For those of us who choose to live in cities, we often do so knowing that we’re trading the comforts of the large open spaces suburban homes offer in exchange for the conveniences that city life brings with it.
While our backyards may often be the size of a roomy closet (if you have a yard at all), many of us who reside in cities do secretly envy the bountiful home gardens that are the staple of many suburban front lawns and backyards. While higher tree to person ratios make many of us big city residents nervous, we actually do enjoy nature; contrary to popular belief. After all, who doesn’t enjoy laying in the grass under the tree with a good book?
An emerging trend has surfaced in big cities across the country that combat the lack of backyard space present in our beloved neighborhoods. We’ve seen an increasing amount of apartment buildings and even single family detached homes construct safe and walk-able roof decks with space for your very own private garden oasis. One can only wonder if this phenomenal development is the result of a longing to better connect with the great outdoors or for an inherent need to grow our own vegetables to avoid paying $10 for zucchini at Whole Foods.
If saving money by growing your own vegetables isn’t a big enough carrot for you, here are the top 5 reasons why you should have your own rooftop garden:
5. You’d only have to worry about your neighbors eating your vegetables
I often overhear frustrated coworkers speak about their ongoing battle with local deer for vegetable and garden supremacy. Unfortunately, when planting gardens in spacious yards, you often have to battle with the countless animals on the ground that would like no better than to munch on your juicy organic tomatoes or lettuce patch. If you’re serious about gardening and eating your own vegetables, planting them on your roof is a surefire way to avoid having them stolen by local wildlife. You may have to be on the lookout for the occasional bird or sneaky neighbor, but I’d sooner take my chances with my rooftop garden.
4. Enjoy some privacy
While most backyards offer some semblance of privacy with fences, your every off rhythm dance move and family gathering are on full display when you’re on your rooftop deck surrounded by other decks and neighboring buildings. Consider “planting a hedge of evergreens or running vines up a trellie wall” as a way to create private space and peace of mind.
3. Gardening is a great workout
With how busy life can get with demands from work and children, finding an hour or so a day to get to a gym or out to a park for exercise can be nearly impossible. For most, household chores are the sole source of exercise we’ll get in a day and gardening is one of the absolute best workouts you can get around the house. In fact, University studies show that gardening for just 30 minutes a day can have real tangible health benefits. Besides burning hundreds of calories weeding, digging holes and planting; gardening is said to: “increase flexibility, strengthen joints, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels and even lower your risk for diabetes.”
2. Grow your own vegetables and fruits
Besides being able to save a small amount of money on your fruit & vegetable shopping, imagine the satisfaction you’d get by harvesting your own small plot of crops? They make great gifts (my grandmother has given me so many tomatoes) and the work that goes into planting them makes makes the taste all the more amazing. Add in the dangers of pesticides and the countless germs mass produced vegetables encounter while they’re in transit and starting that garden sounds even more appealing. Not only do homegrown vegetables taste better, they are arguably more nutritious because the “long journey from farms to your table gives the nutrients ample opportunity to degrade, especially if exposed to heat.”
1. You’d be helping the environment
While what you personally grow on your small garden patch on a roof in your city would have a minimal positive impact on the environment, imagine what would happen if tens of millions of people did the same thing? There’d be a substantial carbon footprint reduction by way of not needing as much produce to be shipped from far away and you’d be doing other amazing things such as “encouraging local ecosystems” and cleansing the air.
Well that does it! Those are our top 5 reasons why you should have a rooftop garden. What are some other benefits to rooftop or on-the-ground gardening? Let us know if you have any easy tips on how to pull one off!