Turn your rooftop into a garden with these 7 steps

Pissed at the uprooting of trees and the lack of public gardens in Malta? 

Things are looking up. Literally, on your rooftop. 

Maltese homes are known for their spacious rooftops, and building your own small garden is an excellent way to make use of otherwise wasted space. 

Keep in mind that your rooftop garden will be considerably windier than a normal garden.

A wind-breaker with plants climbing around it

We’re on an island, so this is a very important factor. Incorporate windbreaks into your rooftop garden design. Try using trellises or some other latticed windbreak for your rooftop garden. P.S: Decorate your trellis with crawling ivy, sweet peas, climbing roses, or morning glory.  

Add drought and heat-tolerant plants to your garden 

Also very typical of Malta is incredibly warm days, especially during summer months. The potentially intense wind and sunlight favours stronger plants. Add shade or windbreakers if you plan to add more fragile plants. Some good candidates worth asking about: 

  • Agave 
  • Bougainvillea 
  • Portulaca 
  • Lithops 
  • Blanket Flower “Gaillardia.” 
  • Verbena 
  • Lantana 
  • Wallflower 

Buy plants native to your area

Thyme in an herb garden

Attract native fauna, like birds and butterflies to your garden with native plants. Due to their natural disposition to the land, the following plants will thrive better than non-native plants.

  • thyme (sagħtar) 
  • Fennel (Bużbież) 
  • Rosemary (Klin) 
  • Sage (Salvja) 
  • white wall rocket (ġarġir abjad) 
  • Star-of-Bethlehem (ħalib it-tajr il-kbir/ħarjet iċ-ċawla) 

Add containers for your plants

A line of pots in different shapes and sizes

Sketch a garden map to decide where to place containers – prioritise pots that are lightweight and deep enough to accommodate your plants’ roots. Wooden or plastic containers are a better option than heavier materials, like terracotta.  

If you have room, use it to grow your own vegetable garden 

In almost every case, the flavour and texture of varieties of vegetables from a container vegetable garden far exceed grocery store produce. By planting vegetables in pots, you enjoy the pleasure of savouring delicious, sun-warmed tomatoes fresh from your backyard. Below are some easy-to-grow vegetable plants. 

  • Tomatoes 
  • Zucchini squash 
  • Peppers 
  • Cabbage 
  • Bush beans 
  • Lettuce 
  • Beets 
  • Carrots 
  • Chard 
  • Radishes 
  • Marigolds

Place your seeds or seedlings in the containers

This is the part that will actually require some handy-work. Seedlings are usually stronger and pest-resistant, but seeds are much cheaper. Seedlings also tend to fare better than seeds in cooler or windier climates. On the other hand, you can opt for seeds – just start growing them inside to protect them, and then transplant them later once they become seedlings.  

Remember to think vertically

Pots with plants mounted against a wall

Instead of crowding the ground, decorate with height when possible. Utilizing vertical space will make your garden feel roomier, so plant climbing vines or hang flower containers on an adjacent wall if possible. 

Do you have a garden? Share your tips and/or photos with us. What do you think is the hardest part about growing a garden, and would you do it