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Disadvantages of a Roof Garden

By Cassie Damewood ; Updated July 21, 2017
Roof gardens offer urban residents plant growing options but may pose problems.
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City dwellers wishing to grow fresh vegetables and flowers sometimes opt to plant gardens on the rooftops of homes, apartment complexes and commercial office buildings. While some roof gardens produce healthy foods and flowers with minimal problems, others experience difficulties.

Common Disadvantages

Buildings requiring a lot of water for general maintenance may pose problems as roof gardens significantly cut into the water supply. Since soil is a relatively heavy substance, most roofs require reinforcements before gardens can safely be sown on their surfaces. Roofs regularly subjected to high winds may lose significant numbers of plants and seedlings during certain seasons.


Although roof gardens need a protective membrane in between the soil and the rooftop, leakage may occur if nails, screws or garden tools penetrate the covering. Since repair of the membrane necessitates removal of part or all of the garden, this is a costly renovation.

Other Drawbacks

Unlike a typical garden, roof gardens require intricate and costly drainage systems to ensure no water seeps into the building through tiny cracks and crevices in walls or drips down the sides of the building. Insurance premiums for buildings with roof gardens are generally higher than for standard structures.


About the Author


Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.