In the early 1800s, sod roofs were widespread in the US. Rooftop gardens date back to ancient Iceland, Babylon, and much of Europe. Now green roofs are making a comeback. Also known as a “living roof” or a “green roof,” a rooftop garden is a roof which is covered with grass, ground cover, or other plants, planted in a growing medium.
What costs are associated with installing a rooftop garden?
The costs are between $8.00 and $25.00 more per square foot than installing a traditional structure. These costs will depend on the structure of your roof and the necessity of structural reinforcement in order to sustain the weight of a garden roof. Additional costs may be incurred if you choose to use an expert to design and initiate your roofing project. If your roofing project is complex, or if you install a system for irrigation, this, too, will drive up the cost of your green roof. Additional costs can be expected for the first couple of years for maintenance and the potential need for construction to create access to the roof.
What are the benefits to installing a rooftop garden?
Indoor climate control is one of the major benefits to having a living rooftop. In the summertime, it will decrease the amount of hot air that passes into the home through your roof, and in the winter, warm air is inhibited from escaping. Rooftop gardens are environmentally friendly for a couple of reasons. The first is that they attract birds and small animals and offer potential habitats; also, they greatly decrease the amount of rainwater runoff, which is blamed for much of the pollution in our rivers and lakes. What water runoff does escape is potentially filtered and therefore cleaner than that from traditional roofs. Finally, your standard roof is protected by UV rays from the sun, and from other elements by your green roof, and therefore will last longer.
Are there any disadvantages to adding a rooftop garden?
Installing a green roof is initially more expensive than adding a traditional roof, and the project is particularly complex if your home’s roof must be adjusted and reinforced in order to install the green roof on top of it. There are also maintenance costs involved that you would not have with a traditional roof. Also, be aware that green roofs are sometimes shades of brown during the winter or during periods of drought. This means there are times that your room will not be attractive.
Are there different kinds of roof gardens?
There are two primary kinds of green roofs. Those are extensive roofs and intensive roofs. An extensive roof is distinguished by a medium that is not very deep, and a limited variety of plants, usually sedum and grasses. This is the roof that is best suited for a single family home; it generally weighs up to fifty pounds per square foot, and this includes water, plants, snow, and materials. An intensive roof, on the other hand, is usually seen on high rise apartment buildings and commercial buildings. They weigh up to one hundred fifty pounds per square foot and are characterized by a deeper planting medium, up to four feet deep, and a wide variety of plants and trees.
What are the phases in the creation of a green roof?
If you are building a new home, your green roof will be designed as part of your home designs. In this way, concerns about the strength and slope of your roof are part of the design plan. If you are adding a green roof to an existing home, the first step is an assessment of your existing roof, to find out if it is the right slope and if it is strong enough to sustain a green roof. The roof may need to be reinforced. Once these steps are taken, then your green roof is ready to install.