Things to Consider Before Planting a Rooftop Garden

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Every year the cities get bigger and louder. During large-scale urbanization, people care more about building skyscrapers rather than planting trees. However, caring about natural resources is more important since they are the basis of life on Earth.

Inhabitants of the cities want to solve this problem by using extra space and planting rooftop gardens. Such gardens can provide some privacy, improve oxygen production, reduce noise levels, and help fight global warming.

According to the latest study conducted by the University of Exeter Medical School, being in nature on a regular basis, can improve your mental health and make you feel happier. If you have also had an idea to plant a rooftop of your building, there are a few things you should take under consideration before starting your green project:

Evaluate your roof

You’d be surprised to learn that roof gardens are pretty heavy since they require a number of layers of various materials.

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As you can understand, not every roof can be used for gardening. That’s why you need to check the loading capacity of your roof. It means you need to calculate the hypothetical weight of soil medium layer, plants, furniture, visitors, and equipment. Let’s not forget about weather loads such as heavy rain and snow. If you are not an engineer yourself, find a licensed structural engineer who will determine how much weight your roof structure can support. Planting a garden without professional advice is illegal since it might put at risk everyone who is in the building.

You can start working on design only after the rooftop garden is approved by the engineer.

Also, feel free to ask an engineer to help you with future project development.

Get the permit

Planting a garden on the roof requires serious consideration. As the owner of the future oasis, you are obligated to review the municipality’s building codes. According to, presenting your engineer’s report to the authorities will help to speed the process of getting a permit. It is the easiest way to indicate that your roof is the right place for the garden.

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If you rent an apartment in the building, contact the landlord first. Getting the permit is crucial since it is the only way to make sure that you will not have to pay the fine for your environmentally-friendly idea.


Rooftop gardening requires a lot of planning. Before you start buying plants and gardening equipment, think about how you will get all your building materials to the roof. Building a large-scale garden will be impossible if the only way to get to the roof is an attic window.

Also, it is essential to determine whether you will have access to water and electricity. No plants will survive without regular watering, especially on the rooftop. Electricity might not be the most necessary thing in your garden; however, it will help in the evenings. Besides, having at least one plug will allow you to work with your laptop there.

Choose plants

To choose the right plants for your rooftop garden, you will have to monitor your roof’s sunlight exposure. Take into account that some roofs are shaded by neighboring buildings most of the time. Make sure your plants will get at least six hours of sunlight. Keep in mind that roofs painted black heat up faster than silver or white roof.

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Another vital thing is to monitor wind exposure on your roof. It is crucial since wind can make your soil very dry, which means you will have to water plants more often. In case the winds are too strong, you will have to build a new wall to make sure your plants will not get destroyed by Mother Nature. You can use an anemometer or weather vane in order to monitor wind exposure.

Buy heat-tolerant plants. For instance, you can plant basil, okra, peppers, magnolias, honeysuckle, and ornamental grasses. If you want to have a garden on your roof, you will have to take care of the plants regularly.

Make sure that all the plants you buy are native to your area. For example, the lemon tree will be a good option if you live in Italy, but it will be a disaster in Finland or Sweden.

Decorate it

Once you get all your plants, consider buying lightweight furniture in order to avoid extra pressure on the building.

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If you want to make your rooftop look tasteful, choose a focal point. It can be a fountain, statue, sofa, or the table. When you add decorations, think how else you can use them. For example, an umbrella can also be a decorative item. However, you will also be able to use it as a shelter during hot summer days.

The last but not the least, find storage for your gardening equipment such as buckets, gloves, secateurs, potting mix, hoses, spades, etc. For instance, you can incorporate storage into furniture in order to save some space.

Planting your rooftop is an amazing idea because it will give you the chance to make your city look prettier. It’s the best place to work and hang out with friends since spending time outside will make you happier, according to scientists.