Unique Roof Garden Design with Unusual Roof Garden Plants

Roof Garden Design

A flat roof can easily be converted into an unusual roof garden. Design of your roof garden will much depend on the size of roof available, but nevertheless it will be perfect for a party on a hot summer evening. A few Russian vines (Polygonum baldschuanicum, now more correctly Fallopia baldschuanica) twining their way round a couple of chimneys will strike the right atmosphere. But for the imaginative planter the scope is much greater.

Container gardening is obviously the way to go for your roof garden design, but you are not just restricted to the plants – furniture adds to the whole “look and feel” and will make your roof garden design quite unique.


Structural Considerations

roof-garden design Professional advice should be sought before installing heavy containers and décor on the roof. Soil and water, not to mention garden containers, plants and people, can be very heavy, and an architect, reputable builder or the local authority Building Control Officer should be consulted. And, of course, planning permission sought and obtained.

Raised beds can be built for permanent planting, but in view of the weight this creates it is best to confine planting to tubs, troughs and growing bags where possible.

In the best roof garden I have seen, 23 storeys high and only 2.5m x 3.2m (8ft 6in x 10ft 6in), lightweight packing cases had been used to form terraces and build up borders and beds on different levels. This enabled the owner to grow 50 different shrubs, climbers and plants, 24 kinds of vegetables, a collection of herbs and even a few soft fruit bushes!

With roof gardens, high winds can be a trial and considerable tidying up may be necessary after a stormy night, but a windbreak of fine mesh-netting might be erected.

All containers must be very carefully secured using galvanized wire ties. These can be attached to screw eyes fitted in wall plugs in the parapet walls. In all cases, use soil-based composts for planting in preference to lightweight peat-based types.

Small trees need a substantial container, and a brick-built trough, lead tank, or even a wooden crate that holds a generous amount of soil, can be used. Whichever container you finally decide upon, ensure that it has adequate drainage. Also, staking and tying-in of young trees is essential.


Roof Garden Plants

Roof garden plants are not just restricted to bulbs and small shrubs, among trees and even larger shrubs that can be used are figs and hebes – they are worth trying in mild areas. And small apple trees and Cotoneaster horizontalis will grow in most places.

It is however, naturally best to keep to small plants, ground-huggers and creepers.

Nasturtiums will give a magnificent display if sprayed regularly against aphids. Calendulas, petunias, geraniums (upright and trailing), Perilla frutescens ‘Nankinensis’, lobelia, carnations, cornflowers, primulas, fuchsias, ageratum, dahlias (pom-pom), stocks and silver-leaved foliage plants will all enjoy the sunshine. Small bulbs also thrive, but daffodils and tulips should be chosen for shortness and stoutness of stem.

By careful selection of plants and bulbs, it is possible to provide a long and continuous period of flowers and foliage even in a very small roof garden.

Roof garden plants such as climbers are exceptionally suitable – among these the Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is well worth growing as its autumn colour is brilliant. Clematis montana and winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum), and variegated ivies, should all be found a place too.

On the windbreak walls, sweet peas would add their brilliant splashes of colour to a luxuriant growth of clematis and variegated ivies.


Vegetables for the Roof Garden Design

Unusual roof garden plants would be vegetables. And although you are unlikely to set out to grow a crop of potatoes in your roof garden, many vegetables can be grown, especially salad crops. It would be unwise to grow tall crops that need staking, but all the salad crops plus a selection of herbs can be grown most successfully.

07. September 2010 by admin
Categories: Container Gardening, Garden Types, Gardening Ideas, Roof Gardens | Tags: | Comments Off on Unique Roof Garden Design with Unusual Roof Garden Plants


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