Speak of a rooftop garden and the story of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon appears in the mind’s eye. Thankfully, the practice of creating a roof garden has not become a myth with time. In fact, looming environmental concerns and fears of climate change are inspiring modern homeowners to go for a green roof or roof garden.
By cultivating a roof garden you can enjoy multiple benefits. You can easily build an outdoor sanctuary of a sort on top of your terrace and savour close association with nature. This space can double up as an outdoor entertainment area as well. If you are an avid gardener, you will love this little extra room for exercising your skills.
Due to a shortage of space, urban homeowners across the globe are increasingly using their terraces for roof top vegetable gardening. And, it goes without saying that the world will be much indebted to you for each sapling you decide to plant and nurture.
Green roof is not exactly an equivalent to a roof garden, though it can be built to serve both the purposes. Green roofs can be considered a modern variation of sod or turf roofs frequently seen in Scandinavian countries. Like in traditional log houses of Norway or Sweden, green roofs act as a very effective insulator for modern homes too.
Indirectly, it can help you to curb your electricity bills. During the long summer months, it can keep your interior atmosphere cool and in winter the same arrangement can bring warmth and comfort in your home. Indeed, it is a fascinating example of a time tested tradition made relevant for contemporary living.
Before you even begin thinking about the plants that you would like to cultivate in this space, take care to thoroughly evaluate your roof design. Sloping roofs can have modern turf roofs, but creating a garden would not be possible on roof design like this. Check if your roof is capable of taking this extra load. If it requires renovating or reinforcing arrange for the same.
Arrange for proper drainage and plumbing. Electrical wiring should be sorted out beforehand. Buy appropriate lighting fixtures for this space. Those willing to go for permaculture, would require specialised LED or fluorescent grow lights. If wind speed is rather strong here, invest in structural wind breakers.
If possible, arrange for rainwater harvesting. Malaysia experiences an abundance of rainfall throughout the year. So this will help you derive considerable ecological benefits and save some more money.
The availability of space and how you intend to use it will dictate what rooftop garden design you should go for. If this is only meant for building a recreational garden, then you are free to choose ornamental plants, cacti, bonsai or moss to decorate the area. You will have to leave aside a portion of this space for building suitable entertainment facilities.
On the other hand, if you are planning to create an edible roof garden you will have to carefully choose between fruits, vegetable and herb cultivable in this area. You can also build a vertical garden to augment the beauty of your terrace. Do not forget to reserve some part of your day to relish the fruits of your detailed planning and labour.