Green Roofs and Walls Dumbo Feather — Conversations with extraordinary people

Green Roofs and Walls Dumbo Feather - Conversations with extraordinary people

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When searching for sustainable solutions, the heart of a city might be the last place you would look. Yet the City of Sydney is offering a new direction in the hunt for environmental consciousness: up.

Differing from usual gardens, green roofs and walls are the metropolitan environment’s answer to creating breathing space. Planting plants of all varieties across the city’s foundations, the council was the first to create a Green roofs and Walls policy. What’s more, green walls and roofs are easy for anyone build with just little time, water and patience.

Whether you’re planning to create a fresh fresco of green across the side of your building, or really just looking for a way to bring some biodiversity into your home, take the time to look through their booklet to find out which method best suits your lifestyle.

In the meantime, read the following interview with Chris Knierim, who incorporated 121 m 2 of green walls and an exceptional green roof into his home.

What do you love about green roofs and walls and why did you incorporate them into your home?

I love the look of greenery on buildings but I also know the real benefits they give my home and the environment.  So both the green walls and roof keep my home cool and that insulation cuts down my energy costs, but they also help manage storm-water runoff, create habitat for local birds and animals and they look absolutely beautiful.

What sorts of green wall do you have?

It’s essentially a semi-intensive green wall. A custom made system of framework, mobile pots and light weight soil that I’ve designed myself. The walls have a drip irrigation system as well.

Cost. about $1200 / m²

Installation. took about 2 weeks

Plants. Hand selected and propagated by Chris.

A variety of species which all were selected based primarily on the orientation of each location and for the aesthetic look I was after.

What about the roof?

Really shallow soil—only 70mm so it’s light weight but gives a really diverse and colourful finish. Also—apart from watering it in, it now doesn’t need any added watering as I’ve picked plants that will cope with heat and drought conditions.

Green Roofs and Walls Dumbo Feather - Conversations with extraordinary people

Cost. $200 $300 / m²

Installation. 2 weeks

Plants. Varieties of Sedums & Succulents

Top Tips

If you want to save a bit of money propagate your own plants ahead of time.

You may lose some plants to start with—that’s normal as the plants settle in.  Appreciate that it’s a living system and will need more TLC at the beginning and less as your green roof or wall gets more established.

If you want to cut down on maintenance, pick plants that are right for the specific conditions of your wall or roof_I’ve used drought tolerant succulents and sedums on the exposed hot roof and shade loving plants on the southerly side of the building.

This is part of a series on sustainable living tips that we’ve put together with the lovely eco-conscious folk at City of Sydney’s Green Villages. You can check  out what other fun tips and tricks they have up their sleeve and visit the Green Villages website , sign up to their monthly e-newsletter or follow them on twitter . Take a look at the rest of the series here. It includes balcony gardening tips, info on sustainable threads, a conversation with Martin Boetz’s Cooks co-op and ace DIY presents.

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