You Gotta Make This Awesome Living Rooftop Garden!

Want to maximize the small space that you have for a garden? Go up and vertical with a rooftop garden. Rooftop gardens are the solution for cramped urban dwellings with unused outdoor surfaces. They bring life and color to otherwise boring and drab spaces. They insulate your roof and provide a pocket sanctuary for wildlife.

This DIY living rooftop garden plan uses sedums to create a rich tapestry of gold and red. Sedums are the perfect roof plants because they thrive with minimal watering and cover surfaces by forming a thick mat of succulent foliage. They prefer full sunlight and free-draining soil.

*Note that you will need at least 5×8 ft. (1.5×2.5 m.) of rooftop space to grow these plants. You may use any combination of three or all four types of sedums.

You will need the following materials:

  • 10 Angelina (Sedum rupeste)
  • 10 Coral reef (Sedum tetractinum)
  • 10 Shorbuser Blut (Sedum spurium)
  • 10 Spirit (Sedum selskianum)
  • General compost
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Insulation
  • Marine-quality plywood
  • Nails
  • Perlite
  • Plastic liner
  • Sedum roof mats (optional)


  1. Cut a piece of marine-quality plywood to the size of the roof, and cover it with plastic liner. Nail this securely to the roof.
  2. Create a 2 inch-deep (5 cm) wooden planting frame on top by fastening planks of wood to each edge of the roof to form a sturdy framework. Fill the frame with a mix of perlite, insulation, and general compost.
  3. Drill holes into the wooden frame’s bottom edge to promote good drainage. Push insulation into these holes as a filter to prevent the compost from draining out too.
  4. Plant all the sedums into the frame. Sedums don’t like wet roots, so remember to clear the leaves that will have gathered on top of the plants during fall or winter, and make sure to check that the drainage holes are still open. Alternatively, purpose-made sedum roof mats can be bought that can simply be rolled out and attached. If you are unsure whether your roof can take the weight of the sedum planting design, check with an engineer first.