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I want to start a roof garden project and wanted to know what process I can follow in order to meet these requirements:

low maintenance (could be easily automated),

low resource waste (water, nutrients, ...)

Aquaponics, aeroponics, fogponics? any other?

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    I don't know much about roof gardens, but I wonder if this may not be easily answerable without more detail. Perhaps a good answer could try to provide the questions that need to be asked of someone wanting a roof garden in order to determine the best solution? – Highly Irregular Jul 24 '13 at 0:20
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    The first bit of information that seems necessary is the type of building you want to put the garden on, and how much weight per square metre it can support? Is it flat or sloped (what angle)? What climate do you have, and how readily available is water? – Highly Irregular Jul 24 '13 at 0:23
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    Denmark is known for it's beautiful 'roof gardens' or earthen covered roofs with a ground cover such as grass if this is what you are implying but to take advice from an experienced Dane would only be wise if the environment was similar as their experience would be quite different than in arid parts of Mexico. As Highly Irregular states climate & weather factors, sunlight, rainfall, etc. are important factors. Chicago is a leader in garden roofs (on tall buildings) so scale as well as contour are important as well in refining your question. – Charlie Brown Jul 24 '13 at 17:39
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I don't know much about aquaponics, aeroponics or fogponics, but I from what I've read on wikipedia I think those require more maintenance and resources than a simple vegetation-covered roof. Therefore I will focus my answer on the latter.

The most low-maintenance, low-resources solution probably is to build a green roof covered with sedum plants. Sedum can survive under many circumstances. In warm climates you may need to water the plants occasionally, but this is not necessary in moderate climates. The only maintenance required is to check your water drains once or twice a year and unclog them if needed. You might want to remove the weeds once every year, but this is not strictly necessary. Basic instructions on how to build a sedum-covered roof can be found here.

Instead of sedum you can grow herbs and/or grasses on your roof, but these require a sturdier roof, more maintenance, more water and possibly also some fertilizer (depending on the types of plants). It's even possible to grow bushes and trees, but you'll need an even stronger roof.

Requirements:

  • All vegetation-covered roofs

    • a good waterproof and root-resistant layer, preferably not older than 10 years.
    • good drainage
    • slope preferably less than 15 degrees. Depending on the type of roof, a bigger slope may be possible, but this will make construction and maintenance more complicated
  • Sedum

    • the roof has to support an extra 40-80 kg/m2
    • roof edge must be at least 10cm high
  • Grass/herbs

    • the roof has to support an extra 100-150 kg/m2
    • roof edge must be at least 15-20cm high
  • Bushes/trees

    • the roof has to support over 250kg/m2 extra

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