Green Roofs And Wildlife Gardening
Green Roofs or Living Roofs combined with Green walls are
one of the best ways to widen out our wildlife garden habitat.
They are becoming more accepted as a feature and as an extension to the planting area of a garden especially in a wildlife garden.
Our minds may take us to grand places like Canary Wharf or Manhattan when we think of a vertical garden or roof gardens.
A scaled down version whether it be on the roof of a small garden shed or garage provides a great opportunity to create a habitat that will be beneficial to the local wildlife and which can complement the rest of the garden.
Of all the spaces in our gardens this must be the ultimate blank canvass that will allow us to produce something that bit different but also attractive to ourselves and visitors, human, birds and insects.
Random self seeding plants may also surprise and delight us.
Extensive Green Roofs In The Wildlife Garden
For the urban wildlife gardener and domestic roofs the extensive method would be the more practical route to take as these require less maintenance and are more suited for the smaller garden area.
Intensive Green Roofs And The Wildlife Garden
The Intensive method is higher maintenance and much greater in scope regarding what can be planted. Reasonable sized trees have been used successfully with this system. Specialized companies usually carry out projects of this size.
A Green Wall In The Wildlife Garden
These are used by architects and interior designers to soften the environment both inside and outside the buildings they are working on for their clients.
A scaled down version can be included in the urban garden.
Depending on the overall design and structure of the green wall we may decide to use sedum plants when planting out the wall to ensure success sooner.
We can also sow sedum seeds to help thicken out the vegetation over time just the same as we can with most planting situations.
A living roof can help local wildlife in many ways
One way is by providing food for a wide variety of insects and by attracting these we also provide food for Birds, Bats and if we have a pond nearby more than likely dragonflies.
Another way is that well planted green roofs or ones sown with sedum seeds can be ideal nesting sites for any ground nesting birds once the plants have matured.
Skylarks have been known to nest on a living roof. Smaller invertebrates may also find their way to the roof and stay.
There are a variety of sedum plants and sedum seeds supplied specifically for smaller roofs and are more suitable for the urban wildlife gardener.
Here is an extensive list of plants suitable for green roofs.
Other benefits are connected with reduction of the rain that runs off the roof so helping to avoid flooding.
When combined with a rainfall harvesting strategy, whether that be a simple water butt or an underground rain storage system this positive effect is compounded.
Air quality is another factor to be considered, the green carpet of vegetation acts as a natural filter for any pollutants or particles that are borne in the air.
Slowing down the accumulation of solar warmth in cities and towns is an area in which living roofs have helped to reduce this build up of heat.
A key safety factor when installing a living roof
This safety factor relates to the structural strength of the building we are thinking of putting a green roof on as there is considerable weight to be carried by the roof, so we need to be sure it can bear the load.
Using lighter substrates will help to keep the overall load within the structural strength of the roof we are considering using.
Even so we may feel its worth strengthening the roof supports so as to be sure it is safe. If there is any doubt whatsoever about its structural safety with having a green roof put on it then it is important that specialized or professional advice is sought.
This would also apply to ensuring the roof is watertight.
On both counts it's better to be safe than sorry!
When we first hear of a green roof or green wall we may think this is either daft or too technical for our garden situation, but in our opinion, the phrase "Watch This Space" certainly applies where living roofs and green walls are concerned.
As long as we think it through and make sure the roof will remain watertight and not be overloaded, extending our garden green space by this means is a viable option for many who are establishing a wildlife friendly garden.