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The thought of building a natural oasis on top of a building may seem a little odd, but the fact is that rooftop gardens have been around for centuries. Roof Gardens began in Europe a long time ago and since then have become the latest trend in gardening. Not only are rooftop gardens beautiful and unique, they are also efficient in many unique ways.
Hidden Hideaways (and Benefits)
Of course, one advantages of the roof garden is its secrecy. No more kids, vermin, and strangers tromping through your flowerbeds. Not only does their "secret" location keep them safe, but it adds a concealed privacy to your outdoor habitat. And this uniqueness can actually add economic value to your home due to its aesthetic appeal.
Here are some other ways rooftop gardens benefit you and your environment:
Energy Efficiency: Roof gardens absorb a lot of energy by being on top of a structure. They provide natural noise and thermal heat insulation, thereby cutting down on utility bills. Plus, since the foliage itself needs water and sun, they actually retain twice as much rainfall and sun. What this means for you is less water runoff, and therefore less flooding; and in bigger cities this decreases the excess heat caused by urban heat islands. Roof gardens actually cool places off to a certain degree.
Creates Space: By utilizing the space on top of a structure or building, you then have more room in your own backyard for other projects. Also, if you live in a city, roof gardens are one of your only chances to grow plant life away from the noise and pollution of city streets.
Provides for Nature: Not only do rooftop gardens add to your own peace and tranquility through their special beauty, they also improve the natural environment by providing wildlife habitats (something people in the city may lack). Plus, due to the extra foliage these gardens also re-oxygenate the air and retain harmful toxins, allowing your home and neighborhood to reap the natural benefits.
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Some Tips to Keep in Mind
Though you may be ready to start planting soon, there are some little things to remember about your rooftop garden before you begin:
First, you must have tough plants. On the roof these plants get the brunt of all the weather, year-round, so even with proper maintenance, the tougher the plant, the more productive the roof garden.
Second, make sure you have a flat or gently sloped roof. Otherwise there will be problems, not only with the plants themselves but with rainwater run-off as well. Third, make sure everything is water tight and that your roof can handle the weight. Some roof gardens just use planters, and are therefore light. But if you're thinking of a more extensive project with pavers and stone, then make sure your roof is suitable for the installation.