[Infographic] How to create your urban garden?
Be a part of the latest gardening trend and grow on the roof! Rooftop farming has lots of advantages. Among other things, it reduces the risk of flooding during heavy rains, and the house will be better insulated against both heat and cold. But not all plants can cope with the tough climate of a rooftop farm – and it is of course necessary to have the right roof.
In recent years green roofs are becoming more commonplace, both on apartment buildings, kindergartens, sports complexes and private villas. Large cities such as Basel, Paris, London and Tokyo have recognized the importance to compensate for the removal of green areas.
But cultivation can also be an option for individuals. For families with children, a big part of the plot is needed for the car – and bicycle parking, trampoline, and sometimes even for the pool. In such a case, the roof can be a great untapped resource. Here you can find lots of additional square meters and opportunities. These roofs are simply the newest, coolest and most interesting trend in urban development and construction today.
And roof gardening really has many advantages. By planting plants on the roof rain water is delayed on the way to the sewers. This reduces the pressure on the sewage pipes, and also reduces the risk of flooding, which is a growing problem in environments with a lot of impervious surfaces. The plants also helps in trapping air pollution and reducing noise. They create a better indoor climate and reduce energy costs since the roof garden also acts as insulation.
Nowadays there are roof gardens with both herbs, vegetables and flowers. Or why not a meadow or an entire vegetable garden? So far, the prefabricated roofs with low-growing and hardy Crassulaceae have dominated in the market. They weigh about the same as concrete tiles and are therefore easy to apply without additional reinforcement. There’s nothing wrong with these plants per se, but there is just so much more to plant on the roofs, and in recent years, research has opened up a lot of new opportunities.
Today there are exciting combo solutions available with integrated solar cells in green roof systems. Solar cells that produce electricity have been demonstrated to work better in cool environments, and the green roof helps lowering the ambient temperature.
But still, the plant environment on a roof can be a bit extreme. The soil layer must be kept thin, since the weight otherwise would be too heavy. An exposed position with lots of sun and wind quickly dries out the earth, so you should primarily choose hardy stonecrops, drought-resistant and wind-resistant perennials and meadow plants.
Some advice for those who are considering roof gardening
If you are curious about roof cultivation and want to learn more, see Augustenborg’s Botanical roof garden in Malmö, Sweden – the world’s largest green roof display. With a total area of 24 000 square meters, here you can browse through appropriate plants such as chives and thrift, various mosses and geraniums. Different drainage layers and product solutions are also on display for those who want to try rooftop farming.
Get inspired by this YouTube clip from the botanical roofs in Augustenborg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXta6Ekmuo8
Or check out their website:
Lisa Ising is an established journalist and author in the field of gardening. She regularly contributes to leading magazines in Sweden and other Nordic countries. She wants to convey a creative and permissive gardening vision that includes children, animals and wild nature.
Lisa has dedicated her life to plants and botany, and she’s one of the initiators of Slottsträdgården – one of Sweden’s first urban gardening projects – which has grown into a well-known project which attracts all kinds of people who are interested in gardening theory and practice.
In her new book Trädgårdslegender, Lisa summarizes modern Swedish gardening culture. She present today’s most famous gardeners and conveys their grounded, practical advice and garden favorites.
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