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Your Rooftop Oasis The following pages 1) present some conceptual images representing design concepts for your roof top oasis; 2) present a planting plan and planting maintenance notes; 3) explore the potential for rooftop agriculture on your roof 4) identify sources for products included in the design. The Vision: This concept may be developed fully or you can choose certain elements.

vegetable planters, no taller than 6” and 6” from party wall, following Philadelphia standards

gate to roof

stairs to deck


galvanized planters (31.5” W, 10.75” D, 15.75” H)

rail planters 24”

wall grid planters

refrigerator under counter

3’-10” 4’

door to deck 5’

set of 3 zinc planters

tall zinc planters (12.5” square, 27.5” high) low steel planter (6’ x 2’)

storage underneath

corner “kitchen” w/ concrete countertop (24” deep) bar sink- water is recycled into planters

mushroom wood planters containing Earthboxes for growing (32” x 16”)




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Sedums planted in a set of three tall planters provides a transition between the two parts of the deck.


A gate in the fencing allows access to the rest of the rooftop, including any agricultural plantings that will be placed there.


Wall grids allow plants to grow up on the wall between the windows.


Shade sails are placed in the southeast and southwest to screen the deck.


Rectangular planters create space to grow alpine flowers and vines to grow up the wall.



Extra pots of plants can be interspersed among the permanent, larger planters.

A countertop will contain a refrigerator, sink and storage cabinet, and will wrap around the railing to provide a bar top for entertaining.


Rail planters on the south side of the deck will contain taller grasses to screen the unadorned rooftops close by.

Elements For Your Space Below are some images that illustrate the stylistic vision and materials that could work well for your space. Planters:

Earthbox base fits into mushroom wood boxes

Zinc planters (fill base with ‘peanuts’ as filler)

Growbags- vegetable bed option that meets CDC rooftop agriculture standards

Self-watering reservoir fits into zinc planters

Galvanized planters (fill base with ‘peanuts’ as filler)

Gilmour irrigation timer

Self-watering reservoir fits into galvanized and zinc rail planters

Zinc rectangular rail planters

Potential phase 2 configuration for vegetable beds on roof (permit required)

Planting Plan This plan calls for plants that will succeed in the dry and hot conditions of your roof top. The planting palette favors succulents, saxifrages, and alpine flowers, which grow naturally in these kinds of conditions.

mix of tall growing flowerseuphorbia; butterfly weed; liatris; wild indigo; agastache; coreopsis; allium; stokesia coral honeysuckle

sedums; yarrow; amsonia

lowgrowing sedums; yarrow; amsonia grasses

all rail planters with path rush and/or Pennsylvania sedge

little bluestem and/or switchgrass; coreopsis; allium; stokesia

Plant Palette Grasses

Switchgrass ‘Shenandoah’ Panicum virgatum

Little bluestem ‘Blaze’ Schizachyrium scoparium

Pennsylvania sedge Carex pennsylvanica

Path rush, Juncus tenuis


Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Sedum floriferum

Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’

Sedum rupestra

Sedum album ‘Coral Carpet’

Sedum spurium

Sempervivum tectorum

Plant Palette Flowering plants

Coreopsis ‘Creme Brulee’ Coreopsis verticillata

Butterfly weed Asclepias tuberosa

Liatris False indigo Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ Liatris aspera

Yarrow ‘Schwelienburg’

Ornamental onion Allium spp.

Agastache ‘Firebird’

Smooth blue aster Aster laevis

Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’

Euphorbia Euphorbia polychroma

Stokesia ‘Color Wheel’

Plant Palette Vegetables (with ornamental value)


Cherry tomatoes “Sun Gold”

Walking onion

Chard “Bright Lights”


Purple cabbage

Sugar snap peas

Vegetable Growing on the Roof The drawings on the following page are excerpted from “PRooF Pilot Project: Conceptual Design for a Residential Rooftop Planter System”, a publication of the Community Design Collaborative for homeowners in Philadelphia. This drawing shows safe options for placing planting boxes on the roof. The following recommendations are given for installation of any planting boxes on the roof: Recommendations Homeowners desiring to install rooftop farms should hire a structural engineer to do the following: 1. Assess the condition of the roof framing. 2. Determine the load capacity of the roof framing. 3. Specify configuration, dimensions, locations and maximum permitted weights of planters on the roof. 4. Specify maximum number of people who may be on the roof at any one time. 5. Design bridge framing specific to the particular conditions on the roof. 6. Determine the anchorage or ballast requirements necessary for securing the bridge framing in place when exposed to a 20 psf wind pressure. 7. Investigate impact of bridge framing on adjacent properties with regards to snow drifting that may occur on the roofs of those adjacent properties. 8. Develop details for handrails. 9. Develop details for framing modifications related to roof access. 10. Develop signage to be placed on the roof denoting load limitations and limitations on the number of persons who may be on the roof at any one time. 11. Provide guidance regarding construction procedures and methodologies, including “do’s” and “don’ts”. Such guidance may include, limitations regarding placement and stockpiling of construction materials, details for shoring existing framing where required, etc.

Residential Design/Build  

Rooftop deck and garden in Fairmount, Philadelphia, PA