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'Just going to mow the lawn' - on the roof

Green Roof Roof gardens, once a common sight in London, are enjoying a renaissance, together with the growing popularity of living green roofs. Mayor Ken Livingstone's Living Roofs campaign aims to encourage Londoners to make green roofs, roof gardens and terraces as popular as in other major European cities.

The biggest problem with planting a garden with or without a lawn is the overall weight of the project.

The design and structure of the roof and weight bearing capabilities need a lot of pre consideration otherwise you may be in the bath with a relaxing G & T and end up covered in soil when it caves in! When the roof is wet with irrigation or rain, this can add a lot of additional kilograms as one litre of water weighs a kilogram so drainage is important but not to the point that the soil medium cannot retain any to sustain plant growth in the sky.

There has been a lot of technological advancement in 'soil-less' growing mediums and one group os plants - Sedum, is in particular very easy to establish on a house roof or on the shed roof even with minimum root zone. The next big problem if you have a lawn on the roof is getting the lawn mower up there!

Roof gardens are not new to London. They were popular in the 1930s, epitomised by glamorous schemes, such as the roof gardens at Berkeley Court in Marylebone, which remain a selling point of this grand mansion block.

New construction techniques allow for different types of living roofs," says Mayor Livingstone, who adds that, along with small-scale gardens, it is possible to install more ambitious greenery on large buildings "from meadows and other wildlife habitats to allotments, formal gardens and even golf courses".

Among the latest buildings to get a green top is the New Providence Wharf residential scheme in Docklands, where there is a variety of planting, from high-level swathes of sedum with wildflowers to more formal and traditional gardens. Nearby is the Barclays Bank tower at Canary Wharf, which, at 525ft, is thought to be one of the highest rooftop gardens in the world. On a smaller scale, a new housing scheme at Paddington Walk in west London, with landscaping by Gillespies, has exquisitely detailed gardens with distinct Japanese, Indonesian and Moroccan themes.

'We thought a green roof would be a lot more interesting to look out on'

Most amazing is the one-and-a-half-acre urban oasis of Kensington Roof Gardens, complete with pink flamingos and full-sized trees, Tudor garden, Spanish garden and an English woodland garden. On a smaller scale, the latest green wave includes home-owners who want to do their bit for the environment. In Highbury, Pia Conti incorporated a green roof of low-growing grasses and flowers on her garden extension.

Read the rest of the article from The Evening Standard Homes & Property Section

Picture - Evening Standard

Buy Enviromat - Sedum 'turf'

Living Roofs - an independent website with information about all types of green roofing.


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