Roof Top Gardening: The Do’s and Dont’s


‘If you have only but two coins buy a loaf of bread with one and the other a plant. The first is to sustain a life and the second is to have a life worth living’ – Ancient Chinese proverb.

Rooftop/Balcony gardens are nothing new. As modern-day lifestyle dynamics change, one of the most tantalizing projects city dwellers with limited space can delve into is gardening.

Gardening is a fulfilling opportunity that allows one to change the often underutilized real estate into a lush beautiful productive and fruitful spot. Essentially, maximizing space by going green does not only create a spot that’s wonderful for al fresco meals but also maximizes on the usage of space.

For a passionate gardener, no matter how much land one has, we always seem to be looking for more space. In this case, rooftop/balcony gardens are gaining popularity in both commercial and residential places as beautiful and easy alternatives to conventional gardening spaces.

There are various reasons to consider starting a rooftop garden:

  • They make the most use of underused or unused space.
  • A beautiful garden is always a sight for sore eyes.
  • They can give privacy and place of reflection.
  • They are environmentally friendly and totally needed to help climate change.
  • They give one an opportunity to be in a position to sustain a life and thus finding purpose.

What to consider before starting a rooftop garden

The easiest and most personal approach to rooftop gardening is the use of containers, clay pots and or raised beds. This allows you to create any style of a rooftop garden with plants grown in a container, from a few simple herb plants to formal, elegant wall climbers. Containers and pots are perfect for this purpose and strongly recommended for rooftops and balconies as they are light, portable, flexible, affordable and have a wonderful aesthetic feeling.


There are various things to consider though before starting your balcony/rooftop garden. Here are a few things you should probably have on your checklist before starting on your gardening project:

  1. Permission

There are buildings with a code of conduct for the tenants. Accessibility and restrictions may hinder or prohibit any use of your rooftop or balcony. It is wise to first check with the landlord or management for an okay before commencing.

2. Structural Integrity.

Soil pots are heavy. It is recommended that you make sure your rooftop or balcony can handle a certain amount of weight before indulging in any gardening.

3. Water

Plants need lots of water for their sustenance. Watering cans can be a nuisance thus you could consider alternative options which can make your gardening experience enjoyable. Installing a rain barrel or drip irrigation is one of the alternative ways that can help address this challenge.

4. Sun Exposure / Heat

Lots of sun/heat can be hazardous to your plants. You will probably need to offer some sort of shade so that you can avoid plants sweltering on top of concrete.

5. Privacy

Most high-rise buildings are in areas with a similar type of structures. If your rooftop or balcony is in full view you can plant a hedge of evergreens or climbers that would not only be visually pleasing but also give you a sense of privacy.

6. Storage

There is a lot of equipment associated with gardening: tools, fertilizer, compost, buckets. Space is limited to a balcony or rooftop hence full maximization is advised. Shelves and narrow closets have on most occasions been used for storage space when you don’t have one inside the house.


Some ornamental need electricity at night for proper growth. Electricity, however, is not that much a necessity. If you plan on enjoying your garden at night, candles give the best lighting and ambiance.

8. Cost

This is the greatest necessity for any project. You can start small and add-on as you get more knowledgeable about rooftop/balcony gardening. One way to begin is through use of inexpensive pots and plants with soil from the neighborhood. As your gardening progresses and hopefully expands, expenses incurred at this point would arise from extras things such as building raised beds and boxes or adding lighting and furniture.


However, all these factors should not deter you from starting your gardening experience. In fact, they should show you how easy and possible it is to use that space. Watching that seedling sprout from the dirt into a whole plant is quite magical. Are you interested in starting your own urban garden in the sky and getting your thumbs dirty? Then rooftop gardening is the best engagement for you this year. Get green in style and let your outdoor space look good doing it.

Facebook Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this article

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.