Yes. While green roof gardens typically require much more maintenance and more thorough planning than a grassy green roof, it can be done. Garden-like green roofs are generally known as “intensive” green roofs, while grassy coverings are usually called “extensive.” The main difference between the two is that extensive green roofs are more hardy, so they don’t need as much maintenance, and have shallower roots, so they’re lighter and less likely to cause structural problems for the building. Before embarking on any green roof project, it’s important to know the structural limitations of your building. In other words, make sure your roof can support the garden you’re planning.
At Wayne State University, there’s a project being undertaken on the top of one of the parking structures. A group of faculty members and students are experimenting with growing crops in raised beds there. It’s been a bit of a struggle to figure out exactly how much water is needed to compensate for the great sun exposure, but it’s been a worthwhile endeavor. Rather than re-constructing the entire roof to make it a green roof, this demonstrates that garden items can be implemented in roof-top areas that have other functions, like storing cars.
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