|"Wow!Look at that beautiful penthouse rooftop garden; I could definitely live HERE!"|
|"OMG! How did they manage to grow THAT on their roof? Look at all those beautiful birds and butterflies, I wonder if I could do that on Rover's doghouse?"|
|"Boy, that's clever! If we can design these roofs in all urban areas, we can probably grow fresh organic food, get clean air, and even insulate the buildings!"|
Ok, maybe those weren't *exactly* what you were thinking, but something like that(?).
There is a lot to say about this type of roofing, they are clever, they can be very attractive (or pretty ugly), and they need some front-end work with major residual payoff.
Having soil and vegetation that grows on a roof may sound unconventional, but green rooftops have been used for hundred of years. Today, green roofs are usually planted over a flat or low pitched roof membrane that can withstand standing or ponding water. These roofs have to be waterproof and can incorporate rain water harvesting (or water drainage for collection and irrigation).
Container-Fulls of Social, Natural and Environmental BENEFITS:
What an elegant solution to several environmental issues!
How is It Done?
You can set it all up yourself - there are many sites available with instruction on how to prepare your roof, what types of plants to use, and how to grow and maintain your plants. Typically, the recommended plants are low-lying, drought-resistant varieties - sedum seems to be a favorite though.
If you have a flat roof that will be used for entertaining, you can landscape it with all types of indigenous plants and flowers. Live roofs takes work, and maintenance, otherwise, you will end up with rot and other issues, including overgrowth, browning, leakage, and - dare I say it - uninvited guests/pests.
Do a bit of reading at the following website: greenroofs.org. It is not only informative and interesting, but absolutely inspiring. Whether you decide to do-it-yourself, or hire a pro, you will get a good idea of efforts and costs. For ready-made, pre-vegetated roof garden or green roof kits, I have come across a LEED-certified company, called liveroof.com which provides residential and commercial services. There are many out there, use the search box on the top right corner for "diy green roof kits".
For an interesting and easy approach as a first test-bed green roof (on a shed), check out the green roof video below by a New England nursery. This doesn't give you a step-by-step approach, but shows how doable the project is.
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