How to Plant Flowers in an Urban Area


Urban areas do not need to be devoid of color and beauty offered by flowers. There are many different ways to plant flowers in urban areas. Container gardens and rooftop gardens are two of the most common ways. Container gardens are the simplest way to plant flowers in an urban area. Rooftop gardens are rising in popularity in major cities as a way to lower heating and cooling costs and to filter pollution from the air. Rooftop gardens require more work but provide more space for urban growers.

Container Gardening

Step 1

Select a variety of sizes and styles of flower pots with drainage holes in the bottom. Choose a location such as a balcony or patio that gets at least six hours of sunlight to set up flower pots.

Step 2

Fill flower pots with potting soil. In large pots, plant one large flowering plant in the center. Surround the main plant with smaller flowering plants as accents. Geraniums, begonias, pansies and flowering herbs are all relatively easy to care for plants that will provide an abundance of color.

Step 3

Water the flowers regularly. Check the soil of each pot and do not allow the soil to become dry. During warmer months you may need to water every other day.

Step 4

Fertilize plants as they grow. During times of new growth fertilize plants once per week. Once blooms appear fertilize plants once per month.

Rooftop Gardening

Step 1

Obtain permission from the property manager or management company. Rooftop gardening is considered construction. You will need to consult with a structural engineer or architect to determine how much weight the roof can hold. Most cities require a building permit before you can begin installing your rooftop garden. Contact your local building commission office to obtain a building permit.

Step 2

Sketch the layout of your garden. Extensive rooftop gardens weigh less than intensive rooftop gardens and are easier to install. Purchase the following items for extensive gardening: waterproof membrane (a vinyl coating that is painted directly on to the roof); polymer-modified bitumen sheets (recommended roof membrane) to protect the roof from root damage; rain barrels and a garden hose to use as an irrigation system; pea gravel and filter fabric to create a drainage system; soil (manure, potting soil and compost mixture); and plants.

Step 3

Paint the roof with the waterproofing membrane and allow to dry. The ambient temperature and humidity will determine how long the membrane needs to dry, normally one to two days. Install bitumen sheets and cover with filter fabric (woven geosynthetic fabric). Layer 2 inches of pea gravel over the filter fabric.

Step 4

Mix potting soil, manure and compost at a ratio of 2-to-1. Spread over the pea gravel in at least a 6-inch layer. Place rain barrels near corners of the roof and connect garden hose to spigots on the barrels. Set up barrel compost bin.

Step 5

Plant flowers and other vegetation according to your design, include flowering herbs, edible plants and ornamentals. Trees will require large containers as the soil depth is not enough to adequately support their root systems.

Things You'll Need

  • Flower pots
  • Potting soil
  • Flowering plants
  • Fertilizer
  • Building permit
  • Architect's assessment
  • Foam board insulation
  • Roof membrane
  • Irrigation system
  • Filter fabric
  • Waterproofing membrane
  • Protection board
  • Water barrel
  • Barrel compost bin
  • Hose
  • Pea gravel
  • Potting soil
  • Manure
  • Compost
  • Vegetation


  • Flower Gardening Made Easy: Container Gardening Tips
  • Gardening Know How: Creating Your Own Rooftop Tips
  • Chicago Department of Environment: A Guide to Rooftop Gardening
Keywords: container gardening, urban gardening, roof top garden

About this Author

Currently residing in Myrtle Beach, SC, Tammy Curry began writing agricultural and frugal living articles in 2004. Her articles have appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Farm Chronicle and Country Family Magazine. Ms. Curry has also written SEO articles for She holds an associate's degree in science from Jefferson College of Health Sciences.