Property in urban settings is incredibly valuable, so maximizing its use is becoming more popular. In urban settings, access to and views of green spaces can be limited. Green roofs offer a solution to this problem while improving the environment and reducing the urban heat island effect. They are also valuable in senior living facilities and hospitals where horizontal expansion is challenged.
Senior Principal Geoff Roehll would categorize green roofs into three types:
Functional: Typically referred to as an extensive green roof, this has a low soil profile with low drought tolerant plants. These could be located on rooftops where there is no public access or limited visibility.
Visible but not Accessible: This type is similar to the above except the green roof is meant to be viewed either from an interior window or adjacent rooftop. A slightly deeper soil profile allows for greater plant diversity, additional plant height, color, and textures.
Accessible: When a rooftop garden is accessible to the user, there’s typically a seating area with site furniture and other amenities like shade structures, outdoor kitchens / BBQ’s, and water features. Soil depth allows for increased plant diversity including small flowering trees and shrubs in addition to other common perennials.
These landscapes offer users places of respite during the work day or a place to plant a garden. Additional benefits of green roofs include reduced energy use by the building, enhanced storm water management, and an improved quality of life for users and for those who have views of the green roof.