Friday, March 27, 2009

More About Dry Stacking and New York Rooftop Gardening

More About Dry Stacking:

These next pictures come from fellow bloggers Becky and Ed - I think seeing more on drystack construction might help get some of your imaginations going.

When forming the corners of a dry stack construction wall, they should be woven together. Use small, thin rocks as shims lodged between larger stones to fill gaps that develop. By splitting the stone at 90 degrees, a clean corner can be achieved.

Fabulous Rooftop Garden:

Garden enthusiast, Brian Dube shot these great pictures at Rockefeller Center, and I thought they are a great example of the grandeur of rooftop landscape design. For just 4 hours, as part of OHNY (Open House New York), the rooftop garden atop the British Empire Building at Rockefeller Center was open to the public.

This private garden is rarely accessible and a detailed online search returns very little information about it. According to the Rockefeller Center website: "Originally, the architects envisioned an even more elaborate network of roof gardens to be connected by aerial pedestrian bridges, which they compared to the hanging gardens of ancient Babylon."

At this point in time, the garden primarily functions as eye candy to those in buildings nearby who are fortunate enough to have views of the hedges, wildflowers, fountains, lawns, pools and beautiful walkways. The rooftop overlooks Fifth Ave., St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, so of course the views are spectacular!

Since I want to continue writing about Green Roofs, I want to share more about what they are and the two kinds: Intensive and Extensive.

Extensive Green Roofs:

Extensive green roofs, or roof meadows, are lighter weight, less expensive, and require less maintenance than intensive systems.

Plants for extensive green roofs require only a few inches of growing medium (2.5 to 6 inches) and little additional irrigation beyond rain. They require minimal maintenance - checking roof drains, scanning for invasive weeds or seedlings - about the same level of attention required by a conventional roof. Typically, roof meadows are composed of plants like sedums, grasses, and wildflowers - plants that can thrive in a rooftop environment with limited water, shallow roots, and sparse nutrients.

A citywide infrastructure of green roofs will likely be composed primarily of roof meadows; they are more feasible for a large number of existing and new buildings in the city since they are less likely to require structural enhancement of the underlying roof.
Intensive Green Roofs:

Intensive green roofs, which can be utilized as real roof gardens, are heavier, more costly, and demand more maintenance than their extensive counterparts.

Intensive roofs generally require an underlying roof structure with high load bearing capacity, in order to support the weight of deeper growing medium and larger plants. With a growing medium depth of 8" or more, intensive roofs can accommodate a wide range of vegetables, shrubs, and sometimes even trees. Intensive roofs will generally require regular care, particularly irrigation - though this will depend on plant selection.

Before beginning any green roof project, it is essential to consult with the proper building and design professionals.

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