Skip to main content

A rooftop garden is the summer oasis you need: Your ultimate care guide

Your outdoor oasis is a place you go in the warmer months to relax in the sun (or to comfortably unwind in the shade). So when you’re putting this space together, plants are a natural part of the equation. Why not create a rooftop garden so you can spend your summer surrounded by plants?

If you’re lucky enough to have a residential rooftop as part of your living space, landscaping your rooftop yard is a must. Take advantage of this scenic area by choosing the best rooftop garden plants and growing a beautiful, healthy garden that you can enjoy all summer long. If you’re not sure where to begin, we have some great tips for how to care for your rooftop garden so you can bask in this perfect summer oasis.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

What you’ll need

For starters, get your planters. You can go with a bunch of pots, but we suggest a few large planters instead. They will allow you to stand while caring for your plants, rather than crouching on the ground, and make your beautiful garden more visible to others. Another option is to buy some hanging plant stands, which are totally in style.

Recommended Videos

You’ll also need at least one bag of extra soil and gardening gloves. Depending on how many plants you buy and how large your planters are, you could end up needing two to three bags of soil or more. Make your own judgment based on the size and number of planters.

A hose would be great for watering your garden, but if that’s not possible, we suggest a large watering can. Fertilizer is your friend as well. You can also get other gardening tools as you see fit. Some of these include a hand trowel, a rake, and a wheelbarrow for soil.

You’ll need yard furniture and decor to make your garden a true hangout spot for the summer. We suggest some comfy outdoor couches, string lights, umbrellas for shade, a stand-up bar, and a small shed, shelf, or cabinet to store your gardening tools. The exciting part will be arranging your planters and other furniture to your liking. Now, all that’s left are the plants themselves.

The best rooftop garden plants

Sturdy plants that can withstand lots of sunlight are best for a rooftop. You definitely don’t just want to re-pot your indoor plants — they stay inside in indirect sunlight for a reason. Most plants that call for direct sunlight will work in your rooftop garden.

Plants can range from leafy bushes and small trees to flowers and vines to vegetables. Here’s a short list so you can choose your favorites, but know that there are many more options available to you.

Flowers

  • Roses
  • Marigolds
  • Petunias
  • Pansies
  • Begonias

Trees/Shrubs

  • Juniper
  • Pine
  • Lemon
  • Japanese maple

Vegetables

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers 
  • Zucchini
  • Radishes
  • Peppers
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to keep your rooftop garden thriving

Rooftop gardens are extra-exposed to the elements, so it’s important to check on them frequently — about twice a day — and keep up with maintenance. Make sure you have the time to care for your garden and water your plants thoroughly.

When you check on your garden, remove all weeds, trim your plants, and make sure no pests or animals have tampered with the garden. You can also fertilize your plants periodically so that they receive the proper nutrients to stay alive. Be sure to keep them moist at all times because they get lots and lots of sunlight.

Though planting a rooftop garden can be hard work, the result is a heavenly summer oasis for you to relax in. The time and effort it takes to care for a rooftop garden are rewarding and worth it, especially when you have guests over who are sure to be in awe over your outdoor home design and gardening skills.

Residential rooftops are becoming ever more popular, especially in cities where people want to escape from the hustle and bustle on the streets and relax on some higher ground. Plants work so well in a space like this. Not only do they give off some seriously zen vibes, but they actually purify the air. Plus, who doesn’t want to be surrounded by nature?

When preparing your rooftop garden, don’t forget your planters, gardening tools, furniture, and tips for caring for and watering your plants. Once you’ve cared for your garden each day, you can sit back, take in the sun, and relax among nature of your own making.

Editors' Recommendations

Rustic but modern: Why water trough gardening may be right for you
Water trough gardening will have you planting in style — here are the pros and cons
Water trough with plants

Water trough gardening has been a rising trend in the green thumb community. There is no one-size-fits-all method to achieving a beautiful garden: Some gardeners create gorgeous vertical gardens, some prefer pyramid gardens, while others would rather start a hydroponic garden. But water trough gardening is unique because it typically uses steel or other metal and is often used to provide fresh, clean water to livestock on farms or ranches.

If you are looking to achieve a rustic yet modern look in your garden, a water trough planter can be the perfect vessel to hold your plants. Here are the pros and cons of water trough gardening so you can determine whether it’s the best gardening method for you and your space.

Read more
What to grow in your apartment balcony vegetable garden
Gardens aren't just for houses — here's how to start one at your apartment
Balcony garden with watering can

Planting your own vegetable garden can reap many benefits. For one, consuming more fruits and vegetables is key when you are trying to eat right, get into shape, and stay healthy overall. Plus, growing produce in your own garden means the vegetables have a higher vitamin content than those you get at the market. Your garden's vegetables are also free from harmful chemicals such as pesticides.

Another great perk to growing your own fruits and vegetables is that it saves you money on groceries. And yet another perk: Gardening can be a natural stress reliever because being outside and getting fresh air and sunshine can improve your mood and make you feel rejuvenated.

Read more
How to declutter your home this summer: The ultimate checklist
Don’t let your old clutter pile up. Instead, follow this list to stay on top of your organization
Person organizing boxes in their finished attic

Have you ever embarked on a big decluttering spree only to wind up finding extra boxes and broken items that you had meant to throw out but you forgot about them during the chore? Then, you end up shoving these items into the back of the closet or hiding them in the attic for your next decluttering craze. But what happens when you continuously neglect to master your decluttering sessions? As the items pile up, it seems like this task becomes endless.

That’s why we’re offering you the ultimate checklist so you can know how to declutter your home. Don’t let your old clutter pile up. Instead, follow this list to stay on top of your organization.

Read more