Planning to install a green roof is perhaps the best decision you will make in your lifetime. Apart from being environmentally friendly and reducing your home’s carbon footprint, a green roof will also allow you to improve the aesthetics of your home, while using vegetation’s insulation properties to reduce your electricity bills. However, as expected, installing a living roof is a cumbersome process and you need it to go entirely right, unless you are okay with a damp ceiling. Hence, if you are seriously considering this green addition to your home’s roof, here are a few things you should plan initially.
- Type of green roof:
There are three main types of green roofing systems – intensive, semi-intensive and extensive. An intensive green roof is the one that has the thickest covering of growing material and hence, enables you to grow everything from fruits and vegetables to evergreen trees right on your roof. An extensive green roof system is the one that has the thinnest layer of growing medium and hence allows you to grow only small plants. On the other hand, a semi-intensive green roofing system, is somewhere in between both the intensive and the extensive system. Quite obviously, an extensive system will require minimum maintenance, while an intensive system will require a decent amount of investment and maintenance costs.
Green roofs should ideally be placed on a sloping roof, instead of a flat one, because in a sloping roof excess water will runoff into the gutter and hence, there will be less chances of water damage. Ideally, architects and contractors consider roof slopes of around 40 degrees as the best for installing a green roofing system.
- Use high quality waterproofing layers:
The foundation of any green roofing system is a waterproofing layer, which goes in directly on top of the roofing system and protects the building from water damage. As expected, this is a very crucial part of the entire process and hence, homeowners should not try to save money while purchasing the waterproofing medium. This investment will protect your home from any water damage in the future.
- Growing medium:
Conventional garden growing medium, which is soil, isn’t suited for a rooftop garden simply because it’s too heavy and normal roofs cannot withstand the additional weight for a long period of time. On the other hand, you should consult a contractor to prepare the best growing material, which is actually a mixture of organic and inorganic ingredients. This growing medium has high water retention capabilities and is also light in weight.
- Choosing the plants:
While choosing plants for your rooftop garden make sure that they are drought tolerant, are self-sufficient, and can easily handle extreme changes in temperature over a long period of time. Ideally, the best plants for a rooftop garden are evergreen plants, which require less water and can handle rapid shifts in temperature, while requiring minimal maintenance. On the other hand, if you have enough time at your disposal, which you can devote to plant life, you can even consider growing fruits and vegetables on your rooftop.