Green and turf roofs

Architects, planners, community groups and individuals are increasingly looking for new ways to green the urban environment, and with open space at a premium, roof-tops are seen as an under utilised resource to be developed.

Green roofs give their buildings a living, breathing skin that not only provides attractive greenery and an urban habitat, but also sound and heat insulation for a building, and can relieve pressure on drainage and water treatment works, absorbing and holding back rainfall and airborne pollutants.The green or living roof concept is now well established with many prestige and humble examples constructed in both the drier east and wetter western parts of the UK.

Many buildings have been transformed in this way, including large industrial complexes, schools and colleges, as well as more modest garden sheds, garages and temporary shipping containers. As these building schemes involve creating an environment from scratch they offer novel and interesting opportunities to create something a bit different as compared with landscaping open ground. Control of the type and depth of growing medium, the arrangement of irrigation and drainage, together with the slope and aspect of the roof mean that a wide range of choices exist as to the type of plants and species that can be grown. In general, roof schemes for wild flowers use a shallow depth of growing medium and are designed to develop 'naturally' with a minimum of maintenance. If you do not have a convenient roof to green but still want to try the technique you can achieve the same results by constructing a raised bed or sink garden.

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