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Grass gives a lot of pleasure to people, particularly in the summer months but what if you don’t have a garden? Well, if you have access to some sort of roof space the answer is to create your own green, artificial grass terrace. You might be in a top floor apartment with direct access to the roof of the building. Or the roof space of an attached garage or an annexe might be available to you.

Roof gardens are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, our in-house installation team have just installed Lifestyle® City artificial grass on the roof terrace of 4 apartments within a brand new development in the UK. The interesting part about this commission is that it was the architect involved in the design of the apartment complex who suggested to the property developers that they use artificial grass. After all, you can’t use real grass easily on a roof garden. How would you cut it and where would you put the grass clippings?

Artificial grass offers roof garden owners the chance to have their own ‘green’ space with minimal maintenance. As the photograph from the installation shows, artificial grass can make a roof garden an attractive, practical and pleasant area to enjoy.

London

During the height of the summer the streets of London can become unbearably hot and sticky. You long for an ice cream or a cool drink and somewhere shady to sit and catch a breeze. For the lucky residents who have access to a flat roof there is now an alternative solution. More and more home owners are building roof gardens or green roofs to help them live in style during the hot weather.

There are examples from the earlier part of the 20th century. But it was not until the 1960’s that the use of roof gardens began to literally grow upwards. As well as having an amenity value, a roof garden offers environmental benefits – for instance:

  • It can lower the temperature above a building, often substantially. Basically a city can raise the atmospheric temperature by reflecting sunlight – a phenomenon sometimes referred to as ‘the urban heat island effect’. Having a green roof helps counteract this.
  • Insulation – a roof garden can help keep a building cool in summer and warm in winter, so fuel bills are reduced.
  • Wildlife – even on high rise apartment blocks a green garden can provide a stopover for tired birds and attract insects with plants.

If you want to enjoy the lifestyle which comes with a proper roof garden there are 2 choices:

The “Heavyweight” Route
This involves layers of waterproof membrane, constructing drainage channels if needed. And then laying natural turf over the top. Of course, you could venture into hydroponics to try and minimise the weight and there are special soil mixtures available to help. But you are looking at a lot of weight , a lot of installation work and even strengthening the roof.

The “Lightweight” Route
Use planter pots, tubs and bedding to carry your plants and lay artificial grass. This way you will have less maintenance and the whole project will be easier to construct. Not only that, but all the worries about how you compost grass cuttings 10 stories up won’t even cross your mind!

Many city dwellers are already doing this with the likes of Lord Linley setting a headlining example when he had artificial grass installed on the roof garden of his central London residence.

So next time you are trying to catch a breeze in a hot dusty city, look up …. you’ll probably see beautiful roof gardens offering a cool solution to a busy city life.

Seoul

Looking beyond the UK and indeed beyond Europe to countries much further afield. Where hot climates prevail, there has been a significant increase in rooftop garden construction.

Take South Korea for example. In Seoul, building owners can get up to 70% of the cost of creating a roof garden as a subsidy from the local government. They have been promoting ‘green Seoul’ projects since as far back as 2002. Many office workers in the city benefit from this. Opting to take a relaxing break or even hold some of their meetings in the more pleasant surroundings that their building’s roof garden offers.

The therapeutic benefits of roof gardens in Seoul are not restricted to office workers though. Hospital patients are also able to enjoy them, a good example of that being Eunpyeong Hospital in Seoul. They built a rooftop garden on the top of their building for use by its patients. According to a spokesperson for the hospital the garden “can help patients stay in an emotionally comfortable condition and have a positive mind … the green environment is especially helpful for those suffering from depression.”

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