Roof Gardening - A Step towards Greener and Sustainable Future

Outdoors Dated:  March 3, 2016
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Constantly finding ways to make the world around us greener, we have discovered yet another realistic and efficient way – Roof Gardening. Although the concept has been conceived in ancient times, it has gained popularity in the recent times in the wake of global warming and energy efficiency crisis.

As the name suggests, roof gardening is about have a garden on the roof of the building. This concept, however, is not the same as ‘green roof’.

While green roofs emphasize only on cultivating plants, roof gardening tries to mimic all the features seen in a garden on the ground. Apart from growing plants, these also provide for a recreational area with an outdoor lounge, play area for kids and pets, a lawn etc.

Again, the upsides do not end here (there are hardly any downsides, only certain limitations!). Along with the materialistic, visible goodness, roof gardening is an excellent way to make your house energy efficient. In summers the green patch on the roof helps in keeping the interiors comparatively cooler than the one without a garden and in winters, it prevents the heat loss happening through the roofs. During heavy rains, the garden prevents heavy rain run off.

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An idea so useful and beautiful (those gorgeous plants are definitely going to beautify your barren roofs!), is worth trying. Here are a few tips if you think of giving it a shot.

1. Is it possible on your roof:
The first step is to make sure whether your roof can afford to hold a garden. Get a structural engineer to  get it certified whether it is possible to have a garden on the roof depending upon the material the roof is made of, the weight it can bear and if there will be any seeping through of soil and water into the house.

2. Layout:
Plan a layout according to the size and strength of the roof. You can have a garden with plants only  and narrow walkways, or include an outdoor space or play area.

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3. Selecting plants and growing medium:
Select plants which grow less downwards and more upwards i.e, the plants with roots not growing deep (spreading across the area) into the soil since you do not have a provision to have large pots. Since weight load on the roof is a matter of concern, it is always better to have a light weight growing medium instead of pure soil or garden dirt.

4. Accessing the roof:
Now that you are going to have a full fledged garden, consult an architect for constructing an easy and affordable access to your roof.

5. Provide windbreaks:
Roofs are more harshly hit by wind than the ground. If you stay in a place that comes under low pressure area, it is even more important to provide for a wind break.

A wind break can be anything – tree, fence, wooden panel or wall, which disturbs the high speed of the wind that can destroy the tender plants.

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Make sure to take expert advice from a structural engineer or architect to better know the capability of your roof. When planned and executed properly, roof garden can prove to be a real asset. This can probably be the best way of beautifying the much ignored roof of your house.

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