10 great plants for a living roof

July 16, 2016 by  
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Rooftops are tough place for plants: they’re vulnerable to intense heat, cold, wind and drought, plus they can’t support a lot of weight, so the plants need to grow in just a few inches of soil (actually, ultra-lightweight soilless growing mediums are typically used). Thus, it’s plants that grow naturally on desert cliffs, alpine crags, and other such inhospitable places that are used for green roofs . Fortunately, these include many truly stunning species—some exquisitely beautiful, others absolutely bizarre and even a few that are edible or otherwise useful. Green roof plants fall into four general categories: Related: Need a Rooftop Farm? Call this Company Succulents These are the mainstays of any green roof and should form the bulk of the planting, unless provisions are made for the roof to support soil deeper than the 3 to 4 inches that is typical. These tiny succulents thrive with virtually no water or soil. They are available in a kaleidoscope of colors, giving a broad palette with which to design your living roof . Sedum spp. Also known as stonecrop , because the succulent foliage resembles smooth, polished stone, sedums are the royalty of living roof plants. There are literally hundreds of varieties, found growing in cliff-side cracks and crannies around the world and were the first species employed in the green roof industry. With so many distinctly colored varieties available, you can paint a beautiful picture on your roof. Sempervivum spp. Called houseleeks (because they were used as a traditional Scandinavian rooftop plant) by some and hen and chicks by others (the mature rosettes “give birth” to tiny replicas of themselves as they spread), sempervivum means “evergreen” in Latin, indicating that your roof will be attractive year-round with this type of succulent. Like sedums, they stay low to the ground and come in many colors. Delosperma spp. are spreading succulents grown for their daisy-like flowers , which bloom throughout the growing season. There are white, yellow, red and purple varieties and most have the habit of changing their shade of color as the flowers fade, creating a monochromatic effect Aenoium arboreum is a variety of houseleek that grows as a tiny tree (usually less than two feet tall) that looks like it would be more at home on Mars than planet Earth. It’s not a spreading ground cover like the other succulents in the list, but it can create a bit of vertical variation in your roof garden. The variety Zwartkop  or Schwartzkopf (black head, in Dutch or German) will create plenty of interest with its color as well—it’s such a deep purple that it’s almost black. Related: How to Make Your Own Green Terrarium Grasses Most grasses would fail on a living roof , unless they were watered constantly in the summer. However, there are a few that have what it takes to withstand the conditions. To be honest, most green roof grasses are not considered as such from a botanical perspective, and are more accurately termed “grass-like plants”. Like the succulents, they are good for covering a lot of territory and create a pleasing contrast when combined with succulents. Many seed themselves, making your rooftop garden a self-replenishing landscape. Armeria maritima is not at all related to what grows in lawns, but the foliage appears as a tidy green clump of grass. In nature, it grows in ocean-side cliffs and dunes (hence the name maritima ), making it well adapted to rooftop conditions—especially those by the sea. It is also called sea thrift and, unlike any grass, it is crowned with pink or purple flowers in summer. Carex nigra is technically considered a sedge and is often used on living roofs, because its roots require less soil than most other grasses, or grass-like, plants. Wildflowers These are used more sparingly and benefit from a bit deeper soil than the other species listed here. This can be accomplished by mounding the planting medium here and there to create little wildflower hummocks. Use them for a taller accent in sporadic locations in your living roof design . Aster alpinus is an aster from alpine regions, meaning it is no stranger to intense weather and thin soil. Nonetheless, it produces brilliant sprays of deeply saturated purple flowers with yellow button centers, which attract hordes of butterflies. Achillea millefolium is commonly known as yarrow; a wildflower that, unlike asters, will spread across the surface of your living roof as a ground cover. This powerful medicinal plant has ferny, aromatic foliage and tall flower stalks capped with broad concave blossoms which make great landing pads for butterflies. Yarrow has the added benefit of tolerating light foot traffic. Related: The Biggest Hospital in North America to Feature a Green Roof with Medicinal Herbs Aromatic Herbs This is where a living roof crosses over to become an herb garden. Many of the most common culinary herbs happen to grow in dry, rocky places, making them ideal candidates for a green roof . The varieties listed here are low-growing, wide-spreading groundcovers; the other key trait for a living rooftop carpet. Thymus vulgaris is the standard garden variety of thyme that creeps along just a few inches tall and, like yarrow, can tolerate being walked upon.  It makes a luxurious aromatherapy bed for rooftop sunbathing and, of course, can be harvested on demand for the kitchen. Origanum vulgare is common oregano . Like thyme, it is native to the rocky hills of the Mediterranean basin and it can bring that special flavor to your rooftop if you choose to plant it. It’s also a ground cover, growing 4 to 6 inches tall. All images via Shutterstock  

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INTERVIEW: With Bridgette Meinhold, Author of ‘Urgent Architecture’

March 27, 2016 by  
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When Inhabitat design writer ,  Bridgette Meinhold , heard about the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and the massive devastation it caused, she wanted to help, and was drawn to start investigating different options for temporary shelters and disaster relief housing. This exploration gradually broadened to a larger focus on design for disaster-preparedness ; seeking out what type of shelters can best withstand earthquakes, hurricanes, rising sea levels and tornados. Now I’m thrilled to say that after years of research, Bridgette has just published an incredible new book entitled Urgent Architecture: 40 Sustainable Housing Solutions for a Changing World . Urgent Architecture showcases inspiring and innovative ideas for resilient design – design that will withstand the test of time – surviving climate change, rising sea levels, manmade and natural disasters . I recently had a chance to interview Bridgette about her new book at Inhabitat HQ in NYC , and she gave me some fascinating insight into her inspiration for the book, the impact  climate change  will have on future housing and what she believes is necessary to create a more sustainable and responsive built landscape. Watch the video above for the interview, and if you want to learn more, you can get your own copy of Urgent Architecture here . A full transcript of the interview with pics is available after the jump. Read the rest of INTERVIEW: With Bridgette Meinhold, Author of ‘Urgent Architecture’

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Japanese studio Sandwich wraps a passive solar home in diagonal wood offcuts

November 27, 2015 by  
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Andrew Michler’s ‘[ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture’ explores how sustainable architecture engages with its environment

October 26, 2015 by  
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What is the relationship between a building and its location, and what should that relationship be? Inhabitat writer , passive house consultant and author Andrew Michler  tackles that question with his new book: [ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture: Contemporary Sustainable Archetypes . In the past, a building was imposed on the landscape, on it but not a part of it. Today, innovative architecture weaves into its environment and the people who live in it. In his book, Michler speaks with renowned architects to better understand this hyperlocalized architecture and how it is influencing today’s most forward-thinking, sustainable designs. + [ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture

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I Love Mud Builds a Spooky Halloweeny Bubble Hut With All Natural and Recycled Materials

October 13, 2015 by  
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A swirling green roof tops the gorgeous Nanyang Technical University in Singapore

April 6, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of A swirling green roof tops the gorgeous Nanyang Technical University in Singapore Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Art , art school , CPG Consultants , Design , Eco Architecture , eco design , glass facade , green architecture , green design , green roof , green roof building , green roofs , green-roofed art school , Media , Nanyang , Nanyang Technological University , natural landscaping , planted roof , Singapore , Singapore green roof , sustainable design

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A swirling green roof tops the gorgeous Nanyang Technical University in Singapore

Hivernacle: Barcelona’s luscious hidden garden center is a renovated wonderland

April 3, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Hivernacle: Barcelona’s luscious hidden garden center is a renovated wonderland Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Barcelona , Barcelona garden center , Barcelona Hivernacle , Eco Architecture , garden center , Gardening , green design , green renovation , hanging plants , hivernacle , planters | , plants , Urban design , urban garden

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Hager Partner and nps tchoban voss collaborate to design a green-roofed rec center near Berlin

March 25, 2015 by  
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The city swimming baths at Nauen, a town just west of Berlin, will be transformed by a new green-roofed entrance building and recreation park designed by nps tchoban voss  in collaboration with Landscape Architects Hager Partner . The prize-winning design comprised of two flowing structures joined by an insulated living roof will update the old baths and allow year-round use of the site. Keep reading after the jump to check out the plans. Read the rest of Hager Partner and nps tchoban voss collaborate to design a green-roofed rec center near Berlin Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , Architecture , berlin , Eco Architecture , german architecture , german green building , germany , Green Building , green design , green roof , green roof germany , hager partner , new berlin architecture , nps tchoban voss , public swimming pool germany , swimming pool architecture

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Hager Partner and nps tchoban voss collaborate to design a green-roofed rec center near Berlin

BOOK REVIEW: Bridgette Meinhold’s Urgent Architecture Showcases 40 Sustainable Housing Solutions for a Changing World

September 2, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of BOOK REVIEW: Bridgette Meinhold’s Urgent Architecture Showcases 40 Sustainable Housing Solutions for a Changing World Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , adaptable housing , book review , bridgette meinhold , disaster housing , Eco Architecture , eco design , green architecture , green books , green design , inhabitat book review , Prefab Housing , sustainable design , urgent architecture

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PHOTOS: Incredible Swirling Green Roof Tops Nanyang Technical University’s School of Design

August 23, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of PHOTOS: Incredible Swirling Green Roof Tops Nanyang Technical University’s School of Design Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: CPG Consultants , Eco Architecture , eco design , glass facade , green architecture , green design , green roof , green roofed school , green roofs , Media , nanyang green roof , Nanyang Technological University , natural landscaping , planted roof , Singapore , singapore architecture , singapore green buildings , sustainable design

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