Terrace gardening may look simple but is a highly technical subject. The prime requirement is to have a reliable and high standard of three waterproofing layers at the building’s time. Most of the buildings are not built with such superior waterproofing, and sometimes the load-bearing capacity of the terrace may not be enough for bulky pots and may cause damage to the construction in the long run.
Although plants receive sufficient sunlight, air, and humidity on a terrace, plants experience severe conditions during summer and winter. Concrete flooring transfers extra heat and cold to pot plants. Further, the outer surface of planters absorbs cold and heat, which instantly affects the roots.
The following tips will help you while considering an average rooftop gardening:
· Pot plants are the best way of greening your rooftop terrace. Some creepers, hanging plants, flowering, and ornamental plants can give a splendid look. You can consider growing organic herbs, vegetables, and fruits.
· Use high-density media like perlite, peat moss, coco-pith, and vermicompost as far as possible.
· Avoid placing heavy trees with large crowns. Some varieties of Ficus may penetrate their roots dangerously into concrete.
· Avoid putting too many pots in a cluster as there can be a chance of water stagnation underneath. It may result in the formation of algae, causing the floor to be slippery and increasing the likelihood of seepage of water through the concrete.
· Clay, terra-cotta, and cement pots are unsuitable for a rooftop terrace as they are pretty heavy and vulnerable to breakage. It would help if you went in for good quality UV stabilized polymer pots. I have been using Decora pots and find that they are very light yet strong & durable.
· You should use drainage cells under planters and pots to avoid stagnation of water underneath the pots.
· You can place single stem palms like Foxtail and Carpentaria in big decora pots by the side of boundaries.
· It would help if you considered full sunlight tolerant and cold tolerant hardy plants for a rooftop garden. To protect plants from the scorching sun during the summer months, you can create a temporary shade with UV stabilized agro shed nets. During winter and foggy months, you can cover up with polythene sheets to protect plants from extreme weather.
· You can place a portable pergola, gazebo, garden umbrella, and outdoor garden furniture to enjoy the beauty and benefits of a garden during pleasant months.
· Nolina, Adenium, Euphorbia, Agave, Furcraea, Cycad, Zamia, Succulents, Cactus, Palms, Tulsi, Ajwain, Curry leaf, Aloe-Vera, Pedilanthus, Bougainvilleas, seasonal flowers are some of the ornamental plants which would surely do well on the terrace. Most fruit plants would also be good if you can keep them pruned and into large planters and pots.