absorb and diminish the excessive carbon monoxide in the air and convert into human usable oxygen. This process leaves us fresher air.

2. Reduce Energy Consumption – The plants you have on your roof serve as an additional layer of insulation. This leads to lower energy power needs for heating or cooling your house and lower energy bills.

3. Stronger Roofs – This is especially useful in areas where high winds are usual. Having rooftop plants can help cover and hold down your roof.
Great spot to relax by shout it from the rooftops

4. Healthier Lifestyle – Having a nice green spot within easy access where one can relax can actually improve quality of life. Working on a garden provides constant and pleasurable activity that is beneficial to your well-being.

5. Aesthetic Value – Showcase your garden. A hidden garden is always a pleasant surprise. Add few seats and a table and you have your own oasis.

Starting a Roof Garden

A roof garden is not as simple as ground gardening wherein you just clear a spot, dig in, and drop some seeds. Before you can even start planting, there are important factors that you need to consider when planning on a roof garden.

Present Condition of the Roof – A roof garden can weigh a lot. Roofs aren’t designed to hold weight. Wet soil, you, and the bulk of the plants could weigh down your roof. Consult professional roofers to determine the condition and the capacity of your roof. Tell them of your intention of starting a garden; they might want you to brace up your roof before you can bring up the plants. There is also the possibility that it will be impossible to plant on your roof, like when you have steep sloped roofs.

Safety Installation – It might be a little too windy on rooftops. Make sure to install safety devices for you and for the perimeter area. People will not appreciate soil, leaves, gardening tools, and pots falling on them. You might also need to secure government permits before you can start on your project.

Watering – You might not want to manually carry buckets of water to your roof, daily. Include a plumbing contractor into your plans. They can design a watering or sprinkler system for your convenience. Some sophisticated watering systems can be automatically programmed so that it waters plants even without you around.

Roof Garden
Image Credit: Flickr

The Plants – Are you planning on an herbal garden, a flower garden, a vegetable garden or a combination of plants? If you’re undecided, why not check out somewhere like Gardeners Dream to see what they have to offer? Browse the internet and ask your friends what they think would look best in your roof garden. Settling on certain plants will greatly affect your roof reinforcement, the watering system, the tools you will need, and even the pots to buy. Remember that not all plants thrive on rooftop gardens. Consult with horticulturists for your best options.

A rooftop garden has the potential to bring another level of zing to your house. Once you have a general idea about what you’re looking for, start the process by contacting your local roofing contractor. Most roofing contractors offer free quotes and they will be able to guide you throughout the project.

Robert Anderson is an owner of a Phoenix roofing company, which has worked on hundreds of big roofing projects over the past few years. Follow his company on Google+.

One thought on “The Art of Roof Gardening

  1. Ola! Phoenix Roofing,
    I take your point, So I live in a dorm in Philadelphia, and i go to the Art Institute of Philadelphia, there is roof access at our building but we arent allowed up on it. I want to propose to the school that it be opened up and a city garden be placed there. I have much support from the students and certain clubs.Im just not shure what I should start with as my first plan of action.
    I look forward to your next post

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