How To Make A Roof Garden

Article is focusing on how to make a roof garden. In the last few decades the idea of a living roof has really caught on. Building a roof garden is not as hard as you my imagine and in this article we are going to tell you everything about how to create a rooftop garden.

Building a rooftop garden is the best alternative to enjoy all the virtues of a garden and gardening when you have no yard available.

The popularity of rooftop gardens has been on the rise for a number of reasons, which are as follows:

  • Firstly, the roof gardens bring to life your otherwise dull and unused roof surface.
  • Even a tiny roof can be converted into a splendid roof garden.
  • Roof gardens result in the natural insulation of the roof, thus bring the temperature of your house down.

Those of you wondering how to make roof garden need to keep reading this article as we are going to tell you everything you need to know about creating your own roof garden.


    • Check the suitability of your roof:

If you are thinking about creating a garden on your roof, then the first thing you need to do is find out if your roof is suitable for making a garden.

Next, you need to ensure whether the local ordinances or rental property regulations allow the making of a garden on your rooftop.

It would be really frustrating if you spend a lot of money and effort towards creating a roof terrace and then discover that it is prohibited.

In most houses the flat roofs aren’t solid enough to support a roof garden. So, the first thing you need to do is figure out how much weight your roof can hold.

For this you might need to talk to an engineer and make sure that the house isn’t getting damaged in any way. In order to prevent damage of your roof you need to make use of light soil, flooring, containers, etc.

    • Talk to a specialist:

You need to find an architect not for the construction of the garden, but for determining if your home is safe for the construction of a roof garden.

Those of you wondering how to make a roof garden, need to know that many buildings are not designed to hold the weight of a terrace garden.

The job of this architect will be to tell you whether your house is suitable for the creation of a roof garden.

    • Consider the weight of the roof garden:

In case your building can hold the extra weight which a garden is going to add, you need to pay special attention to the weight of your rooftop garden.

You should make sure to minimize the weight as much as possible. For instance, make use of fiberglass or plastic planting containers instead of earthen ones. Make sure to avoid using pavers at all costs.

Try not to make use of garden dirt and go for lightweight potting soil. For drainage, try to make use of the Styrofoam peanuts rather than going for those pottery shards.

    • Install wind breaks:

While writing about ‘how to build a rooftop garden ‘it needs to be mentioned that a roof garden is going to be much windier than a regular garden.

It goes without saying that you would need to install trellises or any other latticed windbreak for your garden on the roof.  Try to make use of a wind break which disrupts the strong winds instead of stopping it altogether.

However, always steer away from solid wind breaks since they tend to get more easily knocked down by strong breezes than the ones which permit wind flow. Moreover, eliminating wind flow isn’t a good idea.

All you need to do is lower the intensity of the wind.

    • Watering your garden:

Finally, you need to consider how to water the plants of your pretty garden on the terrace. In the summer months you need to frequently water your garden or else your plants will get scorched.

You surely understand that carrying buckets of water up the stairs isn’t going to be a good idea. Therefore, you can choose to have a water tank built on your roof or you can install an automatic system for watering your plants.

Make sure to keep all these steps in mind before you set about to create your lovely garden on the roof.

Now that you have all you need to know about preparing your roof for the garden, let us get to the more important part of the topic viz. how to make a roof top garden.

    • Things to get:

First, you need to buy a few things before proceeding with the task. Pond liners can be used to prevent the roots, water or greenery from entering  the roof.

Make use of root membranes in the garden centers to prevent the growth of weeds beneath the decking. They would also prevent the root and mud from entering the lower surface of the gravel and facilitate drainage.

You will need gravels to go on the top of the root membrane and the pond liner.  A moisture blanket would help retain the moisture in the soil.

You also need to buy the compost and the top soil which is going to be your plant’s food. Finally, you need to buy those plants.

  • Laying out the insulation and the pond liner:

If you are making use of an insulation you need to roll it out on your roof’s surface and cut it to size. Now, spread out one pond liner and cut off the spares.

Try to leave a 5-inch lip around the entire area. The cutoffs can be used to cover the area around your drains.


    • Pouring the gravels:

Now comes the easier part. Here you just need to pour on your bags of gravel. The gravels need to be brushed into  place and rolled over the root membrane.

Now, pour on some more gravel if you want a thicker layer.


    • The Moisture blanket:

Once the gravels are in place you need to spread out the moisture blanket. While doing this make sure to leave a 6-8 inches’ space round the corners.

You can even make use of old clothes, towels and sacks as a moisture blanket since they are going to stay damp for a long time. Now, you have to pour another layer of gravels over the moisture blanket.

Large pieces of pebbles and gravels can be spread around the edges of the terrace. This would lead to proper drainage and prevent the plants from growing into your building.

Finally, make use of flashing tapes to attach the pond liner to the corners of your building. This will ensure that no water is going to get beneath the pond liner.


    • Preparation of the Soil:

Now, let us get on to the more important part, which is preparing the soil for the garden. The first step is to spread out the bark on the surface of your roof.

Once the bark covering is complete, you need to start putting on the compost. Pour it first and then rake it around the entire surface.

Similarly, pour on the top soil and rake it around. If you are looking forward to a firm layer of soil, then you can try stomping it down.

Lastly, you need to install some paved slabs so that you can easily walk on your garden without treading on the plants.

    • Choose the plants:

Now, visit your local nursery and select those plants which are strong enough to survive with little care. Let me give you a basic idea about the kinds of plants you can go for.

Plants like Azure bluet, chamomile, sedum hispanicum, Sedum reflexum, thyme, misty butterfly, and blue haze arctic fire are good for a roof terrace.

If you are planting them deep, make sure to keep the patches sensible so that they can spread.

Now that you know everything about how to build a roof garden it’s time to gear up for creating a beautiful breathing space on your terrace.

Constructing a roof garden is not a one man job and its best that you find someone to help you with the entire process. In case you lack the confidence of pulling it off on your own, then perhaps it’s best to consult a specialist before you set about doing the project.

Additional tips:

Now that you have successfully created your terrace garden you need to do a few things to make your plants thrive. Firstly, you might need to weed it while it spreads.

Weeding your plants thrice a year is more than enough and the entire process of weeding doesn’t take more than a few minutes.

If you are the lazy type, then consider investing in an irrigation system which would connect to an external tap which needs to be turned on every day for about a half an hour in the summer months.

A watering device for your roof garden isn’t as costly as you imagine and you can buy them online for as little as $20.

Founder & Editor

Hi, I’m Jim. I was a roofing constructor for 20 years, before deciding to start and gather the best content about roofing. I love woodworking and construction and it was only natural for me to start this passion project of mine. Thank you for visitng.