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Guest Blog: Planting a Rooftop Garden

Posted Jan 05 2011 12:14am

Today is a guest blog post on a topic that sparked a lot of interest when I blogged about it a few weeks ago - rooftop gardening.  I encountered some roof top gardens on a trip to San Francisco last Summer and it sparked my interest ever since.  Seems many more people are just as interested in the concept.
I invited Dontel Montelbaun, the lead writer for  LiveToGarden.com , who also expressed interest in the topic, to write this article on rooftop gardens for our blog.  Enjoy!
Sean
Planting a Rooftop Garden


by Dontel Montelbaun; Lead writer for  LiveToGarden.com


Rooftop gardens do more than make your roof or rooftop patio look good -- they can also save you money and benefit the environment. When planting your garden , you should know where to buy plants , what types there are and what they can do for you and the Earth.Types of PlantsA variety of plants will thrive in rooftop gardens, but remember to plant only what you can maintain. You don't need to have high-maintenance plants, but they do require regular watering (if it doesn't rain often enough). Planting hardy shrubs and surrounding them with seasonal bulbs is visually appealing and easy to maintain. Bamboo plants, such as Pseudosasa japonica and Phylostachys bissetti, are good for rooftop gardens because they can handle high winds; bamboo planted along the edge of your garden can even act as an environmentally sustainable privacy screen.When choosing your plants, you need to know what your roof can handle structurally and how much sunlight the plants will get. If your roof can't handle a lot of extra weight, consider planting herbs and perennials. They require very little soil compared to shrubs and larger plants. Where to Buy PlantsYour local garden center and growers should be able to provide you with the plants you need. Find out what they keep in stock and see what looks healthy. Just like any plants you buy, those for your rooftop garden should come with planting instructions, such as required soil depth and amount of sunlight, that will help you take care of them. Rooftop Garden Sustainability Rooftop gardens are highly sustainable and increase your outdoor green space. They're a unique extra to any home or business and offer benefits that outweigh the cost. Rooftop gardens can:
    Decrease the amount of noise pollution by acting as sound barriers. Reduce rain runoff by absorbing precipitation. Act as a natural insulator, saving you money on heating and cooling and reducing your energy consumption. Reduce carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. 
Thanks to some of these benefits, rooftop gardens are increasingly being viewed as a way to fight climate change.A Practical Choice for Homes or BusinessesRooftop gardens do not require flat roofs. Even if your roof wasn't built for extra weight on top, check out the structural possibilities. Lightweight gardens are possible and are still beneficial to you and the environment.
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