Oct 12

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Submitted by: Danielle Bardo

Unless you live in an urban area, you probably have no reason to think about starting a rooftop garden. However, if you do indeed live in a densely populated urban area and are short on growing space, you may want to consider the many reasons for starting a rooftop garden.

A rooftop garden can go a long way toward improving the energy efficiency of the building. Plants, flowers and shrubbery grown on the top of a building will help to reduce the overall heat consumption of the building and thereby reduce the overall energy needed to keep the building cool during the hot summer months. Studies have shown that the primary cause of heat build-up in urban areas during the summer is due to the absorption of heat by roads and buildings; particularly those with black rooftops dot the landscape of most cities. It has been proven that plants and gardens on rooftops in urban areas can reduce the heat levels in a building by more than 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Another benefit of having a roof garden is the secrecy of your own private growing space. Indeed since undeveloped space is a coveted commodity in urban areas, you increase both your living space and real estate value with a roof garden. As an added bonus, a roof top garden provides a secure place to grow whatever pleases you without having to worry about intrusions into your space as it sits far from marauding children and varmints hell bent on foraging on produce,

One of the other ways in which a rooftop garden can be a benefit to both you and the surrounding environment, especially in an urban area is in creating a natural environment and wildlife habitat for the birds, bees, butterflies, and other species that struggle to co-exist with people in urban areas. While you might not want to see birds picking away at your vegetable patch, they can be welcome guests in a rooftop garden comprised of drought-tolerant plants and other shrubbery.

Not to be over looked in considering a rooftop garden is the notion of growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs. Many different plants that produce fruit, vegetables and aromatic and therapeutic herbs are easily grown in even the smallest patches of soil. So even if you are short on space you can still enjoy the satisfaction that comes from growing the food you eat. From tomatoes and peppers to basil, oregano and parsley, you can grow enough fresh food to fill your table in the summer and can, dry or pickle for the winter. In addition, by growing your own food you can control the levels of insecticides and other harmful elements that are often found in the fruit and produce found in the grocery store. And while you might not be able to grow apples and pears on your rooftop, you can certainly have a grape vine, berry bushes and a strawberry patch that will produce an abundance of fruit for you and your family.

Rooftop gardens, once thought of as ornamental extravagances of wealthy Europeans, are now popping up all over urban America as city dwellers, property developers, and institutions discover the many benefits of using their rooftops as green space. From reducing energy consumption to growing healthy nutritious food for your family, there are many good reasons to consider putting a garden on the rooftop of your building.

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