Why You Need A Landscape Architect For Your Green Roof

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Building a green roof is a complicated construction project with elements outside the scope of expertise of a general contractor. A landscape architect has the special education and experience needed to tackle all aspects of the job.

Structural Issues

Green roofs are heavy. They involve adding growing trays, a substantial layer of growing medium, plant material and the water in the growing medium to your roof. A landscape architect must determine if your existing structure has the load capacity to support the weight of these materials. Your roof may need additional support built in, and (s) he can work with a structural engineer to ensure that your new green roof doesn't collapse or cause damage to the exterior walls of your home.

Electrical and Water Supply Issues

Depending on the structure of your existing roof and how your house is wired and plumbed, the landscape architect may determine that wires and pipes need to be moved or protected. If your green roof will be irrigated, there are extra considerations such as additional waterproofing. He will work with the electrical and plumbing subcontractors to see that everything is in its proper place and working as needed.

Issues With Slope

The slope of your green roof is important structurally, because it has to be built and anchored so that it doesn't slide off. The slope also determines what kind of drainage and growing media will be used. It also factors into the consideration of which plants will thrive on your roof. For example, a steeply sloped roof is not a good place to grow plants that like wet roots, because the water will drain away too quickly. These are all specialized calculations that a landscape architect is trained and licensed to perform.

Plant Materials

Which plant materials are suitable for your green roof depends on a number of factors, such as

  • the depth of the planting trays
  • the recommended growing medium
  • the geographical orientation of the roof, i.e. north or south facing
  • the sunlight or shade conditions
  • climate conditions
  • whether it is irrigated or non-irrigated

A landscape architect has the knowledge to put all these elements together and choose plant life that will thrive and make your green roof not only beautiful but eco-friendly.

Roof Access

Someone will have to maintain the roof and the plant life. A landscape architect knows how to add access into the design so that it doesn't detract from the overall aesthetic.

A landscape architect is involved in every aspect of the building of your green roof, from the design to construction to implementation. He has specialized knowledge and experience that ensure the roof is safe and that the plant life thrives. If you want to learn more about green roofs, contact a trusted local landscape architect to get all the details.