What? Front garden: Hedge and planting. Drive: Shed Green Roof and water butts
Where? Family home (1950’s 3 bed semi-detached house), Halifax.
When? Early 2018 (Hedge February, Green Roof April)
Design: Replaced wall and hard surface at the front with a hornbeam hedge, and planted bulbs below. Built bespoke sturdy (to support extra weight of green roof) shed, over existing tarmac.
The layers of the green roof are (bottom to top): standard shed felting // waterproof pond liner (doubled because we had enough) // about 2-3cm depth drainage layer (angular gravel + ‘Sportag’) // about 5cm depth peat free potting compost // plants / seeds. Any water that filters out of the soil is collected in water butts, via a downpipe.
Benefits/Constraints: The hedge prevents some of the rainfall ever reaching the ground, the roots soak up some of the water, and the soil absorbs and releases it slowly, instead of the wall and hard surface that would have shed water quickly straight into the drain. Similarly at the back, the green roof intercepts rainfall that would have shed straight into the gully – and we can water our other pots with the water butts. In addition, the view both of and from the house are greatly improved at front and back. We have noticed more wildlife, particularly birds, and as gardeners are glad of extra planting space.
Further Opportunities: We plan to install a permeable drive and large planting bed at the front as well.
Who? Husband and wife team! (He’s a bit of a handyman…) (and the baby cheer-led)
Funding: about £150 for the hedge, including soil. About £650 for the materials for the whole shed, including green roof and two water butts. We also added a solar powered irrigation system that uses the water butt water – about another £100.
Building / Implementation: Needed planning and materials ordering in advance.
Hedge: Required wall demolition, digging out a trench, filling with soil, planting.
Green Roof: needed the shed building first! Green roof elements needed hoisting up via ladders, securing down as appropriate, planting/seeding. Slightly careful detailing to drain to guttering. Water butts installed as instructions.