Key Considerations for Creating a Commercial Rooftop Garden

A landscaped garden around a commercial building for people to sit back and relax is an excellent idea but very difficult to implement given that most properties have space constraints. Though the benefits of having live plants in the workplace are proven, many businesses simply don’t have the room for a breakout area that’s also outdoors. A rooftop garden is the best option for an outdoor green space in such buildings.

The trend is picking up in the commercial office segment with many companies located in the heart of a city transforming their rooftops into small gardens and ‘green’ spaces, allowing their employees to have a place to unwind and enjoy their lunch in the sun without having to leave the building. Being able to enjoy some time in the midst of nature has a huge array of benefits, and can even help to boost productivity at the workplace.

Structural considerations and approval

Before you start, here are a few important considerations to keep in mind.

Ensure you have safe and easy access to your rooftop, and that it has approval for pedestrian traffic.

The waterproof membrane needs to be completely intact and protected from your garden. Consult with a professional for the best advice before you begin work on your rooftop garden.

Consider the weather elements – wind, sun and rain – and see if you have to include any component in your design to block them out, making the space usable at all times.

Before beginning the project, have a structural engineer confirm the load capacity of the rooftop, especially its ability to hold garden beds and water tanks. Some rooftops are not designed to carry the amount of weight needed for a rooftop garden, so enlisting the expertise of a professional should be one of the very first items on your checklist.

Avoid a future leaky roof situation by ensuring the rooftop membrane is not damaged during the installation of the garden.

Secure the edges of the roof by installing railings. Do not place anything too close to the railing as this could pose a potential hazard. Find out from your local council what the regulations are in terms of the height a railing needs to be if you are installing them yourself.

Incorporate a water source for the rooftop garden during the design stage.

Complete all the formalities for council approval right at the beginning to avoid problems later.

Public safety issues are always a concern when it comes to public spaces, but your council should be able to inform you of everything you need to know about the requirements for a rooftop garden.

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