8 Simple Steps To Start Your First Roof Garden


The days of rooftop gardens being for the privileged are over. Now, even those with small apartments can start their own roof garden! With this simple 8-step plan, you’ll be on your way to a thriving roof garden in no time!

Make sure your roof can support a garden

Make sure your roof can support a garden.

Your first step will be to find out how much weight your roof can support. Roofs are designed to bear a certain amount of weight, but as with any building material, there is no such thing as maximum capacity. An engineer would build a structure based on the specifications of materials used, load distribution and other factors related to structural integrity. So knowing the limits of the object you want to install on your house can help you avoid any potential problems that could arise from installing something too heavy for its purpose (i.e., off foundations).

The next step is figuring out what type of soil you will use in your garden: clay or loam? Clay doesn’t drain well; it holds onto water like an old sponge so watering isn’t necessary unless there has been prolonged dry weather or drought conditions. Loam drains well; it allows water flow through while simultaneously retaining moisture needed by plants throughout growing season

Consider weight and rain drainage

It’s important to consider the weight of your roof garden. If you have no idea what your roofs can support, then it’s time to get out there and do some research. The first thing that you need to do is find out what kind of material your roof is made up of. Next, you will want to find out how much weight each square foot of your roof can hold before it begins leaking water or caving in. This can be done by measuring the thickness of the shingles on top of your home (you should be able to find this information online). Once you have an idea about what kind of roofing material is currently protecting your house from rainwater, head over to Lowe’s or Home Depot where they sell all kinds of tools for measuring things like this!

If all goes well with these measurements then congratulations! You’re ready for starting off on this journey as long as someone else doesn’t live under there too…that might make things complicated since we don’t want any arguments breaking out between neighbors 😉

Get access to the roof and install a water source

You will need to get access to the roof. From there, you can install a water source. There are several ways to do this:

  • Use a ladder or scaffolding and bring buckets of water up on the roof. This is probably what most people have thought of first when they think of watering their plants on a rooftop garden. It works very well, but it has its limitations. For one thing, it gets heavy! That’s why most people who install small roofs like this use plastic buckets instead of metal ones (which can weigh over 5 pounds per gallon). The problem with plastic is that if you get an extreme temperature difference between your environment and the inside of your bucket (say in winter), then condensation might form inside which means mold or mildew could grow inside your bucket as well as outside once it’s empties out onto your plants’ roots!
  • Hose down each plant individually using a garden hose connected directly below where each plant sits so that every drop gets directly delivered into its root zone without waste or overspray getting anywhere else except where intended (for example: don’t spray across any other areas unless necessary). This method does require some engineering skills however since there may be times when plants need more than one type of nutrient added at different times depending on their growth stage; thus having two hoses coming up through one spout would make things easier overall because if one hose was blocked while another wasn’t then they wouldn’t both stop working at once due to pressure differences between them being too high.”

Prepare the soil

The next step is to prepare the soil. Soil preparation is an important step for growing healthy plants, and it’s one that’s often overlooked in roof gardens.

The ideal material for your garden is a mixture of compost, peat moss, and other organic materials such as leaf mold or cocoa shells. When you dig your bed and put down this mix of materials, be sure to go at least 8 inches deep so that there will be enough room for roots to grow.

Choose your plants

  • Choose plants that grow well in your climate.
  • Choose plants that are hardy.
  • Choose plants that are easy to maintain.
  • Choose plants that are attractive.
  • Choose plants that are edible! Some people think of their roof as a place where they can grow food, but if you don’t want to eat what you’re growing, it’s probably not worth the effort (and will just make your landlord angry). You could also look into getting a greenhouse or starting an indoor garden instead – or just stick with flowers if you want something beautiful on your rooftop without all the work!

Choose your pots

Now it’s time to choose your pots. The first thing you should do is make sure that the pots are the right size for the plants you are planting. You don’t want them so big that they take up too much space on your roof, but also not so small that they won’t hold enough soil and fertilizer for the roots of your plant. Also, remember that if there is wind or rain outside, some of this could splash onto your roof garden. Choose materials carefully: they should be durable and not rot or rust over time (wooden planters are good because they’re sturdy). They also need drainage holes in the bottom so water doesn’t collect inside them when it rains—this can kill off any plants growing inside!

Choose your irrigation system and water supply

  • Choose your irrigation system:
  • Selecting the type of irrigation system you want to install on your roof garden can be a difficult decision, but it’s important to get it right. If you’re not sure which system is best for you, check out this article explaining some of the pros and cons of each type.
  • Decide how much water you’ll need:
  • The next step is choosing how much water storage tank space you’ll need based on how often and how long you plan on watering. Here’s a handy calculator that helps with this process.

Install drain tiles to ensure water will drain properly

This is probably the most important part of your roof garden, so we’ll start with it. Drain tiles are a simple and effective way to ensure water will drain properly. They’re also a great way to get rid of excess water and keep your plants healthy.

You may need to dig deeper than 1 foot depending on how much rainwater you expect to collect on your roof – but if you do, this is still a good starting point!

A simple plan to create a thriving rooftop garden.

Now that you have an idea of what your garden is going to look like and where it’s going to be, it’s time to start planning.

  • Set a budget
  • Put together a plan
  • Draw up some plans (or use our planned roof garden)
  • Get the equipment needed for the job


Good luck!

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