How To Start a Rooftop Garden

How To Start a Rooftop Garden

If you live in an urban area and only have a small rooftop you can still create a magical lush garden. Here’s how to do it:

#1  Permission

Check with your local planning office to ensure you can add the garden to your home. If your home is rented obviously this is another point to consider with your landlord. Youíll also want to check that your rooftop is structurally safe to take the extra weight.

#2  Think about safety

Your planning office should set these regulations into place and advice you regarding safety, but itís worth noting. If you have young children especially, youíll need a barrier that is high enough so that they cannot climb on it. Also keep items away from the sides of the rooftop which children can use to climb on and look over the railing. A good idea may be to place a screen of different heights (to avoid blocking the wind completely) around the edge of the garden and planting lots of plants in front of the screen. This way the edge canít be accessed easily.

#3  Structure

Once youíre ready to build your garden concentrate on the structural parts of it first. The rooftop will be windier than a standard garden and youíll need to install windbreakers. You can add bamboo screens or wooden trellises but leave several sections as they are. This way you disrupt the force of the wind cycle rather than abruptly stopping it. This means that your trellises and screens are more likely to stay up than get blown away.

#4  Think about water

Will you have a separate tap installed for the garden or do you have a nearby source of water? Rooftop gardens can be a lot of sun and certain plants may need to be watered regularly. To be a little more green with your watering habits install a water collector to one side of the garden. This way you can use rainwater for the plants. You can also plant certain tropical or plants native to your area which will need little water ñ palms are great for shade, can act as a windbreaker and need little water even in very hot sun.

#5  Think green and lush

A very green and super lush rooftop garden can be a magical place. The goal should be to block out some of the sunlight and give you an almost jungle-like sanctuary to retreat to from your urban surroundings. Do this by planting plants with lots of green foliage such as palms, fatsia and ferns. Keep the ferns underneath shady areas as they donít do very well in direct sunlight.

Once you’ve filled the garden with lots of green structural foliage add a dash or two of color with bright accent plants in pots. Hot pink and/or purple always work well against green. You can also try a deep plum burgundy shade or bright orange.

Finally add a natural accent or two. A set of wicker loungers or chairs are fantastic for relaxing on. A small wooden or steel table with a few chairs make a great place to eat. And donít forget to add tea candles and lanterns for a magical feel. A string of solar bulbs hung around the rooftop can be a nice natural source of light too.

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