Make the world a greener place - improve the environment and aesthetics by creating roof and vertical gardens.
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Learn to develop appropriate and functional roof and vertical gardens, for residential, commercial and public landscapes. Green walls and roofs are increasingly popular in landscaping and environmental management for various reasons, including:
- Greening areas where there is lack of space for a more extensive garden.
- Improving aesthetics of unsightly places.
- Improving the environment (e.g. Reduce glare, modify temperature, filter air pollutants, reduce water run off and mitigate flood problems, etc.).
- Urban farming – growing crops in an urban area.
There are 9 lessons in this course:
- Scope & Nature of Roof and Vertical Gardens
- Construction Functional and Appropriate Vertical and Roof Gardens
- Climbing Plants and Structures for climbing
- Plants Suited to Roof and Vertical Gardens
- Adaptations for Other Plants in Roof and Vertical Gardens
- Container Growing
- Maintenance –watering, pest control
- Applications/Landscaping –Roof Gardens
- Applications/Landscaping –Vertical gardens
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
- Discuss the nature and scope of vertical gardens and roof gardens in horticulture today.
- Explain engineering considerations involved with the building of vertical and roof gardens, both on small and large scale projects.
- Select appropriate materials and plan the way in which the non living components of the garden is created, in order to achieve an appropriate and sustainable installation.
- Select appropriate climbing plants for creating vertical or roof gardens, and determine appropriate strategies to cultivate those plants, in a variety if different situations.
- Select appropriate plants for use in vertical or roof gardens, which are tolerant of the adverse growing conditions, having natural adaptations to growing under conditions that are encountered in these gardens.
- Select and plan the cultivation of plants that lack natural adaptations to growing on roofs or vertical gardens; but which are none the less required to grow in these adverse conditions.
- Explain a range of container growing techniques, in a range of different roof and vertical gardens, that may be used with a selection of different types of plants.
- Identify and evaluate problems with vertical and roof gardens, and compare options for solving those problems.
- Plan the development of roof gardens for both small and large scale applications.
- Plan the development of vertical gardens for both small and large scale applications.
As more and more people live in cities, and high rise living in particular has become commonplace, the impetus to grow gardens in confined and difficult places has increased.
International studies and reports have however also shown that buildings offer the largest single opportunity for reducing greenhouse gases’ and the use of green walls and roofs can be a significant contributor to that end.
Solutions to this challenge of modern living have spawned a wide variety of ideas for roof and vertical gardens.
Covering the walls or roofs of building is a significant horticultural challenge, but also an opportunity that brings with it many benefits beyond what may at first seem obvious.
Using the vertical space effectively can give much more growing room for a wide range of plants, opportunities to grow food crops, opportunities to screen, hide an existing wall or a view behind. Creating this type of garden poses aesthetic, horticultural structural challenges.
WHAT PLANTS CAN YOU USE FOR A ROOF GARDEN?
Plants that have natural adaptations to allow them to cope with the challenging conditions are better suited to Vertical or Roof Gardens.
The plants here may have to put up with long periods of dryness, heat and long periods of cold through the winter and be resilient enough to be able to survive this by going into a dormancy state, then quickly reviving and growing strongly again when growing conditions improve.
Every wall or roof is different and poses different growing conditions and microclimates to consider and so different plants are needed to meet the criteria.
Apart from climbers, mentioned in the previous lesson, other plant types that are often well suited are:
- Hardy groundcovers.
- Xerophytes (i.e. drought-tolerant plants).
Which Plants are Epiphytes?
- Some cacti, including: Epiphyllium (Orchid Cactus), Schlumbergera (Zygocactus), Hatiora (syn. Rhipsalidopsis).
- Mosses, liverworts, lichens.
- Most epidendroid orchids.
- Some figs (Ficus spp.), some ferns including Platycerium spp. (Stag or Elk ferns), Asplenium polyodon, Davallia pyxidata, Anthopteris.
- Some tropical and subtropical rainforest plants - including some Impatiens, Pathos, Peperomia, Anthuriums, Syngonium, Philodendron, Monstera, Gesneriads including Columnea and Aeschynanthus.
- Some carnivores including Nepanthes, etc.
What is a Succulent?
The group commonly known as succulents provide a wide range of plants popular in roof garden construction worldwide. Succulents often require less maintenance, one of their key features being that they store water in their leaves. There are many different genera in this group and hundreds of species. Many succulents used in roof gardens are in the Crassulaceae family; though plants from other succulent families can be equally as hardy to the extreme conditions often faced on a roof top.
What are Hardy Ground Covers?
Ground Covers are low-growing, often mat forming plants which are ideal for filling in spaces beneath taller growing plants e.g. beneath trees and shrubs in containers on roof gardens. Others may do well in containers on green walls where they may help to create a continuity of foliage cover.
What is a Xerophyte?
Xerophytes are plants which have adapted to survive in harsh, dry conditions such as deserts and coastal dunes. Xerophytes often have modified parts to help the plant to reduce water loss and/or conserve water for times when it is in sparse supply. For instance they may have fewer stomata, stomata which are sunken in the leaf surface, stomata which are inside rolled leaves (some grasses), a waxy leaf coating, leaf hairs, tiny leaves, and so forth. All cacti are xerophytes, as are succulents. Other xerophytes which are not cacti or succulents include but are not limited to bromeliads, yuccas, some grasses, eucalypts, acacias and olives.
THE ADVANTAGES OF STUDYING WITH ACS
- Our courses are written and taught by experienced professionals, so you know you can expect a high quality of teaching and support.
- You can start the course at any time and study at your own pace.
- Fit your studies around your own busy lifestyle - we provide full tutor support for all the time you are studying.
- Study where you want to - online studies offer the flexibility for you to determine where and when you study.
If you have any questions, please do get in touch with us - connect with our expert Horticulture and Landscaping tutors. They will be happy to answer your questions.