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  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

Permaculture for Renters: Rallying Your Landlord for a Rooftop Garden Project

Updated: Mar 4

With a rapidly growing population and shrinking living spaces, we must act to transform our urban living spaces into something sustainable and regenerative for the environment and ourselves. One way to initiate this change in our living quarters is through permaculture rooftop gardens.

As renters, it can be challenging to convince a landlord to agree to such a project. But it is possible to make it happen with some advocacy and practical considerations. This blog post will discuss how to approach your landlord and rally their support for your rooftop garden project.

Research local bylaws and regulations

The first step towards implementing a rooftop garden project is to know the legal implications of such a project: research local bylaws, regulations, and building codes. Learn about the safety standards and any permits required to undertake such a project. This knowledge will serve as a starting point to initiate a conversation with your landlord.

Understand the benefits

To convince your landlord of the value of a rooftop garden, you need to present its benefits. For instance, a green roof can reduce energy costs by insulating the building, filtering out pollutants, providing a better ambiance for ten, and increasing the building's lifespan. A garden will contribute to the local ecosystem by providing food for pollinators, improving air quality, absorbing rainwater, and reducing runoff and water pollution.

Discuss the costs and maintenance.

Once you have listed all the rooftop garden benefits, talk to your landlord about the project's cost. Explain that you will incur the expenses and that there are many ways to make rooftop gardens affordable. For example, you may choose to use materials found on-site and recycled materials to construct planters. Additionally, you should discuss the maintenance of the garden.

Show research and examples.

It's essential to show your landlord that rooftop gardens are feasible and successful. Gather as much research and examples as possible to present your case persuasively. Locate rooftop gardens in your area and gather case studies demonstrating their effectiveness. You can also present your landlord with designs and plans for the garden to give them an idea of what the final product will look like.

Find allies

Build a coalition with your neighbors! Talk to them, get them interested, and bring them on board. This will increase the support for your idea and help it gain momentum.

Give your landlord options.

If your landlord is hesitant about the project, provide them with several options to make them feel more comfortable. For example, you can offer to sign an agreement that transfers liability to you for the project's lifetime. You can also offer to make the project temporary so it can be easily dismantled.


Permaculture rooftop gardens are a fantastic way to address our shrinking living spaces, reconnect with nature, and promote sustainability. However, as renters, it can be challenging to implement such a project without your landlord's support.

You may convince them to agree to the project by showing the benefits and addressing their concerns. Always remember to present clear plans, research, and options for your landlord so that they can make an informed decision.

With your landlord's support, a small project can significantly impact the environment and the lives of those who live in the building.



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