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What is a terrace garden?
A terrace garden is exactly what it sounds like, a garden that is on a roof. Sometimes this means flowers and shrubs or even a vegetable, herb, or fruit patch.
Humans have been working on the roofs of structures for centuries since the ziggurats of Mesopotamia (600 BC).
While the practice is not new, as urbanization has swept the world, more and more people are looking for ways to reduce their ecological footprint, maximize space, and add some natural beauty to their homes. Whatever the reason, gardening on the terrace offers many benefits.
The size of your deck space dictates how much of an impact your garden will have. But no matter the size, gardening is a therapeutic way to help reduce your footprint on the world.
Reduced energy use
One of the main causes of heat accumulation in urban areas is heatstroke. Buildings and roads absorb heat and subsequently radiate heat that raises temperatures. In turn, more energy must be used to cool surrounding homes and businesses.
Due to the natural nature of plants' perspiration, they actually absorb heat and prevent the ambient temperature from rising. A study from Cardiff University found that green roofs can lower maximum temperatures by as much as 11 ° C. In short, if we reduce warm ambient temperatures, there is less demand for cooling, resulting in less demand for energy.
Adaptation to climate change
In addition to urban areas absorbing and radiating heat, climate change means that there is and will continue to be more heat to absorb. More and more people will find themselves in extreme heat areas in the coming decades. This means that summer temperatures and associated urban heat islands are expected to worsen. Anything we can do to dissipate heat could be a vital part of fighting urban heat zones. Green roofs are one of the most effective ways to combat the urban heat island effect.
Green roofs also help support wildlife by giving urban concrete jungles a dose of green space. While they cannot completely replace natural green space, they are perfect for attracting birds, squirrels, and other wildlife to create a thriving and eco-friendly habitat. Each green roof will support different habitats, depending largely on the type of vegetation included. According to a survey in Switzerland, a study of 11 green roofs found that there were an incredible 172 separate species.
Improved air quality
Air pollution affects urban areas around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that air pollution kills seven million people each year. Unsurprisingly, air pollution is a bigger problem in urban areas, especially in bigger cities like London, Los Angeles, Manila, New York, and Paris.
How to get started with rooftop gardening
There are two types of rooftop gardens: fully planted, or container / raised beds. Fully planted gardens are often more difficult to start and maintain because they require covering the roof with soil and often require an evaluation by an engineer to make sure the roof can support the weight of so much soil and water.
Raised bed and container gardens are much simpler. Just find some garden containers to fit your space, add soil, and voila! Since most of us are not expert gardeners, starting with a small container can be a great way to get started on this new hobby.
Cost to start a terrace garden
Depending on how big you plan to make your deck garden will determine the cost. If you build a fully planted garden to cover a large roof, you could spend thousands on proper irrigation and engineering.
However, a more modest garden can be created with a few containers and plants, even on the smallest budget. Containers and soil will generally be the most expensive items needed to get started, so don't be afraid to get creative. Building your own containers is easy and if you are not the skilled type, you can recycle household items such as buckets, such as planters.
Maintenance of gardens on the terrace
The idea of maintaining a garden prevents many people from starting. But there is good news.
With simple planning, your terrace garden can almost take care of itself.
Your local climate will determine which plants will naturally thrive, but here are some tips to keep your garden as low-maintenance as possible:
- Use Native Plants - Native plants are more likely to thrive and require less effort to maintain.
- Use water timers - Smart water facets allow you to water your plants from your phone by setting a schedule and even using weather reports to make sure they get the perfect amount of water.
- Start small: Start with one or two small pots and then expand if you enjoy your new garden.
Rooftop gardens can really help us make the world a better and greener place. If you have the opportunity, start creating one today.