Tips for Building a Rooftop Garden

Updated May 20th, 2022

A gardener will have a difficult time building a garden if the location is in a densely populated area, which limits the space requirement. You will likely need ample space for your outdoor patio, and if that cannot meet your needs, you may want to consider building your garden on your rooftop.

A rooftop garden can be an excellent solution for you as it can provide space that your plants need to grow. Before starting your project, you should do some extensive research on building a rooftop garden first. Rooftops are often considered unused and wasted space in a building, so utilizing this area is the best option you have in this situation. However, there are important things that you should keep in mind in doing this project. Here are some of them:

Ensure Waterproofing

The rooftop is a building’s primary protection against the sun and rain. It collects rainwater and disposes of it properly through drains down to the sewer line. An intensive application of waterproofing is always required to prevent leaks inside the building due to the added moisture from the soil. With this in mind, the first thing to do is to make sure that the rooftop has properly applied waterproofing.

Check Structural Integrity

Aside from waterproofing, the second thing to do is to consult the architect of the building about the load that the rooftop can withstand. According to D’Angelo & Sons Roofing, adding too much weight on the rooftop may endanger the building’s structural integrity. A workaround for this concern could be to use lightweight soil or soilless potting mix. But, you have to make sure if this type of soil is ideal for your plants.

Confirm Local Ordinances

The next step is to know about the city ordinances, homeowner association rules and regulations, and rental property requirements pertaining to a rooftop garden. Some areas may prohibit the installation of rooftop gardens. If not, they may require you to secure permits depending on the construction you’re looking to add to the rooftop.

Choose Plants that Can Survive on a Rooftop

Not all plants can survive on a rooftop. Some plants require indirect lighting. You can work around this by having a covering installed, even on a small area of your rooftop. While this can be done DIY, it is best to have someone from reputable roofing companies like City Seamless Roofing assess if your rooftop can accommodate the additional structure you are planning to add. You may also consider applying good windbreaks such as trellises to ensure that none of your plants will be blown away. Putting solid windbreaks is not advisable as they tend to fall over in strong winds.

Consider Watering Options

The rooftop is an afterthought in the design process when it comes to water sources. As such, you may not have faucets installed that will become the source of water for your plants. Note that since your rooftop garden has high sun exposure, it can mean that your plants would have frequently dry soil. Hence, you would need to water more often. Remember that continually lugging buckets of water is discouraged as it can be potentially dangerous. You might want to consider having a built-in water storage system that you can easily access.

Having a garden can escape the hustle and bustle of city living. If you want to build a rooftop garden from scratch, you have to prepare for it properly. Secure permits, check structural integrity, build roofing and windbreaks, and consider having a water storage system. When you have all these figured out, you will soon have one of the most magnificent rooftop gardens in your area and a natural air purifier in your home.

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