Introduction: NYC Landscape Design - Rooftop Garden How-to
We designed this rooftop garden in TriBeCa using a combination of bluestone pavers and ipe decking for the floor. The plantings are in a mix of grey fiberglass and high-fired Asian ceramic pots. The high-fired pots are your best bet for outdoors because they are frost-resistant and can be left outdoors without danger of cracking. Fiberglass pots are lightweight and durable choices for containers. We ran low-voltage lighting and drip irrigation lines up the backs of all of the containers and discreetly into the pots. The irrigation system runs on an automatic timer for very easy maintenance. The lights also come off and on automatically and are staked into the planters pointing up at the plants for a very dramatic nighttime effect. Plantings include white birch trees, bamboo, blue junipers, roses, a red Japanese maple, umbrella pines, and "margarita" sweet potato vines.
STEP 1 - Installation of Deck
All of the elements of the deck, wood and stone, were installed using a pedestal system that helps keep the entire deck surface level, while allowing water to flow beneath them and make its way to the drain.
STEP 2 - Put weed barrier fabric in all pots
A layer of weed barrier fabric at the bottom of your pots will let the water out but keep the soil in the planter from leaching out onto the deck. Choose a thin weave weed barrier fabric, as the thicker cloths tend to not drain as well.
STEP 3 - Installation of Lighting and Irrigation Lines
We left a 1-inch gap around the entire perimeter of the deck to run all of our irrigation and lighting lines discreetly up the backs of the planters. If you've never installed irrigation or lighting lines before, check out my Instructables on how to do both of these. Drip irrigation actually ends up saving people money over the long-run on having to replace plants because it waters the plants for you automatically just the right amount. Low-voltage up-lighting can be placed into the soil around the plants using metal stakes.
STEP 4 - Mulch
A 1-2 inch layer of mulch at the top of your pots will help hide irrigation and lighting lines for a more attractive surface appearance.
Step 5 - Relax and Enjoy your New Garden!
Read more about our NYC rooftop garden projects on my blog, www.amberfreda.com.