Trade in that image of "Heidi" grazing goats on the roof for the latest and greatest eco-trend -- sky gardens. A green roof or “sky garden” covers an existing roof with 2-5” of lightweight growing medium planted with sedum and grasses that will soak up rainwater to prevent toxic run- off and add green space to our neighborhoods and sky-high cities. A green roof will also better insulate a building, prolong the life of the roof and filter air pollution.
Green Roof Tips
• Use a green roof “system” (extensive) instead of planting a traditional roof top garden (intensive) - systems are made of a lightweight growing medium and use the correct type of plants for sky high growing (see resource list).
• Research before you start – Germany and Scandinavia have been successfully building green roofs for centuries and have some tried and true methods. Seattle, Chicago and New York have dozens of extensive green roofs that have been in operation for a number of years.
• Hire a professional – green roofs are not yet a do-it-yourself weekend warrior kind of project. It takes some engineering and careful product choice to ensure that the system will provide the proper benefits.
• Water during the first year or two - a green roof is similar to starting a native garden; it takes a couple of years to get it established and needs watering in the meantime during dry spells.
Links and Product Resources
www.greenroofs.com - general info about green roofs in U.S.
www.kestreldesigngroup.com - design and consulting on green roofs for business and home applications.
www.hydrotechusa.com - green roof system and supplier
www.greengridroofs.com - green roof system and supplier
www.xeroflora.com - green roof system and supplier