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Building a Rooftop Garden

By: Rachel Collier - Updated: 2 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Building A Rooftop Garden

A garden, however small, can be whatever you choose to make it. If you’re stuck for space at ground level a rooftop garden could be the perfect option for you. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to relax or a place to grow your own, our guide to the basics of building a rooftop garden will get your green fingers going.

A Head for Figures

As with any renovation project, a rooftop garden can easily run over budget. It’s so easy to get carried away with the vast array of garden features, seating and planting options. Putting together a financial plan will help you achieve a fabulous look without breaking the bank.

Well Planned

Before you get too carried away it’s essential that you investigate any planning constraints and Buildings Regulations applicable to your project. With any major external work it’s a good idea to make a quick call to your local planning department to let them know what you’re planning. This is the best way to avoid costly mistakes and wasted time.

Expert Advice

Unsurprisingly your best next step is to engage some help from the experts. You need to be sure that your roof will support the weight of your garden. It might be necessary to tweak your plans slightly but an architect will be able to give you some alternative options.

Location, Location, Location

Before you get to work on your garden spend some time in the space working out where the sun shines and where you’ll want your different features to go. If your intention is to spend time soaking up some rays you’ll want to make sure you plan a sunny seating spot. Likewise, if you’ll be growing plants or vegetables take into account their needs to get the best from your planting. Think about attracting birds to your garden, too, but for the sake of cleanliness remember not to place your seating areas near where they feed.

Material Gains

Weight being an important factor you should seek out materials that won’t weight heavily on your rooftop. Instead of terracotta pots why not use plastic ones, and apply the same thinking to any garden ornaments or water features. Soil is surprisingly heavy, too, so opt for lighter options where you can. Water features don’t need to be elaborate and it’s easy to achieve a stunning effect with relatively few materials.

Watering Hole

Naturally your garden will need frequent watering, particularly during hot, dry periods. You might consider adding a water butt to your garden to gather rain water that you can later use to feed plants. Alternatively you could investigate automatic watering, though this may eat into your budget. If water access is going to be a big challenge, just make sure you bear that in mind with your choice of plants. Some need a lot more moisture than others.

Making a rooftop garden is a great project and one of the most rewarding that you can undertake. You’ll gain access to a whole new secret world.

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