Hanging garden


In recent years we have been witnessing the growing spread of green spaces, vegetable gardens and gardens, located on balconies, roofs and terraces. In these urban structures now everything is grown: vegetables, herbaceous plants, aromatic herbs and even fruit trees. There are those who have even managed to cultivate a vineyard on the roof of their house. The curiosity towards these modern green creations and concepts is really great, also because they are natural spaces set up on the scaffolding of town houses. The impossibility of buying a second home in the countryside and the desire to have, always and in any case, a green corner and organic products, are almost always the basis of the decision to create a vegetable garden on the roof of one's own home. To practice gardening with excellent results, even small balconies or terraces or more or less spacious roofs may suffice. In our other articles we have already talked about the gardens and vegetable gardens on the balcony, in this new study we want to talk about the gardens that are set up on the roof of the house and which are called "hanging gardens".


A roof garden it is a green space set up on the roof of the house. This roof usually has a flat surface suitable for use as a terrace. In any case, any green space that is placed on roofs and terraces is architecturally defined as a hanging garden. The roof garden consists of different species of plants, chosen according to your tastes and according to the climatic condition of the roof. In a small hanging garden, if the conditions allow it, you can grow everything: vegetables, rose gardens, fruit trees and even vineyards. This is not a dream. Many gardening enthusiasts have really managed to create green spaces full of lots of vegetation and placed right on the roof of their town house. To realize what still remains a dream for many, a small to medium space, even 150 square meters, a favorable exposure and a correct building structure capable of supporting the load of the garden and guaranteeing good disposal and good water drainage.

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Before making a roof garden it is necessary to draw up a correct and adequate design. The project can be carried out on your own or entrusted to a professional architect. Even if you decide to put on paper the structure of your roof garden, know that the "plan" on a sheet of paper will be delivered to a technician who will have to evaluate it to obtain the necessary municipal authorizations. The creation of a vegetable garden on the roof cannot in fact be left to free choice because it is subject to specific urban planning constraints. This is why the design phase involves the presence and advice of a technician who can assess the state of the building and its waterproofing level. In general, newly built and well waterproofed buildings are better suited to the construction of a roof garden. The load level is also crucial in choosing the plants to grow on the roof. A common terrace can bear three hundred kilos per square meter, but of course the figure refers to buildings built according to safety standards. If the roof or terrace is located in a condominium, the construction of the roof garden must also be authorized by the condominium assembly.

Placement of plants

The plants to be included in the roof garden can be of any species: you just need to know the climatic condition of the area where the roof is located. In a temperate climate, typically Mediterranean crops can be inserted; in a colder area it is better to opt for plants that do not require great care and that can also adapt to very cold temperatures. Since the garden has a lot to do with vegetables, these species cannot really be missing in a hanging garden. In the absence of a suitable microclimate, the terrace or roof can be used for placing a small greenhouse that delimits the arable area and in which to plant vegetables that do not easily withstand winter climates. In a hanging garden, the cultivation of potted plants is generally used. As for the containers, it is better to prefer plastic ones, to which a saucer and a tile can be combined, so as not to create infiltration phenomena of the roof. Water infiltration is one of the main obstacles to overcome when you are about to build a roof garden. If the level of waterproofing is poor, it is better to proceed with a preventive insulation of the roof surface.

Hanging garden: Pot and soil size

Vegetables to be grown in the roof garden require containers of suitable size. Lettuce can be grown in pots with a diameter of forty centimeters and a depth of twenty centimeters. Pots with the same diameter, but about half a meter deep, can accommodate plants for tomatoes or courgettes. The choice of one or the other will depend on your tastes. If you want the garden to also have a pleasant aesthetic result, then it is better to grow a zucchini plant, which maintains a long fruiting process, developing beautiful flowers. If space permits, you can also place vases with peppers, aubergines or legumes. If the garden is located in a Mediterranean area, you may decide to grow a small lemon tree, which in summer also has a significant shading effect. All the greenery of the garden will also increase the level of thermal protection of the building, keeping it in good condition for a long time. The ideal potting soil for roof garden vegetables should be fertile and well drained. If using universal soil, it is better to add coarse sand. The bottom of the container, on the other hand, must be covered with clay or gravel. To fertilize the substrate of the plant it is advisable to use earthworms, which produce substances capable of fertilizing any type of soil for plants.

What is a roof garden? How to recreate it?

The roof garden has very distant origins, in ancient times they were evidence of great engineers who built them to increase the notoriety of their city because in that period it was difficult to bring water to very high points. Fortunately, technology has now evolved and there is no longer a need for great engineers to create beautiful hanging gardens even in your home.

With this little guide you will learn about different ways to make the terrace or the environment you want to dedicate to plants an amazing hanging garden.

Roof garden: cost and tax bonus

When you think about making the roof or the flat roof green your mind immediately goes to your wallet: the roof garden is beautiful, but what about the cost? The good news is that its construction is less expensive than creating a Zen garden and, of course, the cost of the roof garden varies by type of project, size and complexity.

Costs typically range from 70 euros per square meter a few hundred and, other good news, most of the interventions must then be amortized with the subsequent energy savings that follow and, moreover, a good part of the expense can be deducted from the income tax thanks to the new green bonus 2018.

Stuttgart: a roof garden

Green roof technology made it possible to exploit a space that would otherwise have remained unused.

The protagonist is the fire station in Stuttgart, a pretty city in southern Germany, set in a hollow among wooded hills. The flat roof of the new fire brigade building, built in the center of the city, had to be used in some way and the project of a local landscape architect, Eng. Wolfgang Milier, for the creation of a vegetable garden on the large terrace, immediately overcame all preconceptions and met an unconditional acceptance by all.

An overview of a part of the terrace: note the different types of flooring

A supporting wall of a flower bed full of plants

This green oasis, built between large gray buildings, gives the men on duty the opportunity to spend the hours of waiting pleasantly and at the same time to be ready for urgent calls. The funds allocated for the implementation of the project were modest, so the firefighters, enthusiastic about the idea of ​​creating a roof garden themselves, took care of all the material work, from the installation of the floor tiles and flower beds. to the covering with the pergola, from the installation of the lighting system to the transport of the soil to fill the large containers, from the planting of fruit trees to the planting of small bushes, annual flowers and the sowing of vegetables.

The arrangement of spaces
The terrace measures 550 square meters and its surface is 3/4 covered by greenery and flowers, the remaining quarter is occupied by passages and rest areas. In the center of the terrace, two masonry boxes have been built from where, by means of a pole, you can go down to the garage so that the men on duty are ready to leave in a few seconds. The vegetable garden develops all around.

Some glimpses of the terrace have been widely used the electro-welded mesh as a support for the climbing plants

With wings in galvanized iron net, on which creepers of various species such as clematis, roses and wisteria are growing, various areas have been created with different purposes. Raised flowerbeds, delimited by a brick wall, which sometimes becomes a seat, contain fruit trees reared in espalier, such as: apricot, plum, pear and apple trees, which create a green wall and hide moments of rest from prying eyes , recreation and rest. At the center of the flowerbeds the flowers mix with the salad or the red tomatoes that have nothing to envy to the lively annual flowers. The plumy green of the carrots is the backdrop to dazzling geraniums and the intense yellow of the tagetes is accompanied by the silvery-green leaves of the cabbages.

Some corners of the terrace

A pergola, covered with vine and kiwi shoots, placed along the entire terrace, filters the sun's rays, giving a pleasant sensation of continuous green. Some garden tables and chairs complete the furnishings of the terrace. The maintenance works are those that are due to a country vegetable garden, with the difference of the convenience of location, the possibility of constant use and the overabundance of enthusiastic labor.
Furthermore, the creation of this "hanging vegetable garden" has made it possible to use in an original way a space that would otherwise have remained unused.

When a green roof system as a main requirement requires usability, the system is configured as "light intensive”, “intensive roof garden"Up to solutions to"roof garden ", where usability is transformed into "edibility".
When one focuses on this type of solution, the usability of the surface is generally guaranteed by the turf, but nothing excludes that interesting and pleasant solutions can be created on the roof with the use of footpaths with aggregates, stone slabs with uncertain work with joints. green, wood, etc. .. to supplement the chosen green solution that will act as an ornamental outline, thanks to the use of shrubby, aromatic ground coverings, shrubs, small trees, hedges thus moving the walkability on the paths designed inside the garden.
The pedestrian paths can be created with different finishes, all above the Harpo verdepensile continuous drainage, guaranteeing continuity of waterproofing and continuity to the free flow of rainwater.
The roof garden of the intensive type must provide for suitable and periodic maintenance
An eye-catcher choosing the type of vegetation is essential contribution that the landscape designer or gardener are asked to make according to the desired aesthetics, exposure and climate.
Remaining in the field of green roof solutions of the type intensive follow the most requested by designers or clients:

  • light intensive systems
  • intensive roof garden systems
  • robust intensive systems
  • intensive systems with hanging gardens

Systems a intensive green roof they therefore represent the optimal solution when the hanging stratigraphy is required to offer a usable space in all respects with limited thicknesses and weights.
This system therefore offers the possibility of creating walkable turf surfaces and at the same time surfaces covered with medium-sized bushy species and trees in addition to the integration of continuous drainage of all types of paved surfaces.

  • Total usability
  • high aesthetic value
  • weight from 225 kg / m2 up
  • thickness> 20 cm

For issues of environmental sustainability they always suggest variable substrate thicknesses to adapt to the minimum substrate thickness requirements for the various species: lawn (15/20 cm), shrub coverings (25 cm), hedges - climbing plants (35 cm) small trees (50 cm).

  • medium to high maintenance
  • water needs to be assessed according to the vegetation.

  • Increase in the value of the property
  • creation of usable areas
  • impact image
  • passive summer cooling
  • reduction of outflows
  • increase in the life of the waterproofing

For the different solutions paved on Harpo continuous drainage integrated into the usable terrace, please refer to the related topic.

Roof garden

A roof garden for those who own a terrace or live in the city and for those who do not want to give up the green of the lawn and the splendid splashes of color of the flowering plants. A relaxation garden for physical and mental well-being.

Creating a roof garden even if it costs much more than a traditional garden has its advantages: in fact, in addition to contributing to the Welfare physical is psychic of the people who live it, improves thethermal insulation: in fact, in the summer, thanks to the water that evaporates from the garden, the underlying rooms become cooler and also reduces noise as the implanted plants contribute to the absorption of noise.


To create a roof garden you must first of all rely on a competent technician for a careful inspection and only after his favorable opinion proceed with the realization, also relying on experts in the sector. In general, here are the steps to follow:
- a polyester sheet to ensure watertight integrity
- protective cover with PVC sheath against the attack of the roots of the implanted plants
- drainage layer consisting of a mixture of gravel and pebbles or a layer of expanded clay with small blocks of polystyrene and rubber
- drainage sheet for water
- light soil specific for hanging gardens which must be stratified according to the crops to be planted.
Thickness of the topsoil layer
- 10 cm for grasses 15 cm for turf, 30 cm for shrubs and about 50 cm for tall trees.
Frequent but very modest to avoid overload.

Video: Hängende Gärten

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