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Rooftop Gardens: Coming Soon to a Neighbourhood Near You

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Maria Mahohvlic

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Amidst skyscrapers and bustling cities, gardening seems almost a thing of the past. Not anymore. A new trend is hitting cities throughout North America, and it just might be what your business needs. Rooftop gardens are interesting, environmentally-friendly, and even a little edgy.

Even if you don’t own a restaurant, your business could benefit from your own rooftop garden.

Rooftop Garden Benefits

When you think of a successful business, a rooftop garden probably isn’t the first quality that comes to mind. So why are businesses choosing to incorporate them? There are several reasons.

Uses unused space

In an urban setting, there’s little room to enjoy a garden—and purchasing land for gardening is expensive. Yet your roof is just sitting in the sky, teeming with possibilities. Why not put that space to use?

Reduces pollution

Rooftop gardens aren’t just great for your business; they’re great for residential roofs. The National Research Council of Canada estimates that a large number of rooftop gardens in an area could decrease smog and heat stress and lower energy consumption. Not only will this help the city where you live or work, but it could also increase your business. Many customers love companies that strive to be environmentally conscious.

Lowers utility bills

Plants provide a natural form of roof insulation, meaning they help lower your heating and cooling costs.

Provides entertainment and relaxation

The best part about a rooftop garden? Human interest. Customers will flock to your garden—and your business—as a place to relax and enjoy themselves. In a busy, polluted city, a rooftop garden offers a sigh of relief.

How to Start a Rooftop Garden

If you’re thinking seriously about a rooftop garden, first consider your business’s roof. It needs to be flat so the plants can sit comfortably, and customers can safely walk on it. It also needs to be sturdy enough to support the weight of the plants. You’ll want to check with a roofing contractor to determine whether your roof can support a garden.

There are three different types of rooftop gardens:

  • Extensive Green Roof: supports mosses, herbs, grass and other plants requiring inexpensive, shallow soil.

  • Semi-intensive Green Roof: supports shrubs, bushes, and herbaceous plants, with a deeper soil layer.

  • Intensive Green Roof: supports a wide variety of plants and trees with a deep soil layer.

If you know your roof is safe for any of these types, you’ll next need to know where to put your plants. Containers are the most obvious choice, but some rooftop gardens grow their plants in rows of soil, just as typical gardens do.

If you use containers, keep in mind that clay, cement, and terra cotta pots are all very heavy and will add to the weight on your roof. On the other hand, plastic and synthetic containers can’t support tall plants and may get knocked over in the wind. Your choice depends on which plants you keep, and how windy conditions are on top of your roof.

Once you have sturdy containers, it’s time to choose your plants. You’ll need plants that can withstand heat, since rooftops are closer to the sun. You’ll also want plants that don’t require much soil. Herbs and vegetables are always great choices.

Now, get your hands on high quality soil and fertilizer. You’ll need to fertilize your plants about every 2 to 3 weeks and water them regularly. Depending on the types of plants, you may need to prune them and eliminate pests.

Rooftop Garden Wonders

Are rooftop gardens successful? Just ask the dozens of businesses that are trying it. Many people are finding that rooftop gardens are a great addition.

Make sure you’ve evaluated all the costs before you plow forward. To see if your business’s roof can handle a rooftop garden, speak with the roofing contractors at Century Roofing Limited.

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