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Roof Gardens

Question: My husband and I are building a new home. Most of the yard will be dedicated to a play area for our dogs which means there won’t be enough room for the garden of my dreams. I’m trying to talk my husband into putting a garden on the roof but he doesn’t believe it can be done with soil, watering and everything needed for a garden. How can I get him to agree with me?

Answer: Centuries old, the garden roof concept has been most recently aggressively embraced in Europe and urban cities in the United States. Both functional and aesthetically-appealing, this technology improves the structure’s energy efficiency while adding plant life in populated areas.

In California, roof decks with outdoor furniture and potted plants or flower beds have been a common site for years. Garden roofs – also known as green roofs, eco-roofs, living roofs and vegetative roofs – add an extra element as an architectural space, requiring careful consideration of both form and function, and the appropriate selection of materials, textures, finishes and irrigation methods.

You will have, at the very least, mandated energy efficient features in your new home. A garden rooftop will only enhance the interior improvements. Green roofs absorb up to 75% of rainfall, reducing the runoff and lowering
the risk of floods at ground level. Plants, through transpiration, directly cool the air, and can reduce surface roof temperatures by as much as 40 degrees in summer and trap significant amounts of airborne particulates on their leaves. Buildings with garden roofs lose 30% less heat in the winter, are cooler in the summer, and offer year-round sound insulation. Roof gardens and green roofs extend the life of the existing roof fabric by up to 70%. Further savings are also made from improved insulation.

In addition to financial and aesthetic benefits, you will help the environment by aiding in the crusade to help reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases and forestall the effects of global warming. Planting gardens, both at ground level and above, alters the climate in a positive away.

Please consult professionals for design and installation.