Thinking about starting a rooftop garden, but not sure if all that work is worth it? Here are six reasons to go for it.
1. Rooftop gardens keep your building cooler.
In the summer, black tar roofs do nothing but absorb heat. Even shingles and other residential roofing materials hang on to heat like the sun might turn off tomorrow. A rooftop garden is a natural way to reduce your cooling costs in the summer because all plant matter absorbs what it needs and reflects the rest.
2. Growing your own food is cheaper and healthier than buying it at the store.
If you start early, you can have an entire vegetable garden for under ten bucks. Seed packets are incredibly cheap, and if you use recycled containers or plant bed material and free community soil, your start-up costs will more than be paid for with your first harvest.
If you’ve ever felt guilty about buying those tomatoes from Peru that used all that fossil fuel to get here, all you have to do is climb some stairs for your salad. Growing your own food guarantees that it’s “organic” and that you’re supporting fair labor practices. After all, you wouldn’t work so hard on starting a rooftop garden if it wasn’t going to pay in the end, right?
3. You can get a grant to offset start-up costs.
Organizations like Green Roofs give out big money to big buildings to start rooftop gardens. If you’re trying to convince your office building, hospital, college, or high-profile landmark building to go greener, you might be able to sway the higher-ups with a sweet grant. Other organizations give environmental awards to buildings that start rooftop gardens.
If you’re a homeowner, you may be able to write your start-up costs off on your taxes. Talk to your accountant (or your random H &R Block employee) about your rooftop garden to find out if it qualifies for a home improvement or a business expense. Some large cities also offer subsidies and tax incentives.
4. You’ll be the only city person with a suntan in April.
Starting a rooftop garden means lots of work in the beginning, but think about great you’ll look with your toned arms and a tan when everyone else is still wearing sweaters.
5. You’ll have a quiet place to relax.
Why go out for cocktails when you’ll have your own oasis right above you? The library will have nothing on your new reading space. Even better, your roommate’s poker games and 3:00 a.m. computer sound effects won’t touch you in your sanctuary. The rooftop garden you create can become a silent, calming place in the middle of urban chaos. Think about how much money you’ll save on headache medicine.
6. You’ll provide a little sanctuary for the birds and bees.
Sure, you can get it on in your rooftop garden o’ love, but I was speaking literally. With all the talk about migrating birds not having anywhere to stop for a rest and bees disappearing, starting a rooftop garden is a small but important way to do your part for these small creatures.