Homeowners are making the most of their properties by not only expanding in to the roof spaces but building on to them as well. However, rather than using mortar and bricks, they are using a green fingered approach with the addition of plants, grass and garden features.
These green or ‘living’ roofs are proving popular. Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, acknowledges these vital outside living spaces and encourages more of the capital to have them. Some local authorities around the country also offer a grants process to help owners to convert their roofs.
While the laying of lawns on roofs provides a great green space, the addition of wildlife friendly features, such as plants and bird feeders or tables encourages and supports local wildlife.
We have seen the move of homeowners and associations to these new green spaces. Talking about this rise in popularity, a roofing supplier said ‘We’re working together with homeowners who are wishing to install green roofs, private developers, housing associations and commercial property builders, too. Most want a blanket of grass on the roof that requires minimal maintenance.’
He advises home owners to plan on paying anywhere from £2,000 to £8,000 for an average-sized family house.
We recommend that enthusiasts consider three main points before they undertake a green roof. Firstly ensure the angles and the strength of the roof will be enough to support soil, plants and membranes. On average the typical materials used will weigh about 13 pounds per square foot and the addition of anti-slippage grids in case you have a roof that is more than 20 degrees steeper.
Secondly, drainage needs to be considered as this will prevent any accumulation of rainwater in the soil. When considering the green roof, it has to be designed with a drain and guttering which is not susceptible to clogging by plants or leaves. Finally, the building of a narrow frame and placing it around the edges of the roof will help to prevent the slippage of plants or grass.
Two homeowners in South London who have successfully created their own green roof; Rather than stark concrete they wanted a green roof alternative. One, a restaurant worker said, ‘It was a good investment – we love it. This roof makes a natural, pleasing look while at the same time insulating the heat and working as natural soundproofing.’ On the benefits to the local wildlife he said, ‘It has become home to many types of butterflies, insects and birds. It’s a lovely feature.’
Private Developers have seen a huge amount of interest in their green roof developments, but if you have missed out on the opportunity to go green fingered with your roof then do not be despondent as there will definitely be an abundance of future builds with green roof systems. Whilst there is huge demand for green roofs, there are skeptics such as surveyors who say that green roofs may cause damages to walls of houses through storing rain. Whilst these can be problems, estate agents are predicting that the addition of a green roof garden can add £10,000 to £150,000 to the value of a home.