Designs With Altitude

A rooftop or balcony garden can create valuable living space outdoors, but making the most of what can be a small area can be challenging. Here are some factors to consider.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionUse plants that are hardy to one zone lower than yours. They'll be more likely to survive the rooftop winter conditions.
Plant Selection.Depending on how much time you have to devote to the maintenance of the garden, plant selection is critical. Drought-tolerant and native plants do best in challenging rooftop conditions. They're able to withstand periods of drought and harsh winds. "Use plants that are hardy to one zone lower than your zone," says Mitchell.

Do you plan on using or viewing the garden in winter? Use plants that have winter interest, such as evergreens, trees that produce fruit or ornamental grasses. (Check out these tips for overwintering containerized plants.)