Why living roofs?



"I remember completing my first living roof several years ago. I had connected a

water butt to the down pipe in anticipation of the usual high volume of rain water after

a typical Spring downpour. Several downpours had occurred, so, with my watering

can in hand, I meandered down the garden path to the water butt and turned the tap.

Half way through the second fill the water slowed to a trickle. Suspecting a blockage,

I removed the lid to find the container almost completely empty.


The previous winter had been the first time since moving in, over a decade ago, that

I had seen the storm water levels on my street rise to cover the pavement and lap

against the step up to my front garden. Staring into the empty water butt I began to

realise the important role that green infrastructure, and living roofs in particular, had

to play in the urban environment.


I had just completed a degree in architecture. It had been enjoyable, but through the

inevitable difficult periods, the garden environment had often been just as important

to me as my time in the campus classroom and workshop.


I have no doubt about the ability of nature to nurture our wellbeing, and have come

to realise that good architecture and urban design can, to an extent, do the same.

However, such success depends on the way architecture relates and facilitates our