Best roofing systems for rooftop gardens

As urban spaces continue to develop, the desire for green spaces increases, which is why rooftop gardens are growing in popularity. These beautiful spots offer many benefits, transforming unused roofing into thriving ecosystems. If you’re considering installing a rooftop garden, picking the right roof system is key. This will ensure a sustainable, structurally sound and waterproof rooftop.

Here’s your guide to the benefits of rooftop gardens and the best flat roof systems to support them.

Why create a rooftop garden?

Rooftop gardens have multiple advantages beyond just beautiful aesthetics. They provide environmental, economic and general health benefits, making them a valuable addition. These green spaces contribute to good mental well-being, offering peaceful retreats in busy urban settings, while providing opportunities to grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs.

Rooftop gardens can help reduce the urban heat island effect. This is where towns and cities replace the natural environment with structures like pavements and buildings that retain heat, keeping temperatures higher than in rural settings. A rooftop garden acts as an additional layer of insulation, reducing the need for heating in winter and cooling in summer.

Rooftop gardens also improve stormwater management by absorbing rainwater, reducing runoff and the burden on a city’s drainage systems.

What’s the difference between rooftop gardens and green roofs?

While the terms ‘rooftop garden’ and ‘green roof’ are used interchangeably, they refer to different concepts. Green roofs are typically designed with lightweight vegetation and shallow soil layers.

Rooftop gardens are more elaborate than green roofs, often with features like raised beds, planters, walkways, seating and water features. These spots are essentially full-fledged gardens built on rooftops, requiring more substantial structural support and advanced waterproofing.

What’s the best flat roof system for a rooftop garden?

If you want to build a rooftop garden, think carefully about the best flat roofing system to use. It needs to support the weight of all the features included (and anyone spending time there), while having effective waterproofing and long-term durability.

One of the most popular options is GRP fibreglass. This is a ‘Glass Reinforced Plastic’ roof, often chosen for its long-lasting nature, flexibility and seamless finish. Fibreglass roof systems are very resistant to rainwater and can withstand the extra weight from soil and plants. They’re also easy to maintain and repair, making them a practical option for rooftop gardens.

Another option to consider is EPDM rubber roofing. It’s known for its exceptional waterproofing and long lifespan, adapting well to temperature fluctuations and structural movements without cracking.

However, it’s best to talk to your roofer about how the rooftop garden will be used. They can advise about which options are ideal for your unique project needs.

Build a rooftop garden with Collier Roofing

Do you need a new flat roofing system? Call Collier Roofing for garden rooftop advice and a free estimate. We work across Surrey and London, coming out to Netherne-on-the-Hill, Oxted and beyond.

Contact us now to get started.