rooftop garden

Rooftop gardens are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Image: Shutterstock

With so much negative news about the environment these days, it’s time to be cheered up.  There are some things very much going in our favor.  Yes, climate change is real.  And, yes, global warming is happening right now.  However, there are many people and organizations working hard to stop it from progressing. 

Many want to lower their carbon footprint, and one way to do it is to grow a green roof.  Essentially it means growing a small garden on your actual roof.  Granted, this type of agriculture is much more suited to some roofs than others.  If you have a slanted, shingled roof, you might want to consider solar panels instead.  They won’t corrode your roof and will eventually cause your power meter to run backward, thus forcing the city to pay you for the use of the power you created.  Pretty sweet deal! 

Anyhow, for suitable roofs, growing a green roof can actually extend the life of the roof by blocking out ultraviolet light and helping to moderate temperature changes.  Further, they “can also slow storm water runoff, reduce building heating and cooling costs, cool and clean the air, and provide habitat and attractive greenery in urban environments.”

It does take a certain level of dedication to keep your rooftop garden up and running.  Some simple ways to create one include using pots or planters with approximately eight or more inches of soil.  There are really endless varieties of what you could grow ranging from veggies to beautiful flowering trees to delicate, ornate buds.  Just be aware of the amount of sun or shade needed and climate for growing. 

If you don’t want to undertake such a labor-intensive project as a full-on green roof, please consider what is known as an “extensive” green roof.  The name sounds like it will be hard work, but this variety is actually thinner and lighter.  There is usually an irrigation system in place and ideal placement of plants for this type of roof are bound to be drought-resistant.  Therefore, it’s less work in the long run.

Something which might encourage you to take a closer look at green roofs is that your city may offer some type of incentive for growing one.  Just beware of any type of zoning laws or limits on where you can grow a rooftop garden.