Raise your gaze on the way to work to that patch between sky and building and you may find the occasionally tuft of green breaking up the famous London grey. Washed green by the wave of sustainability the rooftops of homes, hotels, law firms and everything in between are being put to to good use. From living roofs to entire farms today we take you through an essential guide to creating roof gardens in London.

Key factors to consider:

Planning permission

Check the guidelines for you area which vary according to council. In may be a case of adding raised walls to protect privacy, looking into weight restrictions, access etc.


For safety reasons your rooftop garden must be railed around the edges. There are many different options from cheap and simple metal railings, to beautiful wood to contemporary glass.

Water access

While your rooftop will provide plenty of sun you need to ensure that your plants are getting enough water even in rainy London. Depending on the height of your building it may be the case of installing taps on the rooftop. If that’s not an option why not build “running up the stairs with watering cans” into your circuit training? An activity that could be made less frequent with water saving planters.


Without the option of planting directly into the rooftop selecting what you can plant becomes very important. As we mentioned planters designed to make the most of water which sub-irrigation systems built into them are an excellent option for the rooftop. Depending on weight and spacing restrictions you should be looking for light and modular planters which you can slot together.


Everything and anything edible. Maximise your space by growing your own. A rooftop garden in the city helps not only to regulate temperature, purify air and minimise flooding but also provides an opportunity to educate, nourish and live more self-sufficiently. We suggest plants that climb such as beans and edible flowers. It is also important to consider light and wind exposure when selecting what goes where. Try garlic for corners and olive trees for blustery exposed areas.

And finally – get inspired

Roof gardens in London where a key feature in the Open Squares Weekend last summer. If you want to discover what lies beyond the green tufts that line the tops of some of London’s buildings book yourself onto one of these weekends for the coming summer. Learn from others, get inspired and discover how with a little planning creating your own rooftop garden in the big city of London really isn’t all that hard.