Environmental support picked up unmistakable quality in the second half of the twentieth century, as a result of the acknowledgment of the restricted assets and the substantial dependence of the human people on it. Biological Planning and Design, more than being a different element and calling in itself, is a disciplinary realignment, where the structure as an essential metropolitan square is supplanted via scene and environment. The very basic components of the building form, the roof and the wall, have been realigned and imagined as green membranes contributing to the larger ecosystem. Let us have a look at ten things to remember when designing rooftop gardens.

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Roof garden_© 2020 Greenroofs.com, LLC.

1. Make it purposeful | Designing a rooftop garden

While aesthetics plays the primary role in people opting for designing a rooftop garden, the fact that it serves more purposes than one is appreciable. As outdoor green enclaves in the concretized city spaces, they serve as spaces for relaxation and private oasis. But sensitive consideration and appropriation would serve larger functions, as is the case when they are used as kitchen gardens, or community rooftop gardens for benefit of larger communities. one must always strive to find a purpose that the act of greening roof may serve beyond the ordinary.

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2. Pre-decide: Extensive, or Intensive.

The size-strength of your roof and the level of engagement and maintenance one is willing to invest will determine whether you build an extensive or intensive roof garden. An extensive green rooftop is lightweight and intended to help just a shallow layer of vegetation and soil (close to 20cm). It is most appropriate to spaces where individuals are only occasionally going to stroll on the outside of the rooftop and is generally weight low. An intensive-concentrated green rooftop gardens then again is a significantly more generous issue, with the underlying scaffolding to oblige a more profound nursery plot, a more noteworthy assortment of plants, a water system framework, and even some furniture things found in a customary lawn, for example, a grill and open-air furniture.

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3. Be Context-specific | Designing a rooftop garden

No design functions well if it is not rooted in its context and place. Similar is the idea of roof gardens. The degree of public and private in specific cultures, as well as the climate, has to be considered well before the design of these as additive elements in the building framework. 

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4. Orientation

Sun direction-movement and wind patterns should be prim determinants of rooftop gardens’ location, and orientation would determine the subsequent utilization of the space by users. South and west light-receiving roof gardens might not be suitable for leisure spaces, but in specific contexts yield better productivity as urban farms. Capturing north light for a pleasant outdoor green oasis should remain a priority when designing leisure and outdoor green spaces. 

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5. Make it Living Roofs – rather than just plotted plants | Designing a rooftop garden

While plotted plants and roof gardens can serve as additional outdoor rooms, their purposefulness is rather limited. By contrast, Green rooftops as living membranes improve and diminish energy utilization and decrease warming by adding mass and warm opposition esteem, additionally diminishing the heat island by expanding evapotranspiration. A green rooftop broadens the life of a rooftop by shielding it from the external components. Significant urban communities can profit by living on rooftops to battle the warmth they make, called heat islands.

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6. Structural Integrity

The strength and integrity of the structure on which the roof garden is envisaged have to be prime consideration before initiating any work. The structure and weight of a rooftop garden can mess up the general structure. Soil and planting pots are both hefty – regardless of whether you make a dirt planting bed in your roof garden or use pots, you are altogether adding to the weight set on the rooftop structure. Yard chunks and furniture further add to the weight on the rooftop. Most structure rooftops will require legitimate support before a roof garden can be developed securely.

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Structural Integrity_©www.architizer.com
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Structural Integrity_©www.architizer.com

7. The slope of the Roof

While designing rooftop gardens, the slope of the roof plays a very important role, where 1:12 pitch helps in the natural drainage and reduces water pooling in locations. But when looking at sloped roofs as green roofs, adequate moisture for plant growth becomes an issue beyond 25-30 degrees pitch. If due consideration is not given to the slope direction, the suitability of the plant growth would be questionable and make the project a failure.

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8. Don’t forget the technicalities

While looking at the design and aesthetics, one must never forget the associated technicalities when designing roof gardens. As retrofits to old structures, or even newer developments the waterproofing layers, soil types, irrigation networks must be given due consideration and expert advice should be adhered to, for a better experience and long-lasting roofs. It is in the details, wherein lies the longevity of the installation.

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9. Shading and Design Elements

Whether as decorative elements or serving functional requirements, shading design elements play an important plan in roof garden design. It determines one’s use of the space while allowing the designer to creatively express the user’s personalization. In the hot climate of Ahmedabad, they serve as sun breakers, and in Kerala as rain shelters on the rooftop gardens, specificity of context and personal needs allow for design expressions.

Shading Elements_©2020. All rights reserved.

10. Choose native flora species | Designing a rooftop garden

No matter how exotic and aesthetic does a user and designer want the roof garden to be, it is imperative to adhere to native species of flora. As additive extensions an option of greens in the city space, the roof gardens serve a larger purpose than that of mere aesthetics. Native flora will attract a variety of fauna species, increasing the overall biodiversity index of the city.

Roof Gardens ©Copyright 2020 GBCI

Shiza Christie is a Masters in Urban Design student at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. She is an observer of the phenomenon of time and forever enchanted by the power of words. These days she spends her time deliberating on urban complexities, its constituents and place making.