Root Terrace Planting
Up on London's rooftops, where abundant sun, ample drainage and specialised growing media enable diverse cultivation of plant species, we continually conceive, explore and sustain thriving flora habitats – appositely enhancing urban biodiversity. The countless categories of modern roof terraces present a broad-based spectrum of conditions, uses and styles, where planting designs for such varied environments articulate affinity with both nature and architecture, while enhancing homeliness and socialising within contemporary urban living. These secret hideaways not only produce liveable, compelling and durable outdoor spaces for our clients, but also, rather decisively, for native wildlife – pricelessly providing clean air, tranquillity and well-being.
Design & Words: Amir Schlezinger
rooftop planting design
Undoubtedly, some of the most fundamental aspects of horticultural cultivation are inherently imperfect across many roof terrace planting structures, where the sheer absence of leaf mould, natural mulching, groundwater nutrients, sufficient topsoil depth, subsurface anchorage, annelids and wildlife accessibility, with their biotic interactions, may seem somewhat disheartening. Contrastingly, the planting frameworks we devise across roof terrace gardens encompass well-adapted, sound methods which refine ergonomics, maintainability, water availability, layout flexibility, compost diversification and advantageous drainage to define wholly gardenable, bona-fide eco-friendly environments.
Heterogeneity in culture, style and usage entails diversity in planting, and roof gardens are places where we express some of the broadest articulations of modern horticulture within the comprehensiveness of multidisciplinary landscape professions. Whether paired intuitively, or a priori, distinct floras evoke familiar natural habitats, sceneries and ambiences – forming dynamic synergies in palpable ecologies. Native species fulfil pivotal roles in balancing every planting scheme, though while in Britain we're quite scarce in alpine and coastal floras, which are adaptable to roof terrace microclimates, the judicious integration of continental, temperate and Mediterranean non-invasive vegetations accomplishes functionality and multilayeredness in ecological plant associations – impelling biodiversity, innovation and resilience.
The denser the planting, the more efficient roof terraces perform, increasing shelter, humanising structures and functioning as prolific havens for wildlife. Similarly to natural landscapes, albeit through metropolitan topographies, these green ecosystems emanate, sprawl and cascade wherever conditions are favourable to form authentic microhabitats, boosted by the reflective energy and residual heat of city buildings. In low-lying eco roofs, vertical living walls and three-dimensional containerised compositions, roof terrace planting designs maximise form and space thoroughly, minimising storm water runoff, cooling, insulating, muffling and absorbing incessant pollution. Since Moshe Safdie's quantum leap in 60's Canada boldly paved the way for residential roof gardens, followed by the maverick designer of green architecture, Emilio Ambasz in the 90's, to Malaysian ecologist and architect Ken Yeang in the noughties, roof terrace planting designs, infrastructures and technologies have evolved exponentially.
Roof Terrace Aptitude
Within the next thirty years or so, nearly three quarters of us will be residing in urban dwellings, where uprightness of skyscrapers along uptightness of disposition reject all that is wild, natural and primal. Irrefutably ecological and wholesomely regenerative, well-planted roof gardens promote sustainability as tangibly as wild blue yonder hovers closer to high-rise superstructures. Plants, wildlife, water and earth, with their seasonal cycles and crucial microbiomes, gradually reclaim humble niches in civic and private buildings alike. While countless brand-new London rooftop terraces remain non-irrigable, absurdly developed without a water source in arid expanses of concrete, steel and glass, we should strive to naturalise roof gardens into all scales of architectural strata, to curatively neutralise an ever-increasing carbon footprint – environmentally, aesthetically and connectedly.