Planting Our Roof, Part I

In the middle of chopping vegetables for stir fry last night, I needed that zucchini I saw earlier in my garden. I hoped it would now be just long enough to eat but still petite and extra tender. I ran upstairs to the the second floor of our house, opened the door onto the roof garden above our garage and wandered over the grass in my bare feet looking for some beans and onions to go along with that zucchini.

Yes, I’m growing grass, flowers and vegetables on my roof. And no, they aren’t in a container garden! Last year we planted and harvested corn, but even though my husband thought it a novel idea to say we are growing corn on our roof, the yield wasn’t all that good.

Why the roof? My husband is an architect, and I am an amateur gardener. I had my own needs and he had his.

Before he designed our Minnesota home almost four years ago, I struggled with the deer that ate freely from our vegetable and flower gardens. They seemed to make my efforts counterproductive, but I still wanted a garden. The new home site wouldn’t have any fewer animals to keep away, and I needed a solution.

In addition, we wanted to keep most of our new home site natural, but that meant the trees shielded most of the yard. I wanted good sun and a critter-free location for planting.

From a design perspective, Paul wanted to de-emphasize the garage. He didn’t want to extened the house over the garage, which would make both the garage and the house appear larger.

Also, the garage sits close to the property line and the roof is visible from the neighbor’s front yard. As a good neighbor, he wanted to give them something better to look at from their front door than the concrete roof top.

He considered a grass roof, but then he thought beyond to my gardening needs. And out of these limitations came our design solution.

Check in next Wednesday for Part II when I post about how we did it.


  1. Ryan
    Aug 6, 2008

    That’s so cool! I wonder if my apartment complex would let me do that on the roof . . . .

  2. Alison
    Aug 6, 2008

    I am SO JEALOUS!

  3. Darcie
    Aug 6, 2008

    That is incredibly awesome. You could totally show that thing off on HGTV. And that’s saying nothing of the salads you must be able to throw together at a moment’s notice.

    Very cool!

    Thanks for stopping by after reading my post on Musings today!

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