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LemonDrop Addition Update: State of the Green Roof

April 4, 2011

A recent article entitled “It’s Easy Being Green: Plant the Roof” describes some of the benefits of green roofs. While it can be tricky to add a green roof to an existing house, a structural analysis can be done to determine if the roof structure can handle the extra weight. Plants and water-saturated soil can be quite heavy. It is easily done with a new roof structure, and often can be retrofitted on all types of roofs. There is a good list of the benefits of green roofs at the International Green Roof Association website.

After a long, soggy winter I went to check on the green roof on the LemonDrop Addition this morning.

Many of the plants are still in their cold weather dormant state, but I can start to see signs of the spring awakening. This will be the second summer growing season, and I expect to see the roof mostly covered by the fall. After a year of establishing a root system, the plants should be ready to spread. There were very few weeds and I will plan to add some mulch in the next month or so. Maybe some wildflowers as well for a little punch of color.

Here is a photo from the installation of the green roof in October 2009 for the sake of comparison.  I did not include many grasses in the landscaping plan, as I have heard from many green roof owners that grasses will grow quickly and can take over and choke out other plants, so I am hoping to see the sedums, lavender, strawberries, thymes, and kinnick-kinnick get well established this year.

The delicate pink kinnick-kinnick blossoms and the yellow-green and orange sedums are my favorites.

There are lots of good reasons to build a green roof — increased insulation, good stormwater management, reducing urban heat island effect, providing natural habitat, improved acoustic privacy, longer roof life, and more — but I have to admit that we chose to do a green roof in large part because it is beautiful and fun. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about green roofs. There is a lot to know and many options for greening your roof.

See related pages for more information:
Revitalizing Your Existing Home Instead of Building a New Green Home
Houses Are For Living: Casual Green Modern
Design Principles
Green is a Verb
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