Rooftop Gardening: Benefits and Drawbacks

Considering installing a rooftop garden? Expert Jenn Lassa weighs in with the pros and cons of the project.

For many people, the return of warm weather comes with a strong desire to spend more time outdoors. It is also prime time to take another look at one’s own outdoor living space and see what improvements can be made. If you don’t have a backyard to work with, another way to consider bringing a bit of greenery to on your property is the addition of a rooftop garden.

ESTATENVY connected with Jenn Lassa of Rooftopia to get the scoop on the pros and cons of this exterior enhancement.

Pro: Transform an Underdeveloped Space

Lassa noted that by taking advantage of one’s rooftop living space, they are able to add immense value to their homes. She said that the addition of plants, “creates ambiance in any outdoor space, adding a softness and organic quality against the backdrop of architecture in an urban environment.”

She explained that this serves a natural escape within an otherwise walled, concrete landscape. A rooftop garden quickly becomes a natural and essential extension of one’s living space.

Con: Maintenance

While certain installations may require minimal upkeep, others are more sensitive. If you are planning to install a rooftop garden, it is important to keep this time commitment in mind.

The most extensive maintenance can be necessary before or after the summer season. Lassa said, “most rooftop gardens require more time and effort in spring and fall for deadheading, fertilizing, pruning, mulch applications and irrigation maintenance.”

Pro: Increase Rooftop Longevity

Installing a rooftop garden can have a surprising impact on the space itself. Lassa mentioned that the vegetation can actually, “protect from UV exposure and ultimately lengthen the life of the roof.”

In addition, it is able to provide a degree of insulation for the building. This serves to moderate the temperature of the space naturally, which ultimately reduces the amount of energy that is used in the building. For this reason, the installation can be an environmentally-conscious decision.

Con: Unexpected Installation Costs

Residents may have high hopes for the scale of their rooftop garden, but it is important to be realistic about the limitations of the project itself. Lassa explained that it is wise for homeowners to take their time planning out the scope of the installation. If rushed, there is always the potential for unexpected costs to pop up. These can later pose a challenge for sticking to the budget. For that reason, it is best to devise a thoughtful and thorough plan for the investment and design from the very beginning.

Pro: Block Undesirable Views

We are all surrounded by walls, concrete and hard surfaces in day to day life,” said Lassa. “The plants and trees in a garden oasis offer in an immediate escape to a natural environment and are an essential extension of a home for relaxing and entertaining.

With the proper landscaping, a garden can serve as an aesthetically pleasing screen to hide any unsightly surrounding views. Depending on the layout, a garden can serve as a way to create a feeling of visual harmony across one’s outdoor living space.