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If you live in a building without its own garden, establishing a roof or balcony garden is the ideal way to create your own mini horticultural haven, ensuring you don’t miss out on growing a wide range of plants.
Before embarking on a project to make your roof garden into an oasis of greenery and flowers, the following important points should be considered:
Building restrictionsBefore designing any addition to a property’s roof it is essential to check:
Design and construction
Local environmental conditions
Compost and containers
Irrigation and maintenance
Depending on the level of exposure and altitude, a wide range of plants can be grown on a balcony or roof garden. The ideal method is to establish some shelter using screens or robust plants, which then creates a microclimate where other plants can survive.
Green roof and roof garden installationsRHS Grow Your Own
Balconies & roof gardens: themes ideas for small scale gardening by Jenny Hendy (New Holland, 1997, ISBN 1853686808)Roof gardens, balconies and terraces by Jerry Harpur and David Stevens (Mitchell Beazley, 1997, ISBN 1857327934)
These books are made available through the RHS Lindley Library
Spring or autumn are ideal planting times, as the plants then have time to establish before the onset of harsher conditions.
With regular watering, feeding and maintenance (pruning, re-potting etc.), your balcony or roof garden should be relatively trouble-free. However, the following pest and weed problems are worth looking out for:
Algae, liverworts and moss on borders and containersAphidsGlasshouse red spider miteVine weevil
Container maintenanceContainers: planting upContainers: summer selectionContainers: winter selectionFruit: growing in containersGreen roofsGreen wallsHydroponicsTrees: growing in containersVegetables: growing in containersWateringWind scorch
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