Although rooftop gardens in Malta is still not that popular, they are one of the most feasible options in home improvement especially since most homes have flat roofs. This added space atop the houses is a great privilege to have since you can have the entire area to enjoy and do whatever you want. This is particularly beneficial to houses that don’t have outdoor space to take pleasure into such as a backyard, courtyard or terrace most especially if you love to have barbecue parties and entertain your guest in your property. Aside from this, having rooftop gardens in your house will also greatly increase the real estate price of your property. But before embarking on such a wonderful project, there are some key notes to consider guaranteeing the success of your endeavor.
As many locals would agree, rooftops in Malta need to be always free from accumulated water especially during wet seasons. Water is a major problem in flat roofs as it can cause damage to it when accumulated. Drainage in the roofs must be working properly and the floor properly levelled to ensure that no water can be trapped on any surface. Have the roof also covered and painted with water-resistant paints to improve its overall durability against the elements. Paints in shades of brown, white or green is highly recommended as it mimics the natural colors of plants and floras.
Planning the layout of your rooftop garden carefully must also be prioritized since this will allow flexibility, portability and ease of access. Choose pots that are durable and sturdy enough to survive harsh elements such as sunlight and strong winds that are common in the Mediterranean area. Never use plastic pots as this will easily succumb to the heat; use Stone or wooden troughs and clay pots instead as they are suitable for these kinds of environment. Large pots must also be used instead of small pots which takes a lot of time to organize and water. Large pots can be placed in wheeled platform to provide easy portability should you wish to move them to different locations. This technique can also allow air to pass underneath the pots and prevent excessive water build-up inside.
Wooden or stone troughs are also good options especially in lining your plants in the wall. You can easily create sections of plants and arrange them beautifully depending on your style and design. You can even arrange the troughs as pathways along the area where you can easily enjoy the scenery while you walk through your rooftop garden. Strategically placed stone statuettes, clay plaques and chimes can also add beauty and clamor to the layout of your garden.
Soil, Water and Plants
Before starting to plant in your pots and troughs, the choice of soil and soil improvement must be considered first. Adding peat and compost can improve your soil as high organic content of these materials can enhance water retention. High water retention means the soil will not easily dry up from strong sunlight. Adding mulch and pebbles atop your soil can also help decrease evaporation, trap moisture and also cool the roots of your plants. This will also reduce the chances that weeds will grow on your soil, which if left unchecked will compete with your plants for water and soil nutrients.
During hot summer days, daily watering is highly recommended; while in winter, make sure that the drainage of pots and troughs are working to prevent excessive water build-up. You can also have a decorative open water tank during rainy season to catch rainwater and utilize them when during dry season. Deep and less frequent watering can be done on normal days to encourage deeper root growth and will also make the soil less likely to dry out.
In Malta, strong winds in high altitude are ever present especially in rooftops. Choose plants that are low-lying to prevent your pots and troughs from toppling over and get damaged. Prefer indigenous plants as this will ensure that it will survive the harsh environment of Malta. Group the plants according to their water needs; don’t water them all equally and concentrate more water on the thirstier varieties.
Your rooftop garden must have a small shade such as gazebos or open tents. This will provide your more sensitive plants protection from sunlight. Wooden frames can also be installed to provide plant climbers such as vines with a place to grow. Your shade can also double as a relaxation spot where you can have chairs, tables and hammocks and enjoy the scenery of your little green private spot amidst the rocky urban landscape of Malta.