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Construction Design Ecology Encouraging wildlife and nature Green roofs

New green roof in Dulwich

Alex standing in front of the finished roof, looking smug.

I put together another roof in Dulwich recently and thought I would share a few pictures and details.

This one started out with a visit to the clients to have a look at the roof. They had initially asked about a sedum roof and possibly even a cartridge system so I hadn’t been that keen. However when we met they were open to a more interesting type of green roof with a wider range of plants and a roof that develops over time.

We also looked at the skylights in the roof and decided that it would be better to build the roof with something more adaptable than the tray system. We settled on an expanded clay pebble drainage layer that flowed around the obstacles with some gravel borders and the usual Shire Green Roof Substrate for the plants.

Tania planting the roof

I got an excellent selection of plants from Rotherview Nursery near the south coast.

They have a wide range of green roof plants and have been really quick to deliver, the plants including sedum reflexum gold, campanula pusilla, Erigeron, saxifraga scenic red, sedum schoebusser blut, sempervivums, thymus minimus, stops pony tails, armeria splendens, chaenorrhinum, erosion flore pleno, frankaenia thymifolia, and sedum pachyclados. I also added in a selection of alium and armeria bulbs, the client will be putting in crocus bulbs come the autumn. Finally we topped it off with a selection of wild flower seeds including Field Poppy, Red Campion, Black Meddick, Common Knapweed, Ox-eye daisy, Ribwort Plantain, Yarrow, Lady’s Bedstraw, Bulbous Buttercup, Cowslip, Salad Burnet Grasses: Browntop Bent, Strong Creeping Red Fescue, Crested Dogstail, Meadow Fescue, Sheeps Fescue. Hopefully most if not all of them will find a space that suits them on the roof. I expect all the plants to develop and grow over the next few years finding their place on the roof. Not all of them will find that and not all of them will thrive every year but we should get a great selection finding their place.

bench made from pallets

Finally I made a bench from the pallets left behind by the delivery of the substrates and soils.

After we built the roof I was left with a couple of pallets and some wood I used to create straight lines on the gravel. After a bit of online research I found a design for this bench and we need some garden furniture so I spent last weekend putting this together. A bit cold to sit outside at the moment but I think it will come in useful later in the year.

For more details and to get a quote for your roof send me a message.

Categories
Ecology Ecoretrofit Encouraging wildlife and nature Green roofs

Thriving green roof in Welwyn Garden City

This green roof on an extension in Welwyn Garden City is nearly 10 years old and has been thriving. This was the first green roof I made so I was a little cautious about the loading, the middle are is sedum on a foam drainage mat with very little soil. The edges have more soil and substrate so they are able to support wildflowers, grasses and self seeded local plants. Nowadays I would add a lot more substrate but it is still going strong and the recent rain and sunshine combination has got it growing beautifully.

The sedums are quite persistent and even managed to self seed and create a little patch of growth on the gravel driveway which looks great and offsets the potted plants.

This one was retrofitted which encourages caution, you don’t want the roof to fall down but you can find a combination of plants and sedums that will work on almost any flat or gently sloping roof. Even better if you are building a new extension you can specify the roof to take any depth of soil you want for a really fabulous roof with the plants of your dreams. Drop me a line if you want to know more alex@ecoalex.com

Categories
Ecology Green roofs Projects Uncategorized Using less water

Marlow roof update

Some gorgeous pictures from the roof I built in Marlow last year including some priapic sedums!

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Ecology Encouraging wildlife and nature Green roofs Projects sustainability

‘Spectacular’ green roof in Dulwich

I built this one last week on a garden office in Dulwich. I don’t do so many sedum roofs but this did come up looking really nice and is instantly green.

The roof build up was using the Optigreen lightweight roof system. A protection fleece over the waterproofing, drainage layer, lightweight substrate and pregrown sedum on top. This was ideal for this garden office and really helped it blend in to the trees and plants at the bottom of the garden. The roof will drain into a gutter when complete (not that there will be a lot of runoff). I used aluminium edge trim all the way round to give it a nice defined edge.

The substrate was incredibly dry when it arrived, I initially thought it was just sand! This made it really easy to get up on to the roof, the bags weighed even less than usual. Luckily it has had a good soaking with the rain since to get it nice and wet.

Getting the sedum up on the roof was a little trickier, we left it out overnight and the client enthuisiastically watered it making it very heavy. After struggling with a couple of rolls I realised it was better to cut the mats in half to make them easier to handle.

Once it was all up it looked really good. I spoke to the client again the week after to check on it and he said ‘It looks absolutely stunning. The wife and my nearest neighbours really like it – so a big thankyou. I have been diligently watering it and it is looking good. Many thanks‘ very pleased with the feedback.

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Construction Ecology Ecoretrofit Encouraging wildlife and nature Green roofs Uncategorized

SYdenham hill green roof

This is a small green roof on a modern house in Sydenham Hill. It uses white painted railway sleepers for a frame to match the fascia boards on the house and I think fits in very well.

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Ecology Ecoretrofit Encouraging wildlife and nature Green roofs Using less water

Highgate green roof

A 2 section green roof installed in Highgate as part of an Eco retrofit being carried out at the property. We incorporated reclaimed york stone paving slabs to create a path which was lined with lemon thyme that should grow over it and release a fragrance when trodden on. Some of the existing planters were retained and we used lots of grasses and some saffron crocuses.

Categories
Ecology Ecoretrofit Encouraging wildlife and nature Green roofs Projects

Gabions and cyclamen, a new green roof in Herne Hill

It’s taken a little while to share this new green roof I built in Herne Hill recently.

There were a number of challenges here particularly the height of the roof with no edge protection, we used a harness to install the edges.

The edges were built using gabion cages filled with cobbles. This created a more natural edge and ensured the stones didn’t roll off the edge of the roof and shatter the tiles below, I think they look pretty cool.

I used aerated clay pebbles for the drainage layer again, really like these rather than the plastic sheets and carrying a bag makes you feel really strong as they are so lightweight. We then put in a protective membrane and covered with ultra lightweight green roof substrate from Shire Substrates.

The roof has been seeded with a mixture of wildflowers and grasses with more to be added in the spring. In the meantime I put in some grasses, sedums and also Cyclamen. I wasn’t really sure about the cyclamen but not much else is flowering this time of year a month later and they seem to have settled in well.

I will add further updates in the spring. There are lots of bulbs in there which should appear soon.

Categories
Construction Design Ecology Ecoretrofit Encouraging wildlife and nature Green roofs Using less water

Low impact green roof in Marlow

Lots of green roofs going in recently and I need to spend more time documenting them. This one in Marlow on a garage was a new design that I am quite pleased with.

I have been working for a while to reduce further the plastics going into a green roof. I used to work with SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems) a lot in the past and one thing I always noticed was the number of pipe manufacturers trying to shoehorn more plastic into natural drainage systems. Roofs obviously need to be waterproof so I can’t change that bit and we need something to protect it from sharp objects etc. Then comes the drainage layer which is lots of plastic sheets, this is important to hold a bit of moisture but also to makes sure it drains effectively. So drainage is important for weight but maybe we can make it of something else. For this roof we used aerated clay balls wrapped in a filter sheet that is held in place with some extra large cobbles. So the plastic is at a minimum.

The cobbles add a really nice touch to the edge of the roof and enhance the appearance considerably especially on a roof like this where there is no parapet. The soil is also held in place by the cobbles and I guess some of it may wash between them but not off the edge of the roof.

The roof has been planted with about 15 different plants, some sedum and ornamental, seeded with 30 different wildflowers and also bulbs planted to come up later in the year. I am monitoring progress and plan to pick up some crocus bulbs in autumn to plant.

Finished roof

If you like the look of this, drop me a line or give me a call 020 8133 0190 and I can see what we can do for you.

Categories
Construction Design Ecology Ecoretrofit Encouraging wildlife and nature Green roofs Projects

Extension in Kennington with green roof

I went to visit an extension in Kennington which has the biggest domestic green roof I have built. There are some very big skylights so it isn’t all green but it looks great. This first picture shows the rear extension with some rather fine timber cladding, you can see the plants poking over the top of the coping stones:

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The combination of rain and sunshine we have seen this summer has been really good for the plants, even if people haven’t been so happy. I missed the peak flowering of this roof but there were still plenty in bloom on Monday. The clients daughter has a bedroom window looking out onto the roof and has been enjoying the developing scene.

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The skylights really bring light into the house and the kitchen looks even bigger than the space the extension added on. You can see some of the plants waving in the breeze around the sides when you are having dinner.

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Categories
Ecology Ecoretrofit Encouraging wildlife and nature Green roofs Using less water

Nine months in and this green roof has been thriving

I went to see the roof I built in Kennington last month and took some photos I thought I would share. I wrote about this one last year showing the build up process to a green roof. I was particularly pleased that the insulation we put on as an added extra has made a real difference to the householders, the side return was previously a no-go area in the cold winter months but has now become habitable with the added warmth.

Anyway here are a few photos to illustrate how well the roof has been growing over the last nine months:

The flowers are growing well including the grape hyacinth
The flowers are growing well

A really good selection of wildflowers has sprung up
A really good selection of wildflowers has sprung up

Maybe I should have made the middle access a little narrower
Maybe I should have made the middle access a little narrower

Overall I am delighted with the roof and the clients are really pleased too. The roof has already developed really well and should develop further over the next few years. The roof should reach maturity after three years but different plants will dominate in different years and seasons.

If you want your own green roof give me a ring on 020 8133 0190 or drop me an email alex@ecoalex.com