Alan Titchmarsh takes a look at garden roofs
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Alan returned for the new series of Love Your Weekend at Manor Farm in Hampshire. He was joined by Craig Revel Horwood and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. Alan was also joined by TV carpenter Wayne Perrey who shared how to construct a “living roof”.
The gardening expert said: “Now is the perfect time to look to the skies and embrace the living roof by growing plants on your roof top surface.
“But how do you go about constructing one?”
Wayne said green roofs used to be “quite rare” back in the day, but now “everyone is embracing them” because they’re good for the environment.
Alan asked Wayne what the advantages are of a “green roof”.
The carpenter said as well as being good for the environment, they’re good for “sound proofing”.
“A lot of modern buildings like tower blocks, they’re putting them in some of their structures to help with the echo.
“Also, they’re good for heat retention as well.”
Alan said they must also be good for holding onto water meaning there would be “less run off”.
Wayne showed viewers a selection of different roof gardens, beginning with one from Sky Garden.
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The carpenter explained that all the principles for roof gardens are “pretty much the same”.
The roof gardens have a lot of layers so he wanted to explain to viewers what they mean so they know which ones to buy.
“Firstly, it needs to go on a roof that’s waterproof. Any of these kits rely on you having a good waterproof roof.
“The first layer that goes on is this fleece. This fleece protects whatever roof you’ve got.
“It also stops roots going into your roof.”
The next layer is a board which holds all the water.
This layer has a lot of small holes so when the water runs into it they get full before draining away.
It also has a protective fleecing to stop any of the substrate going into the holes.
The reason there are holes is to feed the plants while stopping them being waterlogged.
The next layer is what is known as “substrate” which is what the plant grows in to keep it in place.
Wayne explained the substrate is full of bits of brick, and doesn’t feed the plant.
Alan added: “I remember my soil science lecturer at college all those years ago saying ‘soil is the substance plants’ roots grow in’. So this is what plants’ roots are growing in!”
The substrate is free-draining so it absorbs as much moisture as it can before draining away.
Once you’ve put around 5cm of the substrate down, you can roll on your sedum carpet.
Sedums are succulents which “holds onto water a lot” while also being able to “cope with drought”.
The plant carpet has a plethora of varieties of plants on it so they flower at different times of year.
Wayne said the green roofing costs around £52 per square metre.
Alan described the roofing as “not cheap” but something that will “last”.
You can catch up on Love Your Weekend on the ITV Hub
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