As we all face a climate and other environmental problems, why not take your part in our goal on bringing back a much greener world. Create a beautiful and environment friendly space through living roof in your sheds. Sheds has been a reliable and staple structure in your garden making it a perfect candidate in your living roof. Don’t have sheds? You can always try your chicken coops and bird houses too.
What is a living roof?
A living roof, also known as an eco roof, living roof, vegetated roof, oikosteges, or green roof, is one that is either partially or completely covered in vegetation on top of the human-made roofing structure. Living roof or green roof have two main types; intensive and extensive.
- Intensive – This requires more maintenance for it large enabling you to grow vegetable gardens, small shrub and tree. Intensive green roof may require water irrigation and elaborate structural support.
- Extensive – Characterized by low maintenance and shallow soil green roof perfect for small plants. Drought tolerant and weather-hardy plants like sedum, herbs, mosses, grass are best suited in this green roof.
Although there have been issues about its sustainability in Australian weather fluctuations, green roof has now become the trend in Australia. The government along with universities and other companies are now working on program and researches towards the appropriate plant selections and other improvements for the green roof success. The success of this studies will surely a great help on Australia’s campaign in urban green development.
Why make a living roof shed?
Its popularity is not only because of the beauty it brings in the garden but to the environmental rewards as well. Here are the benefits of living roof:
- Improves air quality – Green roof help removes carbon dioxide and pollutant from the air through the plants.
- Attracts wildlife – It will become a place for habitat among local insects, butterflies and birds.
- Clean water - It reduces, slows down and filters rainwater before it gets to the waterways.
- Green space - It adds a green space in the garden to plant .
- Insulation – It had a great insulating properties keeping the temperature inside the shed more constant. It is also acts as a sound proof from the noise outside the shed.
Before You Begin
- Assess and make sure that your roof is able to take the extra weight added by the green roof and the shed itself. If unsure, you may ask your shed dealer or install a sturdier framework. If you don’t have a shed yet but wanted to buy a sturdy and high standard shed check this link: http://www.gardensheds.com.au/garden-sheds/medium-storage-units.html
- Make sure that the roof have no rotting wood, holes and splits.
- You also need to make sure that it is fully waterproof. If not, you will need to install an extra layer.
- Make sure that the roof has a pitch for drainage.
- Consult your local authorities in case there is a need of permits.
Steps on Making a Living Roof
Green roof is composed of different layers. These layers plays a very important roles in the success of your green roof. Here are the step you need to do in making a green roof based on each layers:
Step 1 : Build the Frame
If your roof is weak, all you need to do is install a frame for support using posts and add a sheet of marine ply on the top of the existing roof.
Build the outer frame first then going to the central. Using L- brackets, join the outer side of the structure. Place the frame on the roof and fasten it with metal strap screwed to the frame. If your shed is sloping, divide the into six squares with mini beds to prevent it from slipping down.
Step 2: Root Barrier / Root membrane layer
Inside the frame place a waterproof root barrier to stop the plant roots and water from penetrating the roof. This can be made by butyl pond liner or a thick damp proof membrane. Some people place a different layer of root barrier and then add another waterproof layer.
Step 3: Filter Sheet
Filter sheet helps retain the fin particle of soil while allowing the water through. You can use a weed membrane as a filter sheet which is available in garden centres. Place the filter sheet over the root barrier.
Step 4 : Moisture trap
This layer slows down the drainage of water to help retain the moisture for the plants. Place the fleecy layer like old blanket and towels over the weed membrane — filter sheet. You can always buy in a specialize moisture trap made for green roof in your garden center if you are not on a budget.
Step 5: Drainage and Soil
Put a 4 cm layer of clay pellets, crushed brick, limestone chippings and gravel over the moisture trap layer. This will aid drainage of water. Then you can now add your soil and sharp sand mixture in the frame for about 3 inched deep. Be sure that the mixture is even textured and laid evenly onto the drainage layer.
Step 6: Plants
You can now install your plants. As mentioned earlier a choice of drought tolerant and weather-hardy plants are recommended. Native plant are good options too. Be sure to consult your local government for better plant choices and tips. In Australia, there are green roof companies allied with the government that conducts researches for better plant choices best suited in your area and help with the installation your green roof. Remember that the perfect plant choice is very important in the success of your living roof.
Are you excited on making your own living roof? Then go ahead and make your own living roof now. Not only it provides an aesthetic view, you can also fully enjoy the benefits it provides for you and your community. Tell me about your green roof ideas and experience in the comment box.