Growing your own garden can be a rewarding pastime that adds beauty and value to your property. The right location for a garden can also add insulation to your home. Rooftop gardens have myriad benefits for the environment, and they can drive down your home heating and cooling costs as well. Although the initial cost of installation can be high, a rooftop garden can reduce your daily energy demands by over 75%. For a beautiful, efficient way to keep your home heated in the winter and cool in the summer, consider either an intensive or extensive rooftop garden.
Intensive Gardens These gardens work best on flat or only slightly sloping surfaces. The structure needs to include a support layer, a membrane for leak prevention, a root barrier to prevent damage to the membrane, insulation, a layer for water retention and drainage, and finally at least six inches of soil in which you may plant. These can weigh up to 150 pounds per square foot.
Intensive gardens are the most interactive option: you can include almost any plant you like, including vegetables and herbs. You might enjoy building a garden path, bench, or even a dining area. They also require more construction and maintenance than an extensive garden.
Extensive Gardens These gardens are the most popular for residential roofs. They work with slight to moderate inclines, and require less robust support than intensive gardens. For this garden, you need a support layer, a roof membrane, a drainage mat, a moisture retention layer, and finally a layer of soil at least one and a half inches deep. These weigh around ten to thirty-five pounds per square foot.
These gardens do best with succulents, grasses, and other low-maintenance plants. You should also reserve rooftop access for maintenance, and not install leisure pathways or structures.
How to Add a Rooftop Garden First, consult an architect or contractor. These professionals will be able to determine whether your existing roof can support a rooftop garden, and if so, which type will be best suited to your home. You'll also want to hire an expert if you're replacing or remodeling your roof; the structure of your house may not be able to handle a too much extra weight, which you'll need to know before continuing your plans. Consider consulting a home heating service (such as Al's Quality Oil Co Inc) to help determine exactly how much more energy efficient your home is likely to become.
Once you've determined which type of rooftop garden your home can support, find a local contractor to help design and install your new roof. You'll choose which plants you want to use, the best soil for the vegetation, and how you plan on irrigating the roof. Automatic watering systems tend to be the most practical and manageable.
Gardens are attractive and enjoyable. They can also be beneficial to your home. To help create an energy-efficient home, consider installing the rooftop garden that's right for you.