With limited spaces in urban areas, you may have had an idea to turn your roof into a garden. Rooftop gardens have many advantages. A garden will keep your building a bit warm in winter and a bit cold in summer. This helps reduce energy wastage. Gardens help reduce water runoff hence preventing leakage.
A rooftop garden also improves the beautiful image of your building, when correctly setup. Whether you want to plants vegetables, herbs, or your favorite flower varieties, the idea is worth implementing. If you wonder how to go about it, here are insightful tips you should consider before setting up your garden:
Consult a professional structural expert
Not all buildings can withstand extra weight on their top. A structural engineer will advise you whether your building has such capacity. They will also advise you on the maximum burden your rooftop can bear. This will help avoid future structural problems. When assessing the amount of weight the building can take, you should also keep in mind that there will be times the soil will be so wet, hence heavier. A structural engineer will also advise on the type of material suitable for use as a waterproof membrane. A membrane that will last for a long time will be a perfect choice. If you use a poor quality one, it will cause leakage. It is prudent to first conduct a test on the membrane before putting up the other layers since the process of installing a new will be tiresome and expensive because you will have to remove the different layers covering it. Still, they will recommend railing materials if you want to practice vertical gardening.
Consult with your local authorities
Every locality has specified building codes. You will be required to get approval from your local authorities since there are structural alterations involved. Public spaces are areas of concern, so they need relevant permission when change is to be carried out. Accessibility, fire regulations and building heights are some of the main concerns the authority has regarding rooftop gardens. You will be advised accordingly on the dos and don’ts to avoid future problems. If you break some of the rules, the penalties can be so hefty. If your apartment is rented, seek permission from your landlord.
Consider the weather elements of your area
Before setting up your garden, you should keep in mind that the wind will be stronger in your garden compared to a regular garden. The sun will also be more scorching. So, it is wise to have tolerant plants as they will not be broken by the wind or get affected by too much heat from the sun. A good drainage system is recommended in areas that receive substantial amounts of rainfall to avoid waterlogging. Erect windbreakers in your garden to prevent the breakage of plants. Trellises and lattices are a great choice since they reduce the speed of the wind rather than completely obstructing it. Shades are also suitable for protection from the scorching sun. You may also need to have garden covers to protect your plants from frost in winter.
Cost of setting up and maintaining the garden
Your budget will come hand in hand when deciding the design of your rooftop garden. The type of materials you use in the garden will be determined, but the amount of cash you are willing to spend. At first, you can start small. Buy a few plants and other equipment and add some as time goes by, especially when you have a low budget. Finally, you will attain everything you ever wished in a rooftop garden.
Reliable Source of water
You will require watering your garden from time to time. Automatic irrigation is a good option. Also, you can practice drip irrigation. It will save you time and energy since you do not have to water the plants yourself. Avoid water that has chemicals since it is not appropriate for plants. It would be so tiresome to carry water to the garden from your house. Storage tanks are an excellent choice too. You can consider constructing a rainwater collection system. Water from the rain is a good source of nitrogen, which is useful in plants. However, you should make sure they are weather tolerant. You can construct a system that will enable you to harvest excess runoff water in the garden and reuse it. However, make sure there is no blockage in your order. The blockage causes extra load on the rooftop, which may be hazardous.
Types of plants to grow
You can plant many varieties of plants in your garden. However, ensure that the seeds you plant are of high quality. You may decide to plant vegetables for your household use. This will come with convenience because it will save you time for getting them from your grocery. You are also assured of safe, fresh produce. Still, if your rooftop is large enough, you may make it a commercial garden.
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Herbs too are a great option. They do not require a lot of space. If you go for container gardening, ensure your plants are not deep-rooted. Plants with broad leaves are not a right choice in areas that experience strong winds. If you go for trees, ensure they do not grow to unmanageable sizes. Trim the often. Succulents are a good choice if you want low maintenance crops. They do not need frequent watering. Dwarf fruit trees are recommended for rooftop gardening in contrary to large trees. Plants that are native to your country will be more preferable to non-native ones since they adapt faster. Use approved pesticides and fertilizers for the plants. They should be ecofriendly.
Privacy in the garden
A rooftop garden offers a wide view of neighboring buildings. If you want a bit of privacy, you can erect tall walls or use fabric covers. Still, you can plant artificial hedges. Small trees and shrubs are a great solution too. Alternatively, you can use wooden planks. You can also use cantilever umbrellas in your garden, which provide privacy and shade too. You may install a water future such as a fountain or a waterfall. A spray may not deter people from seeing you, but the noise it produces will make it impossible for other people from eavesdropping your conversations. It also makes the garden more appealing.
Sufficient Lighting in your garden
You may decide to use your rooftop garden at night. Lighting adds to the aesthetic beauty in your garden. Choose lighting that matches your mood. You can choose to use candles or lanterns for cozy evenings in the garden.
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Solar-powered lights are appropriate for the garden since they are energy efficient. However, make sure that a qualified electrician fixes Lighting. The light fittings should be waterproof too since the garden is exposed to rain and irrigation water.
The process of setting up your rooftop garden is not as complicated as it may seem. Once you establish the garden, maintain it properly to avoid inconveniences. You already have the right information. It is upon you to implement and enjoy the goodness of a rooftop garden where you can enjoy the sun rise and the cool breeze of beautiful nights with your family or friends and turn moments into memories.