Available gardening areas in towns and cities are constantly on the decrease, making roof gardens a brilliant solution which brings a host of advantages, both economic and social: insulating and protecting roof coverings, cleaning air and countering climate change, providing microclimates for fauna and flora and creating new spaces for living, working and entertaining.
When visiting cities such as Rome, London, New York or Paris, a skyward glance will immediately reveal how rooftops and terraces have been fully taken advantage of. Every available space seems to be brimming with greenery, which greatly contributes to the aesthetic value of these so called “concrete jungles”.
In Malta, where the climate is mild almost all year round, roofs could provide a great alternative to the traditional “ground level” garden which, unfortunately, is more and more rare. Some might argue that the intense heat during the summer months would be a problem, but this can be mitigated with the use of shade creating pergolas and awnings, the cooling effect of plants and maybe the refreshing sound of a bubbling water feature.
In fact cities, of concrete and tarmac, retain heat and plants, through transpiration, directly cool the air and greatly reduce surface roof temperatures.
The easiest way, though seldom the most effective, to create a roof garden, is to use free standing pots and containers. In a small space these would work, with the correct choice of plants and materials, but in a larger space it is difficult to create an impact. Maintenance is also an issue, with pots requiring constant care and attention during the warmer months. A better solution is to construct planters which will instantly give much more of a garden feel whilst reducing the maintenance.
With proper planning, and of course the assistance of an architect who will work out the load bearing capacities of the roof, a rooftop garden can be made to measure to best suit the user’s requirements and lifestyle.
In short, since a vast part of the earth's surface, in a town, consists of roofs, what better way to utilise this space than to plant a garden which will significantly and positively alter the psychological climate.