5 Ideas for Roof Skirting For Winter Protection

It is kind of strange but if you are growing short plants in containers on your roof, winter protection for the pots may be something that you have never thought about. Maybe you shouldn’t think about it because no special equipment or covering will be needed. All that needs to happen is that the plants themselves need to be chosen carefully. The key to protecting containers of short plants on your roof is the fact that they are short.

It may seem kind of obvious but it is important to remember that winter conditions will be worse around sloped parts of buildings, so if you have some pots near the edge of a sloping roof, overhang, or porch, they can get more snow and ice build-up than those closer to the center. But again, even though there might be some special situations where you need to deal with this issue, gardeners who are growing their rooftop gardens all season long using passive hydroponic methods are likely dealing with just ordinary soils in ordinary planters not containing trees or big shrubs. So here’s what happens winter comes along:

Here are 5 Ideas for Roof Skirting for Winter Protection

1. The snow and ice melt slowly if it is not being driven away by wind or sun, but the water itself will freeze at night so a good deal of it becomes solid ice around your plants. If you have soil in them they will continue to take up water from below all winter long even while the top parts may be froze solid. Since you don’t need anything special for their winter protection, just add some soil or other growing medium that can hold more water above the regular stuff during cold months. In this way, any melted snow or ice will drain into the potting mix simply by gravity, very nice! But even better might be something like perlite because it holds a great deal of pore space for air and water – providing insulation for the plants.

2. Just about any container with regular potting mix or anything else that can hold more water than soil works great for this purpose and because it is just a matter of not planting trees and big shrubs, you don’t need to think about special drainage materials like rocks over drainage holes in pots used during the summertime. This system doesn’t even require draining your rooftop garden at all! So there is no cost to adding another layer of protection from winter cold and snow plus helping protect them from the cold wind too. If you choose to use something like perlite instead of garden soil, here’s an interesting factoid: Perlite looks very much like styrofoam beads so when your roof garden starts disappearing under a layer of ice and snowfall, you just might fool the neighbors!

3. Although not absolutely necessary, it is probably best to keep your rooftop garden covered with some kind of clear protective material when there is a lot of blowing snow or if there are very strong winds. This will prevent moisture from building up on the roof surface below which can weaken or damage it over time so covering your containers may be helpful in this regard. If you use something like old plastic sheeting for this task, make sure that it isn’t touching any part of the plants because soil could become packed down into an almost solid block right around each one if left in place for too long.

4. Some roof garden backfill material might fall off but this is usually not a big deal and what you can do is just add some more to your rooftop garden the following spring to replace it and that will bring everything right back up to its original height. The best part about all of this is you don’t need any special equipment so there is no extra cost involve. Just use whatever left-over soil or another growing medium you have on hand. Otherwise, buying a new planting mix for each season isn’t too expensive either so keeping your pots filled with something that holds water well during wintertime could be easy for many beginning rooftop gardeners.

5. Don’t forget that when summer finally arrives, you’ll probably want to change your rooftop garden planter mix so adding a bit of perlite is always an option. But don’t go overboard with the amount because perlite has excellent drainage qualities and this could lead to all kinds of problems! Just remember, you want your rooftop garden soil to be heavy enough that it doesn’t dry out too quickly. When it heats by the summer sun but at the same time, loose enough that it won’t compact down either. If you are just beginning to grow food on your roof, read more about how to plant for maximum yields in these articles:


Growing food on your roof during the winter months isn’t really that much different than what you normally do to prepare your rooftop garden soil for planting anything. You just need to keep the “soil mix” well-watered during cold weather so it won’t lose its ability to hold lots of air and moisture too soon – this is especially true if you use perlite instead of regular potting mix. If you choose not to cover your containers with a layer or two of clear plastic sheeting. Make sure all parts of each plant are above any snowfall as best as possible. Because those little white flakes can pack down around them and kill even the hardiest plants over time.