You probably love growing plants, but you don’t have a backyard. How about utilizing the space on your rooftop? In urban areas, space is limited. However, you can use the top roof as a garden.
There, you can plant vegetables, herbs, or flowers of your choice. A rooftop top garden has many advantages. You will have a chance to get fresh vegetables near your house hence saving time on commuting. The serenity and tranquility you enjoy from the garden is also awesome.
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What is a rooftop garden?
A rooftop garden is a garden set up on the top part of a house. You can decide to use containers or raised garden beds. In container gardening, you make use of vessels for your plants. Ensure that the containers you use are lightweight to avoid exerting too much pressure on your roof. The boxes should also be deep enough to accommodate the roots of the plants.
Plastic or fiber containers are preferable to other heavier materials since they are lighter. The containers offer flexibility since they can be moved to any place. Make sure you drill drainage holes to avoid water-logging which may damage your plants. Avoid poor quality containers that absorb heat and drain up quickly.
If your balcony is small, containers are the right thing for you. However, growing your plants in a raised bed would be more effective than growing in containers. Use boxes of different sizes. This will help improve the beauty of the garden. If you have a wall, you can plant hanging plants too. This will make good use of the limited space.
How to make a rooftop garden
If rainwater is not reliable in your area, connect a water hose pipe to your rooftop garden. Still, you can use a watering can. Watering your plants is essential, especially during summer.
Make a storage store. It will be easier since you will be putting your garden tools there instead of carrying them from your house every time you want to work in the garden. You will also store fertilizers and other chemicals you require in the garden.
Get appropriate planting material.
Make sure the planting material does not drain up quickly. It should not cause water-logging too.
Setting up a rooftop garden
For the first layer of the rooftop garden, get a material that will prevent leakage. It should be waterproof. Ensure it covers the whole area which will be occupied by the plants.
The other layer should contain the growing medium for the plant. It should be water permeable and have good air circulation. Note that the planting material you use should be fertile. The layers’ thickness will depend on the type of plants you wish to grow.
Plants with deeper roots will require a thicker layer compared to those with shallow roots. The drainage area should for draining excess water from the rooftop garden.
You can use mulch to retain water content, especially during the dry seasons. Mulching also helps prevent weeds from growing in your garden. You can use wood chippings, leaves, or twigs for mulching. The mulch will also enhance the soil fertility of the garden after drying up.
Before you set up a rooftop garden, it is essential to involve a structural engineer. They will measure the strength and stability of your building to support the gardenâ€™s extra weight. You should be careful when looking for one. Make sure they have a valid working license. Check your cityâ€™s or townâ€™s building codes. Consult your landlord, too, if you live in a rented house or apartment.
There will be need to put windbreakers in your garden too, especially if your area experiences strong weeds.
What are some of the plants you can grow in a rooftop garden?
You can grow almost every type of plant in your rooftop garden. However, this will be determined by the climatic conditions of your city or town, space available, and the legalities of your country.
The most common plants grown in rooftop garden are vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Consult your gardener on the best plants to plant on your rooftop garden. There is a need to use plants that originate from your local area. They will adapt easily compared to plants from other countries. If you choose to plant trees, ensure you trim them from time to time so that they don’t grow beyond manageable sizes.
Make sure your plants are not affected by too much sunlight. If they are, consider getting shade from them.
Advantages of a rooftop garden
A rooftop requires minimal care, unlike a general garden.
Flowers planted in a rooftop garden offers natural scenic beauty which has many therapeutic benefits. You can place lightweight furniture in the garden where people will sit and enjoy the serenity of your garden.
It saves time. You get vegetables and herbs next to your house. This will save you time for getting to the grocery.
You are assured of safety. You are the one to choose how to grow your plants- the chemicals and fertilizers you want to use. You can also choose to grow foods organically.
It makes use of space that would rather be unused. Many urban areas have become concrete jungles. Getting a space to set up a backyard garden would be hard and expensive.
Plants in the garden reduce the heat absorption of a building. This in turn, minimizes energy consumption.
The plants also reduce rainwater runoff that would damage the building.
Tips for setting up a rooftop garden
- Avoid delicate plants in your yard if your area is very windy. If you canâ€™t avoid them, using a trellis is a great choice to reduce the speed of the wind. A trellis decreases the rate of the wind rather than blocking it. You can also use them to grow more climbers too. This will utilize vertical space completely. Windbreakers that block the wind completely may not be a right choice since strong winds can easily break them down.
- Plant shallow-rooted plants in containers. Containers would not be efficient for planting deep-rooted plants like trees.
- Always ensure there are no pests in the garden. In case you find some, consult a gardener on how to get rid of them. Use safe pesticides to keep them away.
- Research on the best fertilizers to apply in your garden.
- Get furniture with the colors that match with the theme color of your garden. This will make it more appealing.
- Get a focal point. It can be a tree at the center of the garden. This should be drawing attention. Place it in a strategic place where it will be visible.
- Add lighting to your garden; this will make it beautiful, especially at night.
With the introduction of urban rooftop gardening, it has become easy for urban dwellers to grow their plants. It is a concept that has been embraced in many parts of the world, and it is advantageous. Apart from being a source of food, a rooftop garden offers aesthetic beauty that has many therapeutic benefits.