Part 1 – Rooftop Gardens atop Metro High-Rises

Rooftop gardens provide a break from the everyday happenings in the businesses of a high-rise building. These ingenious “green spaces” utilize a wide area of a building that ordinarily would be unused and wasted.

Planting green spaces on the roof of Metropolitan high-rises are an interesting proposal. There are many interesting characteristics of a ‘rooftop garden’ that will benefit those who take advantage of the garden’s products. It is a logical progression of the ‘green’ movement. People are thinking of new and different ways to preserve nature and having gardens in previously barren areas is one way to sanctify a city, especially a densely-populated city, where there is a deficit of green trees and foliage in the area.

There is a lot of space on the roof of a large building. Often this rooftop area ends up as ‘dead space,’ and no good uses come from it. A major advantage to rooftop gardens is that this space on top of buildings becomes productive and a more valuable space that is used, and that is used to benefit the people who work in that building.

Many Advantages

Well, cities lack greenery, simply because of all the concrete and large buildings. Look at NYC. In large metropolitan cities, such as NYC and Denver, of course, the downtown area is monopolized by large high-rise business buildings. Now, a lot of business people understand the importance of having at least some nature in the unnaturally fluorescent-lighted business buildings. They realize the importance of having some greenery indoors and will add indoor plants to the décor of the office, in order to provide a more aesthetically pleasing and more natural ambience to the sterile business offices. Another advantage to having indoor plants in offices is that the greenery helps to purify the air and increase the percentage of oxygen in the often stale air of business offices. Continuing with the need of more greenery in business areas, there are also special benefits of a rooftop garden.

First of all, the products that come from the rooftop garden can be shared by everyone in the building! Some people may grow vegetables, herbs or climbing vines and plants. Others can maintain small trees for nuts and fruits.

A Peaceful Retreat from the Everyday Stress at Work

Also, don’t discount the pleasing atmosphere that a rooftop garden can provide. Depending on space available, some building owners may decide to incorporate the rooftop garden area as a ‘green retreat’ for employees who work in the building. Now, it is important to carefully consider the square footage available when designing your business garden.

Construction of your Rooftop Garden

Make sure that the roof can be used as a garden. You have to check the local regulations and make sure they are allowed in the building code. Some roofs are not safe areas for people to be walking around on. However, it is nearly impossible to have a roof where no space at all can be used to plant something green. The rooftop garden is a project with numerous possibilities. With a lot of planning and creativity, almost any kind of space on the roof of a building can be used for a charming rooftop garden!

Before you start any type of growing on the roof of your building, you have to contact the owners of the building, check the regulations of the city and find reputable contractors to help with the construction of your garden project. It would be quite a shame to have to shut down a rooftop garden because of some city ordinance or something, because employees will become attached to the garden very quickly! There is no doubt that the roof garden will be a common place for people to visit during their breaks, lunch and before and after work (of course, if their garden is large enough!)

Safety

You must check with the contractor and the building owner that it is SAFE to have people and plants on the roof. We don’t want people falling off the building during gusty days and we don’t want any potted plants or fruit-bearing trees to blow over and fall down into the street, harming someone in the process!

Some preparatory work may have to be done before a garden can be started. For example, fences may need to be put up, walkways built, dangerous areas marked and appropriate warning signs put up, etcetera.

Be Creative

The building owners, contractors and business owners must survey the roof, decide what parts can be used in a rooftop garden and then put together some ideas of what kind of gardens can be put up there:  Trees? Park benches? Flowers? A small, shallow pond? Herbs? Vegetables? Nut trees? Fruit trees? These are just a few examples!

Consult with a Professional Landscaper

Call around to inquire to some landscapers about your rooftop garden and find a company with a lot of experience planning, designing and constructing rooftop gardens for business buildings. These professionals will certainly have a solid, professional opinion, to help business owners and employees decide what kind of rooftop garden would work best with the space that their roof space provides.

Alternative ideas

Well, if a rooftop garden just isn’t going to work, for one reason or another, there are other options for building-dwellers.

A Balcony or Patio Garden

Many balconies and high-rise patios have room for building some kind of ‘metro-garden,’ that’s a word I created to describe the effort of adding some ‘green’ to a business building in a metropolitan area. As I mentioned before, the ‘green’ that is added can be something simple as a couple potted plants, or you could have a small, portable area where you can spread out some soil and have a decent little ‘portable garden.’

Use your Garden Space as a Tree Nursery

You could also consider raising saplings and other baby trees and then when they are big enough, you can take them home, sell them to a nursery or even find a way to plant it in front of the building as part of your business’ front side landscaping.

As you read this, I’m sure a lot of ideas are popping in your head, there is a lot of imagination and problem solving involved in finding just the right kind of ‘urban garden,’ that will work for your business. Also, it can foster a sense of cooperation among several businesses as they work together toward the caring and growth of the building’s rooftop garden.

The Ideas are Endless!

Consult with your colleagues about putting up a rooftop garden atop your place of business. It will add a little bit of healthy ‘green’ to the monotony of the ‘cubicle’ 9 to 5 way of life experienced by many business employees who work in high-rise buildings in metropolitan areas.

In the next sections about Rooftop Gardens:  (1) I will explain HOW rooftop gardens are constructed, (2) I will describe some popular plants that flourish in a rooftop environment and finally, (3) I will provide a brief overview of some successful rooftop gardens in some of the United State’s major Metropolitan areas; including, Brooklyn, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.

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