Go Green Series-Green Roofs with Vegetation
While not as common as solar panels or rainwater collection, there is another way to make your roof more “green” – growing plants on it. Vegetation takes in carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen which is wonderful for the atmosphere and since your roof is a large unused space, why not make the best of it with some rooftop plants. Here are some tips on turning your roof into a garden.
Prepare your roof
Of course, you can’t just stick a few plants on the top of your house and call it a day, you need to make sure your roof is prepared properly to sustain the vegetation you want to plant while also not damaging your roof. It would be good to contact your local roofing company before you begin for a general consultation. As a local roofing company ourselves, our Ann Arbor roofers would be able to identify problem areas and help you avoid potential damage or danger. According to the International Green Roof Association there are several steps you need to take in preparing your roof for vegetation. First you will need a root barrier to protect your home from damage caused by the roots of vegetation and then add a protection layer which further shields your roof and also holds water and nutrients for the plants. Next is the drainage layer which allows excess water to drain off your roof and the filter layer which is there to make sure the drainage layer doesn’t get clogged. Finally, it is time to lay the growing medium and plant the vegetation. If you aren’t sure what type of plants to use, ask your local roofer for options and advice.
Pick the plants
You want to make sure you pick the correct plants as conditions on a roof can be harsher than on the ground since it is closer to the sun and can also be windier. The National Park Service recommends going with robust plants that don’t require a lot of maintenance and can essentially survive on rainwater since you are unlikely to go up on the roof to take care of them as often as a garden on the ground. You also need to consider the expected size and height of the plants and go with plants that stay low to the ground over plants that grow tall. Some ideal types of plants according to Growing Green Guide are succulents, herbaceous perennials, turf and shrubs.
Maintain your garden
The International Green Roof Association says that growing plants on your roof does require some maintenance such as watering during dry seasons and replanting if some of the vegetation dies. You will also need to weed just as you would with a regular garden and keep an eye on your plants to make sure they are thriving.