Roof-Top Gardens: How to Grow Wherever You Live

Roof-top gardens have been around for centuries, with roots dating back to Renaissance-era Italy. These structures provide beautiful aesthetics and are practical for those who like to garden. They can also benefit the environment by absorbing heat from the sun and cooling the interior. Before planting, there are some things you need to know. Read this list of five tips for starting a roof-top garden.

1. Building Code

The first thing you should account for is the building code — or you’ll need to consult with your landlord if you have a flat. Ask your local council to see if there are any laws regarding roof-top gardens. There may be regulations due to fire safety and structural integrity.

In 2019, the Grenfell Tower fire caused the U.K. to overhaul its building regulations, some of which impact roof-top gardens. There are now details you must consider. For example, your soil must be at least 30mm deep, and gravel or shingle strips must surround penetrating structures. You’ll also need metre-wide breaks every 40 metres to create a fire break.

2. Garden Type

The next thing to consider is your goals for the roof. Decide in advance what type of garden you’re trying to create. Your selection will significantly impact the roof because of its weight. Some common types you may see include:

Extensive: An extensive green roof is the simplest form you’ll see. These structures typically have perennials and mosses growing. Extensive green roofs don’t need much maintenance, which is apt if your roof isn’t easily accessible.Semi-intensive: The next step up is a semi-intensive green roof. These structures need deeper soil than the extensive roof, but you’ll be able to have more types of plants, like small shrubs and flowering plants. More maintenance — such as irrigation — is necessary, so you’ll need a roof you can easily access.Intensive: Intensive green roofs are likely what you imagine with roof-top gardens. They need deeper soil than semi-intensive structures. You’ll need even more dedication to maintenance because you can plant trees and create an entire lawn. The weight can be massive and the …


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