Rooftop gardens are perfect for those who live in flats and don’t have a green space on the ground floor to make their own. Even if you live in a densely populated area like London, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have your own oasis of greenery and flowers. Your rooftop garden might be a long-term project, but it will be worth the effort when you have a sanctuary where you can relax and unwind.
Before you start creating your rooftop garden, it’s important to check whether planning permission is required and how much weight the roof can support. Remember that large containers of compost and extra people on the roof may put added pressure on balconies suspended outwards from the building. You should also check whether the roof is waterproof. If you’re unsure, contact a surveyor or a chartered structural engineer.
Designing Your Roof Garden
If the design you’re interested in is particularly complex, it’s best to get in touch with a professional. Look for architects who specialise in roof garden design. You also get modifications to roof supporters if the structural survey shows that roof support is insufficient for your garden. Heavy containers should be placed over load bearing beams or joists, or near load bearing walls. Rooftop decking like Dura Deck is a cost effective solution for roof gardens, as it is strong, lightweight and has an aesthetically pleasing wood effect. You can deck the area that will be used for seating and entertaining.
Protecting Your Roof Garden From the Elements
Strong winds and sun can damage your roof garden, so erect trellises or screens that are well-supported. They will allow some sunlight through, whilst protecting plants from too much light and wind. Containers can dry out quickly in warm weather, so make sure that they are wide and deep enough for plant roots and extra growth. Rooftop plants will require a rigorous watering routine, particularly in the summer months.
Choosing the Right Plants
Look for plants that are tolerant of windy and sunny conditions, preferably with leaves that ensure reduced surface evaporation like pines, brooms and grasses. Windbreak plants and dense evergreens are also good choices. Ground-cover plants that grow low on the ground will avoid the worst of the winds and alpine plants are also hardy, but will need to be protected with a sheet of Perspex in very cold weather.