July 3, 2012

Unique Ways to Power Your Landscaping with Your Roof

When looking to undertake a significant landscaping project for a lawn or garden it is rare that the roof of your home comes into the equation. As the green eco-friendly home trend gains popularity and becomes more easily accessible to the masses, the roof and your landscaping project no longer need to be mutually exclusive. There are inventive ways to incorporate roof alteration into the sustainability of your home’s flora.

Hundreds of thousands of gallons of usable rainwater is lost each year to runoff into streams, lakes, and various bodies of water. Fortunately rainwater harvesting has become an emerging trend that is helping to conserve this diminishing resource.

Areas where rainfall is sporadic, homeowners have been constructing rainwater collection systems that harvest a fair amount of that otherwise lost water which is in turn used to keep plant life alive. They are fairly simple to construct yourself and the cost of constructing one will be quickly recouped from all the water that will be saved from necessary lawn sprinklers during the hotter months. Note that a gutter extension will be needed to funnel the water into the reservoir, so careful construction of the system will be necessary to avoid any damage to the roof during installation.

Years ago solar technology was a prospective field of science due to its vast applications and benefits to energy conservation. A few decades ago solar energy was a well known phenomenon, but not exactly practical in mass use. In the past 5 years though, advances in harnessing solar energy through more compact panels have come a long way, finally giving most rural or suburban homes an option to install energy conserving solar panels. The effect of having solar panels installed onto your roof can mean that energy created by the sun can be diverted to any light source or construct throughout your landscape at any time. The sunlight, over the course of a day, can be harnessed by these panels and kept in reserves to be later used during the night hours. Plant life that would otherwise have their growth deterred by the natural cycle of the sun could have access to the precious sunlight well after the nighttime has set in. While a water conservation system could be easily installed by yourself, it is not recommend to attempt to install solar panels without first consulting a professional. Panels can be very delicate and the installation process is exceedingly complicated.

The easiest way to incorporate a landscape into a roof would be to literally create a “green roof”. These eco-roofs have been sprouting up all over the Pacific Northwest. Some benefits include:
  • The plants attract butterflies and other wildlife.
  • They can be built on any enclosure whether it is a house, garage, shed, or an entire office building.
  • The soil acts as a perfect bio-filter for not only rain water itself, but any other pollutants that arise in the air as the rain hits the ground.
  • They have been proven to reduce stress through pleasant aesthetics.
  • Self-sustaining watering system makes them less labor intensive to maintain.

The implementation of any of these methods should initially involve a consultation with roofing professional before any action is taken. Some may be difficult to construct, but well worth it aesthetically and financially in the long run.

"Amber Staub is a staff writer with Fortified Roofing, a leading provider of roofing services in Cherry Hill, NJ."


Phil Goold is a retired landscaper of 30 years. He loves being outside more than anything else, except maybe pie. He enjoys connecting with other landscapers and gardeners because everyone brings something new and fun to the table. Connect with Phil on Twitter and Google+.

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