Growing Succulents on Your Roof

What You'll Need
EPDM Liner
Drainage Liner
Polyester Filter Liner

Growing succulents on a rooftop is a good way to create a green garden in your own "backyard." Building a green garden is a big project, but if you have the right tools and invest a little time in the project, the experience can be very rewarding. You can use many different designs to construct a green roof, and they all provide natural insulation. The soil and roots from the plants create natural insulation from heat and cold. Green roofs also reduce storm water runoff and combat air pollution. The following will provide you a guide to help build your beautiful rooftop green garden.

Step 1 - Adding Layers

There are several ways you can grow a green roof. However, all the methods require applying several layers of material to the roof. The first layer is designed to protect the roof. You can use an EPDM liner, a metal roofing cover, vinyl sheets, or another material. Roof liners are required to keep moisture above the base roofing and to drain water properly. One option is to buy a kit that contains the supplies you'll need to build a roof garden, or you can build it all yourself.  

Step 2 - Drainage

The next layer is to control drainage. A roof garden needs to retain water so that the plants can grow, but it's not a good idea to have standing water sitting on the roof. You'll have to put down another layer to hold the soil on the roof, especially if your roof is slanted.  

Step 3 - Filter and Soil

Put down a third layer between the drainage layer and the soil. This layer must be breathable. Most of these layers are made of polyester geo textile to keep soil from clogging the drainage. This layer essentially works as a filter. The next layer is the soil. After you have put down soil, it's time to add the plants.


Succulent plants work well in hot climates, especially on roofs that receive a lot of sunshine. No matter what type of garden you grow, including native plants is a good idea because they are already adapted to the local temperatures and the amount of rainfall your area receives. A garden full of native plants doesn't require a lot of maintenance.  

To grow succulents and small cacti on a green roof, use pre-vegetated mats. This is the easiest and best method for planting succulents on your roof. You can also buy trays or sheets designed specifically for planting on a rooftop. When planning a rooftop garden for succulents, you will have to include irrigation in the design plans.

Before planting a green garden on your roof, make sure the building can take the weight of a roof garden. You may need to increase the amount of support your building has before planting a garden. Planning ahead is key to creating a rooftop garden space you can enjoy for years to come. If you properly care for your garden and plant succulents, you will reap the rewards.