If you want to improve your home’s aesthetics, one of the DIY projects you can consider is a roof garden. Depending on your preferences, you can either have a vegetable or a flower garden. The best thing about having a roof garden is that it’s easy to create. You only need to learn the different methods and basics of making one.
Here are some great tips to keep in mind if you’re planning to build your own roof garden:
Choose The Right Plants
Whether you decide to buy plants online or locally, it’s a good idea to grow plants that are native in your region. Such plants are guaranteed to survive the conditions on your roof as they’re already used to your region’s climate. Moreover, working with native plants may encourage some native fauna like birds and butterflies to start exploring your new garden space. If you like to attract other wildlife, you may incorporate plants that are known to attract such animals.
The common plants that usually attract butterflies are sedums, milkweed, lilacs, coneflower, and butterfly weed. Choosing plants that are lower and heartier to the ground would be a better option for rooftop gardens. Butterflies don’t stick around if the winds are too strong. A great place for such plants would be somewhere protected from the wind and where they can get lots of sunshine.
You might also want to consider hearty plants such as daisies, conifers, and palms, which are known for being less prone to disease and can’t be snapped by high winds. Most of these plants have evolved to have narrow, smaller leaves. Moreover, they don’t need as much water as other plant species, making them easy to care for during warmer seasons.
Know The Local Ordinances Or HOA’s Rules And Regulations
Before you start creating your roof garden, one of the things you should know is the local ordinances around your area or the rules and regulations set by the Homeowners Association (HOA). In some areas, roof gardens may be prohibited or require some special treatment. It’s definitely a good idea to know what you can and can’t do before spending money and time.
Check Your Roof’s Weight And Strength
Whether you want to ensure sustainability in gardening or you want to improve your home’s exterior aesthetics, another important factor you should take into consideration is your roof’s weight and strength.
Take note that even shallow garden beds may weigh as much as 60 kg per square meter, so it’s important to have qualified professionals like a structural engineer or builder to check your roof’s weight capacity before you start creating a roof garden. Your roof should withstand the extra weight of building materials, growing substrate, and plants. All of these may add up to as much as 250 kg per square meter, so your roof might need to be reinforced or altered to cope with the extra weight.
The strength and size of your roof would determine whether you can create an intensive or extensive roof garden. Basically, an extensive system is made to support a shallow layer of soil and vegetation and is lighter than an intensive one. It’s also suited to spaces where people seldom walk on the roof’s surface. An intensive system is more substantial, requiring structural support to accommodate deeper garden plots, an irrigation system, greater variety of plants, and furniture.
Know that your roof garden will need to withstand more wind than a typical garden. For this reason, you should incorporate windbreaks in your roof garden design. Try to use lattice windbreak or trellises. Windbreaks that disrupt the wind’s flow instead of stopping it completely are more effective. Solid windbreaks are also more likely to be knocked down by strong winds. In addition, you might also want to lessen the wind flow instead of getting rid of it.
Do Some Waterproofing
An essential component of a roof garden is the waterproofing. At present, there are some waterproofing systems you can choose from. Depending on your budget and preferences, choose the one that would benefit you most and would work best for your roof garden.
While other roofs are waterproofed when they’re constructed, some may require an extra treatment to prevent the water from seeping into the structure of your home. This treatment should provide a durable protective layer that’s flexible enough to permit expansion under thermal or physical movements of the structure without compromising the tightness of the water.
Oftentimes, old green roofs use asphaltic bitumen for waterproofing purposes. However, since it’s an organic substance, it means that plants can penetrate it with the roots in an attempt to look for nutrients. Another essential characteristic of a good waterproofing system is being rot-proof. Use synthetic instead of organic materials to ensure that the system is rot-proof.
Building a roof garden is simple and will surely enhance your home’s beauty with its greenery. Depending on the space you have, you can design your roof garden using a variety of features and installation. Just combine your efforts with a little creativity and imagination to achieve the roof garden you’ve always dreamed of having.