The Benefits of a Rooftop Garden

Green Roofs Provide Economic, Ecological, and Lifestyle Advantages

Copyright © David Coeyman; All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission; Posted August 15, 2012

A green roof; photo courtesy SiGarb


Just because you live in the city doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a garden. Did you know it is easy and economical to create your own garden in small, unexpected spaces?

If you live in an apartment or a townhouse, you can still have a garden on your balcony or on a rooftop. Many people enjoy taking part in landscaping projects despite living in an urban environment.

Having a rooftop garden (in the category of the larger architectural concept of green roofs is a wonderful way for urban gardeners to be involved in landscaping projects.

It is also great for relaxing, for beauty, and if planting a vegetable garden, eating freshly picked fruits and veggies is obviously a plus. However, there are many other environmental benefits to consider.

Prior to embarking on any project that involves your roof, be sure you have had your roof properly maintained and have it thoroughly inspected.

Energy Conservation Benefits

You may not realize this, but having a rooftop garden can cut down on energy costs. Studies have shown plants help absorb heat. Much of the heat in urban environments is created by the sun beaming down on the streets, sidewalks, and buildings.

Plants actually help absorb some of this heat and cut down on air conditioning costs during the warmest months of the year when you have a garden on your roof. In addition, during the winter months, the soil and drainage layers form an insulating system.

Having many plants in a rooftop garden or balcony garden can also reduce the amount of rain drainage and help prevent flooding in the area. If more buildings had gardens in urban locations, heavy rains would not become as much of an issue. The more plants, the more of a delay in water running off roofs and other structures.

For landscaping project enthusiasts, an obvious benefit in having a rooftop garden is being able to have a traditional garden in an untraditional place. Many apartment buildings and condos now provide rooftop gardens for tenants.

A Good Choice for Property Management

Building managers understand that plenty of tenants want to take part in landscaping projects. By giving renters and condo owners a rooftop garden, tenants are less likely to leave for the suburbs.

Another consideration is maintenance. A green roof, when engineered and constructed properly, can add years to the roof of a building.

What Can I Grow?

Tenants can plant beautiful flowers, container trees, plants, and more in their own little section of the garden. Another obvious benefit of a rooftop garden is having a vegetable garden close to your home.

Growing fresh veggies and fruit is so much more economical than buying fresh produce from grocery stores. It also gives gardeners an opportunity to make sure their fresh produce is grown without chemicals.

A number of gardeners prefer a healthy lifestyle, and have a strict organic fruits and vegetables only diet. Also, produce can be picked and consumed at the height of ripeness, unlike much commercial produce which must be picked early due to shipping times.

Having a rooftop garden in an urban environment is often a relaxing way to get away from all the excitement of the city. For city dwellers that are feeling the stress of a hectic lifestyle, creating a rooftop garden is an excellent way to relax. Some people strictly build rooftop gardens for aesthetic purposes, and enjoy hiding out in their own little garden sanctuary.

A rooftop garden can be as complex as having actual grass planted along the entire roof with plants, trees, and flowers scattered along the entire space. For those not interested in such complex landscaping projects, planters are the perfect option.

With many choices such as clay, stone, wooden, and plastic planters, and number of shapes and sizes to choose from, a rooftop garden can be as elaborate or as simple as possible.

Never forget, a simple rock garden often only requires a stone planter, some inexpensive plants like hens & chicks and cacti, and stones you’ve found in parks.

Structural Considerations

Keep in mind that this is probably a weekend DIY project. Whether you have a composition shingle or metal roof, the structure must be strong enough to carry the additional weight.

It’s a good idea to work with a structural engineer who can evaluate your property and make recommendations rather than just taking the word of the contractor. In fact, your local building code probably calls for it.

A rooftop garden or a balcony garden has many benefits. Not only will it bring joy to landscaping project enthusiasts living in the city, gardens provide many environmental benefits. Have you had any experience with these rooftops? Feel free to share in the comment area below.

About the Author: is an article database created to educate and aid readers in their everyday landscaping projects to help the world grow. What makes our website trustworthy? The receives it’s editorials from landscaping pro Kevin Moore and members of his staff, as well as guest writer Jeannie who has written for landscaping and garden themed websites across the web, including The Green Frugal.

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