If you’re missing a backyard, but have always dreamed of building a rooftop garden, this DIY guide could be just what you need to inspire you for the new year. Everything from garden structure and restrictions, to plant choice and soil choice, from space and drainage, to maintenance and dream vision, the rooftop garden infographic (below) sets out your rooftop garden DIY checklist.
Not sure if you want a rooftop garden? Rooftop gardens have some pretty convincing health and environmental benefits. They can provide you with a wonderful, personal sanctuary – not to mention, potentially an awesome view – which can boost your happiness and self esteem. If you set the garden up yourself, they can provide you with a real sense of achievement. Rooftop gardens can improve air quality, by contributing to the reduction and filtering of polluted air particles and gases. They can also make effective use of rainwater. “In summer, rooftop gardens can retain up to 80% of rainfall while in winter this can be up to 40%.” Source
Rooftop Garden Checklist
If you find gardening therapeutic and you know you’ll be up on your rooftop every day, a high maintenance garden might be just what the doctor ordered. But if you’re time poor, with little interest in maintaining your garden, then be sure to plan yourself a low maintenance garden (everything from the watering to the cleaning up of fallen leaves), so your place of pleasure doesn’t become a neglected space you resent. Equally therapeutic is painting floral art pieces like this beautiful work by Caron Dawes. The Caron Dawes pinterest account is worth checking for garden and painting inspiration too.
A rooftop garden can weigh more than you think, so be sure your rooftop or balcony has sufficient structural support before you start buying 50kg terracotta pots
if you’re building atop a common building, be sure you have body corporate permission to do so and/or if are building atop of your own building, be sure to check if you need any local government approvals before splurging on materials at the plant nursery
Be sure the space you’re planning to use will not obstruct any other activities needed in that space (such as entertaining, sunbathing, sunrise yoga classes and more)
Ensure your plant containers allow for draining and excess water is not going to flow onto your neighbour’s balcony
Flowers all year round? Mexican-themed cacti? Green-only plants? There are plenty of options, once you know the ‘look and feel’ you’re trying to create. Be sure to select the plants that match with your rooftop garden vision. Being a rooftop, you’ll probably want grass that doesn’t need seeds! Our friends at the NoMow Blog have a bunch of articles about this, including http://nomow.com.au/germinating-zoysia-tenuifolia/ which is about the difficult art of germinating Zoysia Tenuifolia.
All garden soils were not created equal. So, be sure to talk to your local plant nursery expert about which soils need worms to aerate versus which soils have fertilisers in them already to compensate for the lack of nature’s worms.
The Ultimate Rooftop Garden Guide by Rubber Bond.
So, if you’re wanting some respite from the business of city or apartment living, consider building a DIY rooftop garden. And submit your photos here for us to share!
Featured image credit to Freshome from their post, “30 Rooftop Garden Design Ideas Adding Freshness to Your Urban Home”