If you live in a small space or an apartment, chances are you just don’t have that much space to work with for gardening. You can put pots around the house or in the windows, hang herbs from the ceiling, keep an orchid in the kitchen. But have you considered going even farther up—onto the roof? Roof gardens can be a great way to maintain an outdoor living space that’s pretty and functional. If you’re interested in starting a roof garden, here are some ideas to keep in mind as you get started!
Of course, you’ll need safe access to a roof for this to work. If you don’t have one and you’re short on space to garden, check out these tips on gardening for small spaces.
Firstly, it’s essential that safety come first. If you don’t think you can make a roof garden that is safe for guests to walk in, do not build one! Certainly you do not want people falling off of your roof. Furthermore, you also want to make sure you aren’t putting anything on your roof that could fly off and hurt someone when it gets windy—don’t take any chances.
To ensure privacy, you may want to plan to put up some screening. This will keep your neighbors from spying on you (probably) and it will help keep your guests safe, kids and pets especially.
Secondly, think about weight and structure. Soil is heavy, especially when it’s wet—you want to be sure your roof can handle the added weight, so you will certainly need to work with a structural engineer or contractor to make sure adding a garden roof to your home is a good idea. Go for lightweight containers that allow drainage, and use nutrient-rich soil.
Other things to consider include where your electrical wiring will go; as always, be certain it will not come into contact with water. You don’t have to use any kind of electricity, but if you’re looking to create a nice place to hang out, you’ll probably want some kind of light!
Okay, so if you’ve got everything squared away with the engineering and financial details, what should you plant? As mentioned before, it’s important to consider the weight of your new garden and what you put in it, so avoid things like, say, oak trees. But herbs, lettuces, spinach, kale, zucchini, or tomatoes are a great bed! Other vegetables like carrots, peppers, melons, or broccoli don’t seem to be particularly happy in roof gardens, but fresh herbs are—and you can use them just downstairs in your own kitchen!
Do you have a rooftop garden? Share some stories about it with us below!