Rooftop gardens have become all the rage in New York City, Los Angeles, and other metropolitan areas. They add a splash of nature to an otherwise industrial space, and support urban food production. People are installing their own rooftop gardens at home or on their commercial properties. If you’re considering a rooftop garden, you need to understand the basics before you begin. Here’s what you need to know about rooftop gardens.
Reasons to Install a Rooftop Garden
Installing a garden on your rooftop takes work, but the outcome can reward you with myriad personal and property benefits. Rooftop gardens have become so popular in urban and suburban areas because they make innovative use of an otherwise unused or underused space. Here are some reasons you should consider a rooftop garden:
- Increase privacy.
- Be environmentally friendly.
- Beautify your home or building.
- Take carbon dioxide out of the air and release oxygen.
- Potentially make buildings cooler in the summer.
- Delay storm water runoff.
- Increase access to private outdoor green space.
- Give birds a new habitat.
- Boost building value.
Rooftop gardens are most popular in urban areas where there is no room for a conventional garden, but you can install a rooftop garden anywhere if you have the right kind of roofing system. Put one on top of your home to increase your gardening space and create a brand new place to sit, relax, and enjoy the great outdoors.
What Type of Roof Do You Need?
The main question when considering a rooftop garden is whether you have the right type of roof. You can create a rooftop garden on almost any roof with the right materials, even sloped and curved roofs! With these roofs, you can hire a professional to place a layer of sod or wildflowers on your roof to decrease your carbon footprint, better insulate your home, and boost property value and curb appeal.
Flat roofs however, are the easiest to work with when it comes to rooftop gardens. You have more leeway with a flat roof, and the freedom to design a special outdoor living space. You’ll have access to your flat-roof garden, and can fully enjoy everything it has to offer. Flat roofs are typically best in warm, dry climates that do not see a lot of rain or snow.
How to Build a Rooftop Garden
Plants can grow in small amounts of soil, in full sun, and with nothing but rainwater if you choose the right flora. This is what makes rooftop gardens so successful. The first step is to plan your garden. Decide what type of vegetation you want. This will depend on your climate and access to your roof. If you have access, you have more choices, including vegetables, herbs, trees, grass, flowers, and plants that need more water. Work with an expert gardener to ensure you select the right plants and layout for your specifications.
Next, work with a trusted roofer to discuss what you may need to build a garden without damaging the integrity of your roof and home. You may need an entirely new roof before considering a garden if yours is older, leaking, or missing shingles. A roofer can tell you when to replace your roof and what needs to be done before installing vegetation. You might need to upgrade your gutter system, for example, to handle soil runoff. Have your roof inspected by a professional before beginning a rooftop garden project. Your plans may require permission from your landlord or homeowners association, and you need to be in compliance with local building codes.
Once you’ve planned out your garden and know your rooftop is fit for installation, you can begin the heart of the project – planting. If you have a flat roof, using elevated garden boxes, made from containers and raised beds, is the simplest way to create a rooftop garden. Containers are ideal because they are portable, flexible, and affordable. If you want to lay down sod, you may want to hire a professional to help with materials and installation.
Rooftop gardens are wonderful additions to a home or commercial building, especially in urban areas. Consider the structural integrity of your roof before deciding to create a rooftop garden. It’s imperative to hire a roofer before you begin this project, because there are many complex components to consider, including permission, access, water, irrigation system, and sun and heat exposure. Your roof may not be fit for a garden at all. If this is the case, don’t worry – you can still be Eco-friendly with a green roof. Partner with Mr. Roof for your rooftop garden project.