Republic of Moreland

April 16, 2007

Backyard experiment #3: cheap green roof

I’ve started a garden on my rooftop: a very simple and cheap one. I picked up some large rectangular plastic containers from the hardware ($12 each) and drilled holes in the bottom. I chucked them on the north-facing lean-to roof and then lay Hydrocell in the bottom of the containers and cow poo (from Andrew’s Stock Feed in Sydney Rd) and soil up the sides. Inside the north side of the containers, where the sun hits the black plastic, I put more Hydrocell to act as an insulator. Then I planted a fruit vine in each: passionfruit and kiwi-fruit. I’ll lay some lightweight weldmesh on the roof at some stage: by summer I’m hoping the roof will be a facade of green. Not just beautiful, but a great thermal insulator, and good for the city environment, too, as it reduces the heat-island effect. I shouldn’t need to water them over winter, and the hydrocell should allow for minimal watering in other seasons. Fingers crossed.

That’s not my green roof pictured above: that’s a living wall. You can find out much more about living walls and green roofs in Australia by joining Green Roofs for Healthy Australian Cities. One of its board members, the lovely Sidonie Carpenter (who took this picture), is on a travelling fellowship to study green roofs and living walls around SE Asia and north America. Here are some of her pics:

Getty Centre, LA

Botanic Gardens, Singapore:

School of Art and Design, Singapore:

You can see more of Sidonie’s pics here, and find out more about Green Roofs in Australia here.



  1. Love the cactus garden.

    Comment by Chloe — April 16, 2007 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

  2. Great wartime camouflage.

    Comment by Neighbourhood Pervert — April 17, 2007 @ 12:21 am | Reply

  3. Nice blog!

    Comment by laluttefinale — April 17, 2007 @ 4:39 am | Reply

  4. hey girl
    i want to see some ‘before’ images of the set up!

    Comment by h — April 18, 2007 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  5. Here’s another idea: we moved into a house with a backyard which was just a featureless square of grass and needed something quickly.

    I got someone to do the grunt work of putting in some thick pine poles vertically to about a height of half a meter above your head. These were arranged in a vaquely off-kilter crescent in the middle of the square.

    the distance apart = one piece of trellis.

    We nailed pieces of trellis between the poles. We now had something which was a bit like one of those chinese bedroom screens.

    Then I grew a fast growing creeper on it. I’ll think of the variety if I pound my head for awhile, but anything really fast growing will do.

    Instant hedge (and nesting space for birds.)

    Comment by Helen — April 19, 2007 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  6. Nice blog!

    Comment by Livette — April 23, 2007 @ 12:36 am | Reply

  7. Girl Next Door (H): good idea, I’ll photograph the before and after pics and do a post.

    Helen: great solution!

    Comment by Girl on The Avenue — April 23, 2007 @ 9:56 am | Reply

  8. Cool!

    Comment by Caroline — November 3, 2007 @ 1:59 am | Reply

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