Rain Garden – Stage 2

Rooftop Gardens utilize rooftop space for growing plants. There are several possible advantages. The gardens can be beneficial to the environment, as well as the rooftop and building themselves.

Rooftop gardening improves the quality of the atmosphere. The plants absorb carbon dioxide in the air and convert it into oxygen, which is released into the air. Since the rooftop plants can absorb some of the excess amounts of carbon dioxide higher up in the air, they can potentially reduce the effects of air pollution.

Another environmental advantage is in the increased energy conservation. The plants provide natural insulation to the rooftop by reflecting light and heat. The extra insulation reduces the need for heating or cooling mechanisms, which cuts down on energy use and utility costs. This also blocks outdoor noises.

Many large cities experience increased daytime temperatures caused by numerous rooftops. Since urban areas tend to have more buildings, the rooftops absorb heat and light and then radiate it back into the area. This event is referred to as the “heat island effect” and can actually raise the natural temperature averages in those areas. Plants in rooftop gardens can aid in reducing “the heat island effect” by partially absorbing some of the sunlight and providing shade for buildings.

Rooftop gardens may be beneficial in areas which accumulate a great deal of rain. Storm runoff water can especially overflow sewer systems. The plants can absorb some of the rainwater and limit the runoff from excess water. Rooftop gardening, in turn, has the potential to reduce the occurrences of flooding.

Using rooftops to grow plants can free up ground space. This extra space can leave room for growing more agricultural crops. Rooftop gardens can also provide more opportunities for growing fresh produce for populations that have little ground area for crops, which can help reduce food shortages in poor, urban areas.

Gardening is also very therapeutic. In Canada, horticultural therapy has been used increasingly as an evidence-based practice over the past sixty years. social and therapeutic horticulture projects can help foster independence, build self-esteem and confidence, and provide training and employment opportunities for people with health and social problems.

Join us for our next Women in the Garden program. Contact gardeninfo@riverdalehub.ca for details.