Garden Roof: There’s More than Meets the Eyes

Garden roof by its name alone explains what it is. It is a roof with garden on top of it which mainly serves for recreation, living space, landscaped garden or organic garden.

This is predominant in urban spaces where there’s no space for a traditional garden.  Currently people are converting their roof to a Garden of Eden, making the most of the space they have.

Before you start working on your own paradise, make sure that it is legal.  Having a garden on top of the roof can cause falling debris or plants can grow to unsafe heights. 1 Because of those complexities and potential problems, there are permits and limitations set by the city or the apartment building you’re in.  So you have to clear that out before wearing your gardener’s hat and gloves.

So now you have gotten permission.  Now what? Are you already knowledgeabl on planting your garden roof?  Different locations, different challenges, different way of tackling it.  One thing to consider is weight.  As time goes by, damp soil bears more weight and so it is imperative to use light planting medium instead of soil.  For Jeff, an owner of a garden roof, he used a mix of 15% stalite permatil, 15% vermiculite, 25% compost, and 45% stalite.

Apart from knowledge on different planting medium it is also important to know about plants— which kind of plants you can use and how to maintain it. Only plants that can survive direct exposure to wind, heat, cold and rain are the ones that you can work with.  According to Jeff, from his own experience the ones that had fared well are herbs, lettuces, spinach, kale to name a few and the ones that have not are carrots, melons, broccoli and peppers.

Apart from having a garden, this also reduces the temperature on the roofs.  This was further supported by the National Research Council of Canada which says that “if widely adopted, rooftop gardens could reduce the urban heat island, which would decrease smog episodes, problems associated with heat stress and further lower energy consumption.”3

Anything that is beautiful like a garden roof – as exciting and practical as it is -comes with a price tag and whole set of elbow grease.  Make sure if you’re ever set into having one, make it worth it.

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