How to Install a Roof Top Garden


Roofstop gardens give city gardeners with limited space a place to create a garden of their own. The gardens are eco-friendly, add extra insulation to a home or business, keep the building cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter and add years to the life span of the roof. Check with your local municipality to see if there are any tax breaks for installing a green roof. The entire project will take about a week to complete.

Step 1

Check your local zoning laws regarding rooftop gardens, and file for any needed permits.

Step 2

Clean and check the roof for any needed repairs, and get them done before construction.

Step 3

Contact a structural engineer to determine the weight your roof will support. This will tell you how deep the soil should be and how many and what kinds of plants your garden will support.

Step 4

Taper the roof with a layer of insulation so that rain water will flow down to the lower end and go to the storage tanks on the ground.

Step 5

Install a layer the roof panel using foam adhesive. The deck keeps the roots away from the roof. Cover the deck with roof board.

Step 6

Add lightweight soil on top of the rubber to the recommended depth. Another option is to use planters and containers. Using soil will allow space for more plants, but using containers makes the plants easy to move in case you need to get access to the roof.

Step 7

Pick the plants based on the lighting conditions on the roof. Determine how much sunshine the roof gets each day. Different areas can have different amounts. If the roof is all in the sun, consider getting larger, sun-loving plants to provide shade for smaller ones.

Things You'll Need

  • Water storage tanks Insulation Recycled expanded polystyrene roof panels, 11 inches thick Foam adhesive TPO waterproofing rubber Lightweight soil made for rooftop gardens Fiberglass roof board


  • Connect: Green Dream: Installing a Rooftop Garden
  • Scientific American: Advice on Creating a Rooftop Garden
  • How To Do Things: Rooftop Garden Designs: Green Roof Gardening Tips
Keywords: roof gardens, constructing roof gardens, roof planting

About this Author

Regina Sass has been a writer for 10 years, penning articles for publications in the real estate and retail industries. Her online experience includes writing, advertising and editing for an educational website. Sass is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.