So many homeowners are looking for innovative ways to create a more environmentally friendly house. Along with using energy-efficient appliances and plumbing, some people are utilizing their roof space to bring to life gardens that can help create a beautiful space and save money.
A desirable addition to any home, including apartments with a lack of natural outdoor space, a rooftop garden has many benefits. Create a luscious and calming getaway, provide bees with a harvest of plants and flowers to feed on and help insulate your home.
Building a living rooftop garden takes more than just planting a few plants and setting out the furniture. It’s important to consult a structural engineer for safety and a roofing professional like those at City Seamless Roofing to make sure that your roof is suitable and safe to house a garden. Once you have the approval to start you can follow these steps to get your roof garden underway.
Even the most simple gardens can add a lot of extra weight to your roof. Having a structural engineer inspect your roof to make sure that it can hold to load should be one of your first steps. If need be, your contractor will advise you where you may need to shore up your roof with additional support.
Keep the weight of the rest of your arrangements at the forefront. The size and material of your planters will make a difference to the overall load. Plastic or composite flower containers should be used instead of plaster, concrete or terra cotta planting pots. Your furniture choices should also reflect a lighter material choice. Aluminum and wicker are much lighter than steel or glass furniture.
Before starting any building projects in your home you should always investigate what permits should be needed. Review your local municipal building codes to ensure that a rooftop garden is allowed in your area.
If you are renting an apartment you should get permission from your landlord before you begin your project. Check all the regulations of your Homeowners Association as well, as there may be restrictions that you are unaware of.
The first part of your design process should be mapping out how you would like your design to come together. Using grid paper and a simple plan you can start to measure out how and where your garden will come together.
Set each square to a simple measurement — one foot is a good choice — so that you can get a good idea of how much space you will need for your design. Add everything that you see in your vision and take the time to make changes where you see issues.
You should spend some time on your rooftop space before you start planting to get to know the levels of sun exposure. Most plants will need up to 6-8 hours of direct sun to really do well.
Wind gusts can be an issue on any rooftop garden. With the elevation factor, you may not be aware of how strong the winds can get up on your roof. If you suspect there may be an issue with wind strength you can plan to construct breaks where needed. A simple trellis wall can provide plenty of protection for most plants.
Choose plants, trees, and flowers that are hardy and drought-resistant. Ornamental grasses, dwarf trees, and native choices that have proven to do well in the environment are great choices for your rooftop garden.
You will need to install a running garden hose or faucet that can be easily used to fill a watering can for your garden. With a premium in sun exposure, your plants will need to be regularly watered.
A small toolbox should be kept handy with all of your necessary gardening tools. You don’t want to have to make continual trips down to your garage or shed for the tools that you need.
A living roof garden is a wonderful extension to any home. Keep in mind the extra weight that will be added to your home when you start your design and don’t forget to enjoy the relaxing environment and incomparable views that you will be able to take in for years to come.