Planning to start a rooftop garden? Here you go…. [A step by step guide]

Are you lucky to have your own roof space? Then think about utilising this space effectively, how about a small roof top garden? Rooftop is an ideal location to have your own outdoor garden if there is no land space available. Here in this article we will walk you through how to create a roof top garden, what are the ideal plants for roof garden and benefits of having a rooftop garden. We will also suggest a few tips on how to care your rooftop garden and to make it a successful venture.

How to build a roof garden?

Lets take a look at the step by step method to create a rooftop garden.

Step 1: Before you start investing and making your roof garden, find out whether you have the right permission to grow your own garden in the roof. Also you need to check out whether the roof is capable of holding your roof garden. If needed, consult a structural engineer to do a stress test.

Step 2: Roof space should have easy access so that you can easily bring up the infrastructure for building roof garden. Otherwise it will be very difficult to setup and maintain your garden because garden needs frequent watering and caring.

Step 3: Choose a garden layout based on the available space and decide where you want to grow. Choose locations based on amount of sunlight, humidity and wind direction .

Step 4: Decide the herbs, veggies and fruits you want to grow. It should be based on the climatic region and easy availability. Do not choose a garden plant which is not suitable for your climate.

Step 5:  Get your garden pots or build your raised bed if you are planning to have the veggies and herbs in a raised bed.

Prepare a time table to water your plants and its good to create a wind shield if your region is having heavy wind blow. That will save your plants once it grows taller.


Rooftop garden plants

Have you decided on which plants to grow in your roof top garden? Here we provide a list of plants and trees ideal for roof garden. You can grow any plants in roof top garden as it is just like any other outdoor garden. Roof space usually gets warmer very easily; so drought resistance plants are the best choice. If you are choosing plants which has extensive root system then consider making a raised bed instead of growing the plants in containers.

Image [Via: Contemporary Patio by San Francisco Architects & Building Designers Siol ]

List of rooftop garden plants.

  1. Astilbe – An ideal plant to grow in shade, it grows relatively slowly. Its pinkish or crimson coloured flowers will give amazing appeal to your roof garden.
  2. Ajuga – An ideal perennial plant for ground cover for your rooftop garden.
  3. Lavender – Awesome choice for roof garden; which will give aesthetic appeal because of its colourful flower and nice smell in your garden which will attract flies and bees, the pollinators.
  4. Daylily – Its a very hardy and tough plant which can withstand draught conditions.
  5. Honey suckle or gold flame – Known for its fragrance and it can attract humming birds to your roof garden.
  6. Tulips and Hyacinth are best bulbs to grow in a rooftop garden. Needless to say, they will make your garden beautiful.
  7. Hibiscus and Rose are two easily available flowering plants to choose for your roof garden.
  8. Thyme, rosemary, cilantro and parsley are some easy growing herbs for a rooftop garden.  Here is a collection of 19 herb plants to choose for any small garden.
  9. Japanese Maples and Camellias are ideal shrubs for low sunlight spots of roof.
  10. Lemon, Olive, apple, pomegranate, guava and figs are fruits trees suited for roof garden.
Benefits of rooftop garden
  • Aesthetic benefits: Most of the contemporary garden designers prefer to have a roof garden. It gives an aesthetic appeal to your home. This is the best way to bring nature into your home.
  • Educate kids about the importance of plants and gardening.
  • Purify air by absorbing airborne pollutants and harmful gases.
  • Heat management inside your home by cooling down your roof during hot summer months.
Roof gardening tips:
  1. Soil: A good quality potting soil is a must for roof garden, since no worms are present to aerate the soil. Mix it with slow release organic fertiliser and Perlite or Vermiculite.
  2. Drainage: Choose containers with aeration and drainage holes. If you prepare raised bed for your roof garden, make sure you leave sufficient holes for air and water to flow in and out.
  3. Maintenance:  Since the roof gets warmer more easily and frequently, always monitor water requirement for the plants. Insert finger into top soil to check the dampness or use moisture monitor to measure it more accurately.
  4.  Layout: Choose layout for roof garden based on available space and type of plants. Some plants need more sunlight. So try to understand the plants you are going to grow in the roof and then finalise the layout.
  5. Wind Shield: Planting should be done after understanding the direction of wind. Plan to give wind shields to support the tall trees from toppling down.
  6. Accessibility: Layout should be chosen in such a way that all the containers are accessible for watering and maintaining. Avoid over cramping of pots, maintain a ratio of 1:3 for free space vs used space.

For an urban dweller, roof is the best place to enjoy gardening, since space is very much limited outside. Roof gardening is getting more and more popular precisely for this reason. Let us know whether this article helped you to get inspiration for starting your roof garden.

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