It can be hard being a plant lover or wanting to grow your own fruits and vegetables when your housing arrangement does not have an area for you to garden. If you have a flat roof (or at least part of your roof is flat) and easy access to the roof, then you don’t have to give up on your dream of having your own garden. Not only are rooftop gardens beautiful, they can be functional by allowing you to grow your own produce and can help save money on energy costs because they provide insulation to the building during the winter and helps keep it cool during the summer. These gardens can be referred to as roof gardens, eco roofs, or green roofs and are becoming more popular in urban areas because of their benefits to the household and to the community as a whole.
Make sure your structure is strong enough to support the weight of the soil, plants, and water of your roof garden before you get started. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have a very sturdy structure, you can still plant moss or herbs and other sedum. Your roof should be flat, partially flat, or have only a slight incline to be sure your little rooftop garden doesn’t slip. Also keep in mind that you will need to check and make sure you aren’t violating any zoning laws or any of your covenants with your neighborhood association.
The first thing you will need to is put down a pond liner or heavy duty rubber sheet to prevent the roof from becoming damaged by the plants and help add an extra waterproof layer. Next put down an old blanket, pumice/lava rocks, or a porous mat to hold moisture then cover it with soil. Now you are ready to plant your seeds or flowers!
Picking Your Plants
Your choices for a rooftop garden are somewhat limited because of the temperature and long exposure to sunlight. Moss, herbs, succulents, grasses, and wildflowers are the best choices for rooftop gardens, but feel free to try out other plants because you never know what might still be able to grow where you live.
Caring for your Rooftop Garden
Wildflower roof gardens require little to no extra care. If you have planted a variety of plants, you will need to visit your roof garden once every couple of weeks to clear out weeds that have started to take over.
In times where there is drought, you may need to water your plants. You may also want to water them if your roof garden is still young and the weather has been hot and dry for a while to be sure your plants don’t die. If you wish, you can fertilize your rooftop garden with compost. Be careful with the fertilizer that you use, especially if you use a rain barrel to collect the drainage from your roof.