Living in the inner-city has its benefits. For starters, you’re much closer to amenities and public transport. In some areas, apartments in cities are closer to where residents work and are often cheaper to rent. You’re also closer to the buzz that makes cities the chosen place to live for young people.

It’s no wonder then that young people across Australia are using the roof access hatch on their building roofs as a gateway to reach the top of the building. “To do what?” you might ask. The answer is simple – plant rooftop gardens! 

Rooftop Gardens – Inner Cities’ Answer to Bonding With Nature

There’s no denying it. Cities are getting bigger and as a result, indoor living spaces are becoming considerably smaller. Reduced spaces don’t however diminish people’s need to bond with nature. Many people are turning to the empty rooftop spaces to create gardens. Doing this is an ideal way to bring the tranquillity of nature back to the inner cities. 

In the absence of a regular backyard, a rooftop garden is quite possibly the easiest way to create an exquisite view, utilise an otherwise dull-looking space and grow crops in the process. If you’ve been giving a rooftop garden some thought, then this article is for you. Read on as we provide you with a few tips for creating a stunning rooftop space. 

  1. Request Permission

Unless you own the building, you’ll have to request permission from the necessary body corporates. Depending on where you live, you might also need permission from the relevant council as rooftop gardens might influence the structure of the original roof. 

  1. Do the Math

The size and supporting strength of the roof will determine the type of garden you can build. In some instances, the building owner might not mind a more intensive roof garden where you turn the entire space into a garden plot. 

Alternatively, some owners might feel that this type of garden will interfere with the building’s structure or be in the way of maintenance. In this case, you could opt for pots and planter boxes that aren’t in the way of other residents or maintenance workers. 

Don’t be discouraged if you can only get permission for planters and pots. The wide variety of pot colours and styles will make it easy to create a beautiful garden. 

  1. Consider the Elements

Your rooftop garden will most likely be exposed to a great deal of sunlight for the bulk of the day. Aside from direct sunlight, your plants will be exposed to heat radiating from the roof and surrounding buildings. The amount of sun and heat will determine the types of plants you opt for. 

  1. Create Barriers if Necessary

Depending on the layout of your rooftop garden, you might have to erect a few windbreaks such as lattices and trellises to disrupt the flow of the wind. If your garden looks into other people’s private spaces, consider adding a few small trees or sunshades. Design your garden so that it isn’t a nuisance to other residents. 

  1. Storage 

If possible, you will have to create a small storage box or Garden Sheds on the roof. Here you can store items such as gardening tools, buckets, potting mix, fertilisers and other garden paraphernalia needed to maintain your garden. 

  1. Irrigation

Before you start the whole gardening process, consider how you will water your plants. Will you carry buckets of water up and down the roof access hatch every few days? Is there a way to get a hose up there without making a mess or inconveniencing any of the other residents? 

  1. Drainage

If you’re going to plant a plot type garden, it’s important to check where the water will go. Ensure that the water runoff doesn’t affect the structure of the roof or make a huge mess. An ideal situation would be to reuse this runoff water in the garden. Plants in pots and planters will be considerably easier to water and manage in the beginning. 

Benefits of Having a Garden on the Roof

Aside from a beautiful view, a rooftop garden offers several benefits:

  • A private rooftop sanctuary above the bustling urban landscape.
  • Residents can grow food and plants that enhance some of the biodiversity of that particular area.
  • There’s a reduction in stormwater runoff.
  • Allergens and airborne bacteria are trapped by the plants, thereby improving the general air quality in the area.
  • Plants protect the building from extensive temperature fluctuations which in turn reduces the need for cooling or heating systems. This ultimately reduces the overall energy costs for those using the building’s interior. 

Final Thought

If you live in the inner-city and have a vacant space on your building’s roof, it might be time to get the necessary permission to start a garden. Create a visual proposal to get the benefit across to the necessary body corporate. If permission is granted, use our tips to create a beautiful oasis that won’t only benefit the residents but everyone in the area!


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