5 Surprising Benefits to Adding a Roof Garden

5 Surprising Benefits to Adding a Roof Garden

terracast Blog

A roof garden is defined as a collection of greenery planted on top of a man-made structure. More and more urban buildings are installing roof gardens, and for plenty of good reasons. Adding rooftop planters offers countless benefits, including money-saving opportunities, reduced roof maintenance, and added energy efficiency.

Benefits of adding a roof garden:

  • Improve aesthetics
  • Add a new amenity space
  • Reduce rooftop maintenance
  • Reduce building maintenance
  • Lower energy costs/improve energy efficiency of building
  • Reduce urban heat island effect

1. Stormwater Management

Stormwater management is an ongoing dilemma for urban areas. A roof garden can help tremendously. Rooftop planters collect and filter rainwater, creating a more natural process. When no planters are present, water collects on top of buildings and concrete sidewalks where it can’t absorb into the ground like it would natural soil or Earth materials.

As a result, stormwater flows into man-made drainage systems, taking oils and pollutants it picks up along city streets and buildings to local waterways. This creates a serious pollution problem that impacts quality of life for local humans and wildlife. 

Rooftop gardens help prevent an overflow of polluted water from entering drainage systems by collecting and managing the water in a more natural process. The deeper a roof garden is, the more rainfall it can collect. A study found that a 4” extensive sedum roof has the capacity to collect 60-75% of annual rainfall in a temperate climate.

Building codes mandate the addition of retaining ponds or some type of stormwater runoff solution to reduce pollution and flooding. If there’s no room for a retaining pond, many buildings have success installing a rooftop garden instead.

2. Improves Overall Well-being of Everyone in the Building

A roof garden gives everyone a new space to relax and unwind. In fact, researchers found that creating a rooftop garden improves occupant satisfaction, as well as creativity, productivity and physiological well-being. A lot of this links back to extensive research on greenery and how it positively impacts humans, improving focus and performance.

3. Roof Gardens Reduce Urban Heat Island Effect

“The Urban Heat Island Effect” is a phrase used to describe what happens to an urban building as it rapidly absorbs heat from the sun. Plants greatly reduce the impact of the sun by absorbing it. In cities with little to no greenery, there’s nothing but buildings to soak up the sun’s rays. In some cases, cities without adequate greenery are as much as 10 °F warmer than surrounding areas with green landscape.

Adding a roof garden greatly reduces this effect by absorbing the sun and putting it to good use. Along with removing heat from the air, it provides shade and reduces temperatures in the surrounding rooftop space, as well as in the building below.

4. Extend Service Life of Building + Reduce Maintenance

Your typical roof is exposed to sunshine, rain, snow, and countless other elements on a regular basis. This puts wear and tear on the roof and ultimately leads to maintenance and repairs.

A roof garden naturally shields the top of a building from the elements, while plants take on sun, water, and so forth. The waterproofing material beneath a rooftop garden is protected from light, temperature fluctuations and even physical damage. This points to why adding a rooftop garden can extend the life of your building’s roof and reduce maintenance. Germany is home to several rooftop gardens that were installed 50+ years ago. To this day, these same buildings have yet to experience a leak.

Since roofs are exposed to fewer things, your maintenance bill may go down. If you’re thinking… “but won’t my costs to maintain a rooftop garden go up?” The thing is, after initial installation a roof garden can be incredibly low-maintenance. Especially if you select native plants, invest in self-watering planters and design garden layout so plants are in prime conditions based upon preference to sun, shade, etc. 

5. Affordable Way to Add a New Building Amenity

No matter what your building is used for, from residential apartments to office buildings, a rooftop garden is an intriguing amenity to most. Roof gardens offer a place to escape the chaos of the city while enjoying the sun on your shoulders and the wind in your face.

Rooftop gardens have been shown to improve tenant satisfaction, and the best part is they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg to install, nor do they require nonstop maintenance. Many roof gardens require initial installation, annual fertilization, weeding, watering, removal of debris in the Fall, and drainage inspections in the Spring—that’s it!

The Best Rooftop Planters

TerraCast planters and site furnishings are used on rooftop gardens all around the US. In fact, people seek out our planters for their reliability and overall durability, as well the fact they are made in the USA using sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.  Other reasons our planters rule supreme: 

Lightweight planters

Lightweight planters are ideal for rooftop gardens. Our specially-made resin weighs 1/10 as much as stone and other materials used to make similar planters. This makes it easier to transport planters to the rooftop, and reduces how much weight the roof needs to support. Even our largest planters are lightweight enough to ride up the elevator, and can be moved by 1-2 people with a dolly.

Weather-resistant planters

Rooftop gardens soak up a lot of sun, water and other elements. No need to worry, our resin-based products are non-hydroscopic, which means they aren’t susceptible to water damage and don’t absorb stains like other common planter materials, making them easier to clean.

Self-watering planters

Reduce overall maintenance by employing self-watering planters. You can add a self-watering basin to the bottom of any of our planters.

Customizable planters

We can make planters in any shape, size or color; we can also add logos, graphics, etc.

Shop our complete selection of modern and contemporary rooftop planters