Traditional residential roofs have long been made out of wood, clay, asphalt, slate, tile, and various metals. If you need a new residential roof, you could consider putting in an ecological, self-sustaining green roof. Current climate changes in many parts of the world are now making a growing green roof a wise choice for residential homeowners because it can insulate a home in winter and shade it in summer.
Depending on location, residential roofs can be exposed to a fair amount of sun, wind, and other weather phenomena. If you install a green roof on your residence, you can take advantage of those weather conditions to grow and maintain living plants and grasses. Green roofs are basically self-sustaining and require no additional watering. However, if you wish to have the flexibility to manually water your green roof, you can add a fairly simple drip irrigation system that starts at the roof ridge and drains down to your roof gutters. Here are some readily available green plants that can tolerate many weather conditions and changes and grow well in shallow depths of soil on a residential green roof:
Plants That Grow Well in 3" of Soil on a Roof:
- Hardy Yellow Ice Plant (Delosperma Nubigenum) - This is a fairly compact evergreen ground cover that grows to 2" in height and spreads out laterally to a distance of 36" or more. When it blooms, this plant has yellow, white, and/or red flowers. Ice plant is easy to grow and prefers a dry growing medium.
- Golden Carpet Stonecrop (Sedum Acre Diploid) - This hardy evergreen ground cover is sometimes called donkey tail. This plant has long thick green finger-like leaves that turn rosy pink in the summer. It has bright yellow, red, or purple star-shaped flowers and prefers full sun and well-drained to dry soil.
- White Stonecrop (Sedum album Athoum) - This succulent grows in plump green stalks of thick leaves that spread out and not up. Its leaves change color from green to red to purple in the heat of summer. This plant prefers a light, well-drained soil and is very attractive to butterflies.
Plants That Grow Well in 5" of Soil on a Roof:
- Wild Chives (Allium Schoenoprasum) - This perennial herb grows from a bulb to a height between 12" to 20" tall. It has purple flowers that grow in a starburst shape. Chives are naturally insect-resistant but attract bees and butterflies when they flower from April to June.
- Bearskin Fescue (Festuca Gautieri) - The color of this species of evergreen grass varies from bright green to blue. It grows in spiky domes that cluster together and blooms with yellow and green blossoms from May through June.
Plants That Grow Well in 7" of Soil on a Roof:
- Sky Blue Aster (Aster Oolentangiensis) - This drought-tolerant plant blooms in late summer and early fall with blue and violet flowers with yellow centers. It seldom grows more than 24" to 36" inches tall. Sky Blue Aster can add height to your roof with its hardy growth.
- Hoary Vervain (Verbena Stricta) - This perennial plant grows to a height of 36" to 40" with light green stems and leaves covered with long white hairs. It blooms in late summer for about 2 months with pink or lavender flowers on long spikes. Vervain can also add height to sections of your roof wherever it is planted.
Green roofs can successfully host a vast number of grasses and flowering plants in many different longitudes and latitudes. Aside from a green roof's insulating and shading capabilities, they are highly attractive on the sloping roofs of residential homes. Consider installing a growing green roof on all or part of your residential roof to save on heating and cooling expenses and add interest and beauty to your home. Contact a company like Alpen Roofing for more information.