Is It Expensive to Start a Rooftop Garden?

Many of us dream of having a large backyard and garden. Wouldn’t you want a backyard like that of Forrest Gump’s? All that green grass will relieve your anxiety and stress. But that’s not we all get to live. For many of us, we get a patch of garden out back and that’s it. But why should you stop yourself from dreaming of having access to an herb garden? Why shouldn’t you surround yourself with gorgeous flowers, shrubs, and even vegetation?

And building a rooftop garden isn’t even expensive. Sure, you can apply for a signature loan if you want it to be expansive and full of rare flowers but for the most part, a garden can be built slowly. You don’t have to fill it up elaborately in one go. You can start from a small seedling and build a gorgeous and tranquil garden from that one plant or flower.

How Much Does It Cost to Have a Rooftop Garden?

The answer depends on whether your roof is slanted or flat. If it’s slanted, you have to call a contractor to change the angle of the roof. You might have heard of nightmare stories where the roof of a house gave in because of the weight of the soil and pots. There could also be damage caused by the water. While these can happen, one way around it is to call a structural engineer.

An engineer will show you how to mitigate these issues, as well as redesign the roof. Expect to be charged about $500 a week for a structural engineer or roughly between $100 to $150 per hour. You can also pay a structural engineer on a per-hour basis or 8% of the cost of the project. While this may sound expensive, this is the most important step in starting your own rooftop garden.

Next, you will need a greenhouse on your roof. It can also be a simple area where a shade can be drawn up when certain plants need not be exposed to the sun. Depending on many factors, a greenhouse on your roof can cost at least $30 per square foot or as much as $200 per square foot for more modern and elaborate setups.

Finally, you have to choose the kind of planters you will use. You can build planter boxes out of lumber, buy from the local gardening stores, or reuse something you already have in the house. Whatever you plan to use, make sure that they all form a cohesive look for the rooftop garden. You don’t want things to look mismatched, especially if you’re planning to use your rooftop garden to organize parties and welcome guests.

Choose the Plants Wisely

Garden in roof deck

Once you have set up the structure of the roof, the areas where the plants and tools can be hidden away from sunlight and storm, then you’re ready to choose the plants and flowers to grow. You can ask your family and friends for cuttings from their own garden. You can also buy from gardening shops and propagate them yourself.

But, how do you choose the plants that you should grow in your rooftop garden? You have to consider the average temperature in your area and the total amount of sun your rooftop receives. Other considerations that have to be made are breeze and humidity. Do you want to grow vegetables and fruits there? Tomatoes, for example, want sunlight while carrots and radishes need deep soil to cultivate. The best type of vegetables to grow in your rooftop are lettuces, beans, kale, spinach, and herbs. They do very well in rooftop gardens.

If you are a newbie, you should try using domestic plants. Not only are these less expensive since they grow in your area, but they are also more likely to live and thrive. They are not difficult to grow because they are acclimated to the weather there. You will have zero trouble with keeping up with their needs.

When preparing to start a rooftop garden, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on the planters, pots, and seedlings. What’s important is to prepare your garden structurally. Defer to your engineer or contractor when it comes to the stability of the foundation of your roof. This is the most critical phase of rooftop gardening.

A rooftop garden can also reduce rooftop maintenance costs. It can prolong the life of your roof for more than 20 years. Likewise, it is also a great place to hang out in. Surrounding yourself with nature is always the best way to spend time.

Scroll to Top