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The roofs of buildings are called the fifth facade. For us landscape designers, it is even more interesting than the other four because gardens can be created here. Today rooftop greening is especially important in cities that are suffocated by concrete and asphalt, and where there is always a lack of space. Rooftop gardens provide extra living space. However, roof gardens were invented today. Long before the new chronology, the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built, which they called one of the wonders of the world. In Scandinavia and Russia, the roofs of houses have long been covered with turf. It was the cheapest and most affordable material. Later, decorative roof gardens appeared, for example, the hanging garden in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.
Roof gardens are very popular in Europe. There are also examples of such gardens in our country. However, we do not always pay attention to them, even passing by, even being directly in this garden. The fact is that modern architecture and construction use space not only above the surface of the earth, but also below it. Therefore, the roof of such underground buildings is at ground level. Let us recall, for example, Manezhnaya Square in Moscow - this is nothing more than a roof garden. There are several floors of the building under paths, flower beds, fountains, lawns. Another example is the World Trade Center. Under the territory, which seems to us to be an ordinary courtyard, there is a multi-level underground garage. There are, of course, private roof gardens adjacent to luxury apartments. Our climate is not a hindrance for greening roofs, and there are many such gardens in Finland and Canada.
In addition to aesthetic appeal and environmental properties, green roofs also improve the thermal insulation and sound insulation of the building, and also extend its service life. It has been noticed that roof gardens have a positive effect on people. If a hospital has a roof garden, patients recover faster, if at school, children learn better, if in stores, visitors make more purchases, and apartments with a roof garden or simply with the ability to create such a garden are much more expensive.
Modern technologies make it possible to create gardens on almost any roof. In Russia, the German company "ZinCo" is widely represented, which has been producing materials for greening roofs since the 70s and is now present in almost all countries of the world. Among ZinCo products you can find every little thing for any situation. In the practice of greening roofs, various technologies are used, but in each case, in order to work well and lastingly, it is necessary to use a system: waterproofing, anti-root protection, drainage, irrigation.
At the ZinCo office in Stuttgart, there is a pond in the roof garden where a duck flies in every year and even brings ducklings there. This bird seems to be telling us that roof gardens are the same full-fledged gardens as on earth, because even she does not see the difference between them.
All rooftop landscaping is divided into two large groups: extensive and intensive (there are, of course, intermediate options). With extensive gardening, a carpet of lawn grasses or low-growing perennials is created on the roof, little soil and maintenance are required. Such landscaping is usually done on unexploited roofs, on pitched roofs. Various types and varieties of stonecrops are often used for extensive landscaping. These plants grow rapidly and give a solid carpet in the second year. In our private gardens, it is good to create such roofs on gazebos, utility blocks, small garden houses. It is better if the roof is pitched, then the green roof will be visible from below. Intensive greening of roofs is the creation of a full-fledged garden with paths, ponds, flower beds, trees. Such gardens are used in the same way as ordinary ones - for relaxation, contemplation, games,outdoor activities. They are usually created in cities where there is not enough space for greenery.
Building a roof garden is not an easy task, especially if you don't have a similar experience. It is necessary to provide for a lot, select the necessary materials, choose and plant the right plants and know many specific subtleties. Therefore, in order to avoid serious mistakes, to make a garden once and for life, you need to turn to specialists.
When creating projects for gardens, I always remember about the three main tasks that a designer faces: the garden should be beautiful, comfortable, and durable. Rooftop gardens are no exception. On the contrary, their design should be taken especially seriously. Usually, the area of roof gardens is small, and there are many different elements and garden areas to be arranged. It is necessary that the garden be convenient to use and it is desirable to take care of it a little. The assortment of plants differs from the "ground" one, because at height and with a small amount of soil, not all species will feel good. When designing, it is imperative to provide for an automatic drip irrigation system.
1. Roof garden in the residential complex "Triumph Palace" with an area of about 200 sq.m.
You can get to the roof from the apartment, passing through the winter garden. I wanted the roof garden to be like an extra outdoor room where the owners can relax, set the table for their family, or spend time with a group of friends. Unfortunately, the city architect-official did not allow us to build a gazebo or pergola because it would be visible from behind the fences (height 160 cm).
In the garden, the central part is covered with boards (larch), and a raised terrace is located along the perimeter (height from the floor 40 cm). The edge of this terrace is a bench, you can sit on it anywhere. Plants are planted on the terrace. Shrubs and herbaceous are used. Special attention is paid to aromatic plants. All plants for winter hardiness belong to zone 4 and below. There is a separate smoking area, a wall fountain and a barbecue.
This garden is very convenient for a city apartment. It does not require special care, it is always clean here, you can walk in slippers or barefoot. The garden can accommodate a large number of people, set tables, arrange dances.
2. Roof garden in a cottage village near Moscow with an area of about 150 sq.m.
The roof has a non-standard shape. The main exit to it is from the master bedroom on the second floor, and you can also climb down the stairs. One side of the roof is adjacent to the house, the other is located along the street, and the rounded part faces the garden. From the street we cover our roof garden with wooden trellises, which on the far side pass into a pergola. This is the most secluded place. In the center of the garden there is a solarium, which is very well turned towards the sun. At the very exit from the bedroom there is a small closed corner with benches. The roof garden is accessed by a comfortable stone path. The venues are decorated with large terracotta pots filled with annuals and herbs.
The entire roof surface, not occupied by paths and platforms, is given for planting. There are shrubs, vines and herbaceous plants, selected according to the principle of continuous flowering. The garden remains beautiful throughout the season and is constantly changing.
Roof gardens are a transitional zone from interior to exterior. In terms of the cost of implementation, they also occupy an intermediate position between ordinary gardens and interior work. A square meter will cost 500-700 euros, including materials, work, transport costs, warranty. Maintenance of the garden will require additional costs for fertilizers, plant protection products and for the gardener.