There are so many people and businesses in my community that are transforming previously open space and lawns into areas for growing food and flowers. I love seeing this happen – for so many, the combination of expensive food prices, and the growing lack of food quality and GMO introduction has driven them to self-educate on how to grow their own.
Some friends of mine in a nearby city are also in the process of creating a “Living Roof”. Everything about this very term caught my attention, and reminded me of a restaurant right here in town that has a living roof. I would like to be a part of spreading the word about this incredibly wonderful idea, so I have done some research for this here article.
Ultimately what I have found, is that living roofs are becoming more than a trend. They can help you save money and beautify your space.
What is a Living Roof?
A living roof is a roof that has been planted. It is at least partially covered with vegetation. For example a living roof might be covered with grass. Many hotels, businesses and even schools are using rooftop space to build a garden. It’s a fantastic way to maximize, improve the environment and save money.
There are different types of living or green roofs. Some require little to no maintenance. These are the simple grass or sod covered roofs that you might see on homes in the countryside. They may require nothing more than nutrients from time to time.
Roofs which have gardens or other plants on them require more work. They’re commonly referred to as semi-intensive or intensive. You may have to weed, prune and harvest. Flat roof are easier to plant on. If you have a pitched roof then sod is the simplest living roof option.
What Does a Living Roof Do?
A living roof can provide many benefits. At its simplest a living roof helps the environment. Plants help clean the air. A living roof can also add space to your home. It can become a place to go for serenity and a nice view. Imagine sitting on your roof and enjoying your flower bed or garden? If you live in an apartment building or work in a high rise this is often a great use of space.
You might also benefit from any flowers or vegetables grown on your living roof. However most of the benefit may be in the form of environmental benefits.
A green roof absorbs rainwater. This in turn helps keep waterways clean. Also, a living roof can provide insulation for your home. You’ll spend less money on electricity or fuel to heat and cool your home. And for urban dwellers, green roofs actually lower the air temperature.
In the city during the summer months the temperature in a city can be ten to fifteen degrees higher. This is because of the heat the city creates. A living roof can help lower the air temperature.
Before You Create Your Own Living Roof:
There are several considerations to make before you plant on your roof. The first is what type of roof you have. If it is flat or has a slight pitch then you have more options about what you can grow. Steep pitches really only accommodate sod. Also, will the structure of your home support the added weight of a green roof?
Finally, there is the overall cost and maintenance. You’ll need to waterproof your roof before you plant. This can be expensive. You’ll also want to review your community’s zoning laws. Are you allowed to have a green roof? Finally, what are you going to plant? What maintenance will be required? Are you going to plant it yourself or hire a contractor? Will you need extra insurance for your home after the roof has been installed?
Green roofs are good for the environment. Of course they are! We can only do incredible good for our world by growing more green things. They can be fun and beautiful to look at too. Before you start growing on your roof take a look at your options. Do your own research, and feel it out as to whether or not creating a living green roof is a project you would like to take on. If you can imagine it – you can do it!