What is Rooftop Gardening? (Beginner Guide and Benefits) 

  • By: TheWalledNursery
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Rooftop gardening is gardening on the roof of a building. Many gardeners in the city grow plants on top of apartment buildings to have fresh vegetables. However, anyone can garden on a roof in the right conditions. 

If you’re interested, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about rooftop gardening before getting started.

You can grow various plants in your roof garden and have fresh food during the year. Many gardeners love it because it feels like their garden has become an oasis in the city. 

What is Rooftop Gardening? 

Rooftop gardening is any kind of gardening that you do on the roof of a building. People grow flowers, herbs, vegetables, and other small plants. It’s most popular in cities where there isn’t any green, open space for gardening. 

Many gardeners view it as a form of urban gardening. You have more space on the roof than inside a building. Plus, your plants are sure to get the sun and rain they need to grow. 

Your rooftop garden can be as straightforward or as complex as you want it to be. Some people use benches, trellises, and irrigation systems.

However, you can also use a five-gallon plastic bucket with holes drilled into the bottom as a simple planter. 

Many roof gardens require that you use lightweight soil and compost, so many gardeners make their own. As you experiment with rooftop gardening, it becomes more natural. 

Overall, rooftop gardening can mean something different to everyone. It all depends on how much space you have and your budget. No matter what, growing your food is a beautiful experience. 

Who Can Have a Rooftop Garden? 

Anyone can have a rooftop garden, as long as it’s structurally safe for you to do so. You wouldn’t want to damage the roof with more weight than it can hold. Homeowners and apartment renters can also both enjoy a roof garden. 

If you live in an apartment, you will need to check with the owners before building a garden.

However, most do allow community gardens on their rooftops. It’s an excellent way for people living in the same building to meet and learn together. 

In short, anyone can have a rooftop garden, as long as the conditions are right.

You’ll want to have the roof inspected so that you know it’s safe to build there. The pros will let you know how much weight the top can hold safely. 

Are There Benefits To Starting a Roof Garden? 

There are many different benefits to starting a rooftop garden. Being surrounded by the gray of the city can be stressful.

Many people with rooftop gardens feel comforted by caring for plants. Plus, there’s the benefit of fresh flowers, herbs, and produce. 

It also improves the air quality in cities to have many gardens. You’ll feel like you get a breath of fresh air every time you go up to the roof. Plus, if you decorate it with benches and a table, it’s sure to feel like a place to getaway. 

Plus, if you’ve had a garden before, you know that deer, rabbits, and birds can cause many problems. These animals eat plants before you can harvest them!

However, on the roof, you’ll only have to worry about the birds, making it easier to grow fresh produce. 

Overall, the pros of rooftop gardens outweigh the cons. The sooner you get started on your roof garden, the sooner you’ll have fresh food and beautiful blooms. 

What Should I Consider First? 

Before starting a rooftop garden, there are a few different aspects that you’ll want to consider. For most, there’s the issue of watering the plants.

Make sure you research which plants you are able to plant, you don’t want to spend all your time and effort planting plants that will not survive in the warm conditions.

If you don’t have a water spigot on the roof, you can use a rain barrel. It’s easier than carrying a watering can up the stairs several times. 

However, you’ll also need to plan where to store your tools and supplies. A small chest or cabinet on the roof is a good idea. You’ll also need the proper permissions before getting started. 

Lastly, consider how much you’re willing to spend on the garden. Your urban garden can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. Plastic buckets are inexpensive and work just as well as custom planters. 

It helps if you make a list of what you need to buy. You won’t go over your budget if you have a plan in mind before you start shopping. Your rooftop garden doesn’t have to cost more than a traditional garden. 

Check out these urban garden ideas to inspire your design.

What is a Green Roof? 

Although some people talk about them, a green roof is different from a rooftop garden. A green roof is a layer of grass that covers the top of a building. They can be a part of a rooftop garden space. 

Green roofs reduce urban heat and help keep the city air fresh. They also look much nicer than standard roofs. If you’re gardening on a green roof, you’ll feel more like you’re creating a park.

However, green roofs are much more expensive and are not needed to garden on top of a building. 

How Much Time Do I Need To Invest in a Rooftop Garden? 

You’ll need to invest quite a bit of your time in the garden. These plants require a lot of care because they don’t have access to nutrients on the earth. Many rooftop gardeners take up composting to make up for it. 

However, most of your time will go into setting up the garden. Once you have everything in place, you just need to check on the garden every day. You’ll spend time watering it and caring for the plants, but the initial setup takes the most time. 

During the setup phase, you need to research, contact roofing professionals, get permission to use the roof, and set up your garden. Plus, you’ll need to source all of your supplies- it takes a lot of dedication! 

However, don’t let that worry you! Rooftop gardens are very worth creating. Once you have everything in place, it will be easier to take care of. 

Are you ready to get started? Find out here how to get started installing your rooftop garden.