<![CDATA[Enviromat - Sedum Matting Blog]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:14:00 +0000 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[How to create perfect lawn stripes and patterns]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/how-to-create-perfect-lawn-stripes-and-patterns/ How to create perfect lawn stripes and patterns

Striping a lawn can create a dramatic effect and elevate your lawn to a new level. Often associated with sports grounds – it is not difficult to achieve on any lawn. The alternating mowing patterns that create it not only add to the aesthetic but are good for the grass.

bicycle on stripey lawn

The are many benefits of lawn striping:

1. It creates a professional lawn effect.

2. Stripes can help hide colour imperfections such as weeds and bare patches as the stripes give a gradual change in colour.

3. Striping can be used to highlight or accentuate features of the garden or property, such as a fountain or seating area.

4. The stripes can make it easier to carry out other garden tasks as there are clear lines to follow.

  

1. How to create a striped lawn:

a. Firstly, mow around the edges.

b. Mow the first strip from the left parallel to the edge of the lawn. Follow the edge of the lawn to ensure a straight line.

c. Once a strip is completed turn the mower 180° using a ‘Y’ motion to prevent scalping

d. Return back down the lawn alongside the previous run.

e. Make sure that the mower overlaps the previous strip a little as this will prevent leaving uncut strips across the lawn.

f. Repeat until your striped lawn is completed.

 diagram of how to mow stripes into a lawn

2. How to create a checkerboard lawn:

a. A slightly more complex design can be achieved with a similar simple routine. Complete steps 1a - 1f as previously.

b. Once the lawn is completed from ‘north to south’, position the mower at the top corner and begin mowing ‘east to west’.

c. When you reach the top of the strip, turn the mower 180° using a ‘Y’ motion to prevent scalping

d. Return back down the lawn alongside the previous run.

e. Make sure that the mower overlaps the previous strip a little as this will prevent leaving uncut strips.. Repeat until the lawn is completed in one direction.

f. Going around the perimeter again will maintain a tidy border.

 how to make a chequered pattern in a lawn

3. How to create a diamond or criss-coss pattern:

a. The diamond, or criss-cross, pattern is the same as the checkerboard pattern but diagonal and like the others requires a mow around the edges to start.

b. Work from the left, mowing the first strip in one direction diagonally to the edge of the lawn.

c. When you reach the top of the strip, turn the mower 180° using a ‘Y’ motion to prevent scalping

d. Return back down the lawn alongside the previous run.

e. Make sure that the mower overlaps the previous strip a little as this will prevent leaving uncut strips across the lawn. Repeat until the lawn is completed in one direction.

f. Once the lawn is completed from ‘North West to South East’, position the mower at the top corner and begin mowing ‘North East to South West’.

g. When you reach the top of the strip, once again turn the mower 180° using a ‘Y’ motion.

h. Return back down the lawn alongside the previous run. Repeat until the lawn is completed.

i. Going around the perimeter again will ensure a neat and tidy border.

 how to mow diamonds into a lawn

4. How to mow around an obstacle

a. Stripes may be all well and good in an empty square of grass, but what about the tree or flower bed in the middle of the lawn? To begin please follow steps 1a-1e.

b. When you reach the obstacle, mow around it so the mowed strip has a ‘bulge’.

c. Then continue to the end of the lawn and complete the ‘Y’ motion turn

d. When you reach the bulge, mow straight over it to continue the pattern. The grass will flatten in the opposite direction and the stripes will appear as though you have mowed through the obstacle. Continue until the lawn is completed.

Alternatively you can cut around an obstacle to create interesting shapes and accentuate them.

Where to learn more about the art of mowing the lawn

If you want to learn more about mowing heights, mowing frequency, mowing technique, edging and trimming, look no further than David Hedges-Gower's no-nonsense lawncare book "Modern Lawn Care".  

David explains all of the technicalities of mowing - whether you are aiming for stripes, patterns or a carpet of green.  You'll also be able to learn about feeding, scarifying, aerating and all those other simple activities that will help keep your lawn healthy.

Read more about "Modern Lawn Care"

]]>
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:23:28 +0000
<![CDATA[Garden centres and TV Gardener team up to support Cultivation Street campaign]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/garden-centres-and-tv-gardener-team-up-to-support-cultivation-street-campaign/ Garden centres and TV Gardener team up to support Cultivation Street campaign

Over 250 garden centres, including big brands Dobbies, Klondyke and Haskins have committed to the Cultivation Street campaign to encourage local residents to team together and get gardening.

The national campaign was launched by TV Gardener David Domoney in association with the Horticultural Trade Association and the Sunday People newspaper and aims to promote gardening among communities and bring together neighbours to make their street a nicer place to live. A top prize of £10,000 worth of National Garden Gift Vouchers will be awarded to the winning street with an additional 16 regional and special recognition awards.

David Domoney

Celebrity Gardener David Domoney

Campaign founder David Domoney is best known as co-presenter, alongside Alan Titchmarsh, of  ITV1’s  prime-time television gardening series ’Love Your Garden’ and is clearly delighted with the response so far.  “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support from garden centres up and down the country. It’s great to see them using the campaign as a way to engage with their local communities and promote gardening to more people. The purpose of the campaign is to bring people together through gardening, and to encourage people who are new to gardening to get outside and have a go.” He added: “We need even more garden centres to join in and help us make a difference. It’s a great way for them to build stronger relationships with their local community. Garden centres are the best place for people to get advice and recommendations.”

It couldn’t be easier for garden centres to get involved and engage with their local community. They can apply to the HTA to receive a free POS and marketing pack with a totem display, posters, leaflets and stands. For more information they should visit the Cultivation Street website www.daviddomoney.com/cultivation-street. While those looking for original gardening ideas to improve their front gardens can visit  www.enviromat.co.uk

You may also like

]]>
Mon, 02 Jun 2014 14:51:38 +0000
<![CDATA[Can sedum be used for green walls?]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/can-sedum-be-used-for-green-walls/
 


Enviromat sedum matting might seem like the perfect way to create a green wall, but trails have show that it is not.   Angela Lambert explains why:

What is a green wall?

A green wall, sometimes known as a living wall, a vertical garden or an eco wall is a wall that is completely covered with live plants.

green wall in contemporary courtyard garden

A living green wall created using Mini-Garden modules

 

Conventional ways to make a green wall

There are various different ways of creating a green wall

    Cladding a building with climbing plants such as ivy, wisteria or russian vine
    Training fruit trees or hedging plants to grow in front of a wall
    Using geotextile membranes, steel frames and hydroponics to grow the plants in
    Using a modular vertical gardening system such as the Mini-Garden

Experimenting with green wall construction

One of the very best things about gardening and using plants is trying out new ideas. Plant combinations, colour schemes, soil types, recycled materials, different planters the list variables is endless and fascinating.

It's great fun to experiment with green roofing and green walling too.

Very soon after Q Lawns started to grow Enviromat on our farm in Norfolk, we were asked to supply some sedum matting for a green wall project in London

This was a good 10 years ago when green walling was in it's infancy. The client had seen what Pierre Blanc was doing with geotextile based living walls and wanted to try something similar.

cross section of enviromat sedum matting

Cross section of Enviromat sedum matting showing reinforcing net

Enviromat is the only UK grown sedum matting that has a strong nylon net woven into the backing. This net means that Enviromat is strong enough to be hung vertically without all of the growing medium and the plants sliding off. In theory, that means that Enviromat can be used for green walling.

How does sedum mat perform on green walls?

It was interesting to watch the progress of this London green wall.

The Enviromat sedum mat was mounted onto a steel frame and hung vertically on the wall of a courtyard. There was a clever irrigation system in place to ensure that the plants had enough water and nutrients.

At first, it looked fabulous.Beautiful. The plants thrived and some of them even flowered.

After 6 months however, the sedum plants began to look weak and tired and the leaves started to break off. Was it lack of food? or the wrong food? not enough water? too much water?

In actual fact, the problem with using sedum matting to make a green wall was the plants' growth habit. The sedums were trying to grow up towards the light and to do that they needed to grow at 90 degrees to the wall and then turn another 90 degrees to aim skywards. That created a bend in the plant. The bent stem was weak and broke easily meaning that the plant couldn't access sunlight and therefore starved

What is the advice for using sedum matting vertically?

In a word, don't

Sedum matting is fine for a temporary green wall - for example as an exhibit at a flower show. But it won't last.

What to use for green walling

Angela Lambert from Enviromat is researching a modular green wall system called Mini-Garden. So far, the system looks as though it will be easy to install and very flexible as far as plant choices go.

To keep up to date with Angela's experimental green wall, use the form below to sign up for our vertical gardening newsletter

Be assured that Enviromat will never ever share your contact details with anyone else and of course, if you don't like the newsletter you can unsubscribe at any time

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
 
]]>
Fri, 30 May 2014 07:30:42 +0000
<![CDATA[Green roofs on sheds in London]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roofs-on-sheds-in-london/
 

Living Roofs for Garden Sheds in Enfield and North London

Three Counties Garden Buildings are offering living green roofs as an option on their range of garden buildings

A green roof is a wonderful addition to any shed, playhouse, summerhouse or garden office and is particularly important in urban areas. The UK desperately needs more green plants. They help to filter harmful pollutants from the air, they increase biodiversity and they produce oxygen for us to breathe. In short, green plants are essential to live.

wooden playhouse with living roofSignwritten mini car

Why put a green roof on a shed?

Aside from the benefits to the environment, there are many reasons for putting a green roof on your shed. Here are just a few:

  • It's cool: A green roof on the outside will help cool the inside of your building on hot days. Plants use a process called evapotranspiration to cool their surroundings so they don't cook. A summerhouse, shed or garden office with plants growing on the roof is far more comfortable to sit (or work) in than one with a standard felt or shingle roof.
  • It's hot: In winter time, a green roof will insulate a garden building against the cold and help keep it warmer for longer. The benefits for a garden office are obvious (lower heating bills) but for a storage shed, it could help prevent the contents being damaged by frost.
  • It's lovely: Whether you like strong, contemporary lines or soft flowing curves a living green roof looks just lovely. It can turn a boring expanse of roofing felt into something that has all year round interest. A real show-stopper
  • It's eco: The term "eco" comes from the greek word for home and a living green roof will soon become home to many beneficial insects. Butterflies and bees will visit the flowers for food, minibeasts will live amongst the plants and will in turn become food for visiting birds. It's interesting to watch and it's great to know that you're giving Mother Nature a hand.
  • It's an investment: A green roof, just like any "green" feature adds value to a property. It will also make the waterproofing on your shed last longer, saving on long-term maintenance costs.
  • It's green: Saving on fuel, absorbing CO2, filtering air pollutants, helping wildlife. Everything about a green roof is well....green

How to put a green roof on your shed

It's not difficult to put a green roof onto a garden building, particularly if you use Enviromat's simple matting system. It's just a matter of being confident at DIY and at working at heights.

Watch our video to see how easy it is to install Enviromat

 

 

Where to buy a shed with a green roof

North LondonThree Counties Garden Buildings is based at Crews Hill, just outside Enfield and an easy walk from Crews Hill train station. The road that Three Counties sits on is well worth a visit for anyone with even just the slightest interest in gardening. Within a stones throw of Three Counties Garden Buildings are several garden centres, each with a different speciality. Turf and topsoil, aquatics, plants, hard landscaping - you name it, you'll find it here.

Norfolk: Crane Garden Buildings near Kings Lynn in Norfolk. If you're looking for style and quality you'll find it here. Crane Garden Buildings are made in Norfolk and on display at show sites in Norfolk, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Nottinghamshire

DIY: order a green roof kit from Enviromat and create your own living roof shed:

 

Downloadable guide to creating a green roof

 

You may also be interested in.........

 
]]>
Tue, 20 May 2014 11:01:04 +0000
<![CDATA[Low maintenance ground cover]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/low-maintenance-ground-cover/

Struggling with the garden? Don’t turn to stone

It’s not hard to create green places for reluctant gardeners

Relaxing in the garden is a great way to unwind and escape from the stress, but for some people, caring for the garden is stressful in itself.  Lack of space, lack of time, physical limitations and indeed lack of confidence are all cited as reasons for not gardening.

Sadly, when gardening seems like a chore, the householder all too often turns to stone.  Paving, gravel or maybe decking are seen as easily maintained, all weather surfaces; which of course they are.  In my opinion, they’re also quite dull.  They don’t change with the seasons, they don’t attract interesting wildlife, there’s no movement, no scent and no productivity.

Here are two planting solutions that can bring interest into the garden without making a whole lot of work

Mixed sedum plants make great groundcover

sedum album in flower

mixed sedums in pebble border

sedum mat and pebbles in yin yang design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images of sedum plants used as ground cover.  Using mixed species gives a longer flowering period and some interesting textures.  Pebbles work well with sedums, the plants also look good growing between paving stones or stepping stones.

Sedum plants are incredibly easy to care for. All they need is a sunny spot and a little bit of growing medium and they'll thrive. Sedums are drought tolerant, have flowers that are irresistible to butterflies and many of them keep their leaves all year round.

Using Enviromat sedum matting, these pretty little plants can be established into the garden in just a couple of hours. I can promise you too, that you won't feel as though you're gardening. Installing this matting is more of a DIY job.

Download free guide to using sedum matting as ground cover

 

Create a wildflower meadow for the ultimate in easy care gardening

When it comes to easy gardening, nothing beats a wildflower garden.  Native plants are the ones that have been growing in this country since the ice-age. They're really well adapted to our climate and so they don't need to be mollycoddled in any way shape or form.

A wildflower meadow can be a great substitute for a lawn, will definitely help to absorb rainwater and lessen the risk of flooding and it looks sooooo good.

wildlife garden with pond and wildflower matting

colourful wild flower patch by Maxine Tricker

 

Managing a wildflower meadow is simple, especially if you like big tools. All you need to do is let the plants finish flowering and then choose a lovely warm summers day to chop everything down. You can use a strimmer; but there are grass cutting tools out there that will do the job much better. Leave the clippings to dry for a couple of days, then remove them. They can go on the compost heap or be fed to pets such as guinea pigs or rabbits.

Here's a short video to show you just how easy it is to create a wildflower meadow

Download more information about Meadowmat

]]>
Fri, 16 May 2014 09:23:27 +0000
<![CDATA[Beekeepers’ Update for Turfland]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/beekeepers-update-for-turfland1/ Beekeepers’ Update for Turfland

With honey bee numbers in decline through loss of habitat, disease and pollution it is vital to support the efforts of beekeepers and support applied education and research. Last year Meadowmat and Enviromat suppliers Turfland did just that by joining the Adopt a Beehive scheme. Run by the British Bee Keepers Association (BBKA) they have recently updated us its progress.

The Spring issue of Hive Talk, the BBKA ’s seasonal newsletter, reports on the importance of weatherproofing hives and reveals the positive results of a members survey which found that 70% took precautions to protect their apiaries from wind and rain damage and just 2% experienced any damage last winter.

The is also a convenient guide to help identify numinous types of pollinators from being mistaken for the honey bee including the mason bee, cutter bee, hoverfly and wasp.

Beekeeping is also enjoying a fair amount of positive media coverage at the moment. Featured on ‘Mary Berry Cooks’, and two other upcoming series, Martha Kearney’s bee-keeping year on BBC 4 and ‘The Science of Bees’ on BBC 2.

Hive Talk also includes research and training updates and information on the importance of honey bees as pollinators. It mentions the shortage natural meadow forage, something which our Meadowmat  - Wildflower matting can provide. 

BBKA also provides a North West Update with news from two adopt a beehive keepers in Lancashire and how they coped this winter. Caroline and Fred are clearly optimistic for the spring and summer ahead.

To learn more about Adopt a Beehive and the British Bee Keepers Association please visit their website: www.adoptabeehive.co.uk

]]>
Mon, 12 May 2014 15:36:39 +0000
<![CDATA[Green roof cost v benefits]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roof-cost-v-benefits/
 

Green roofs are known to help insulate a building in winter time, cool it in summer time and help manage rainwater.  Retail giant Walmart has been comparing the benefits of green roofs to the benefits of white roofs and worked out how much money each type of roof is saving them.

sedum green roof

This article from the spring 2014 issue of living architecture monitor describes their findings.

Big box retailers embracing green roofs

Walmart reveals the results of their green roof life-cycle cost-benefit analysis

The cost-benefit analysis

Walmart has completed a study of the performance of green roofs in collaboration with Arup, roofmeadow, Pennsylvania State University, the Green Team and University of Toronto researchers.  

This work centred on a research roof build in 2006 at Walmart store #5402 in Chicago.  The 133,000 square foot flat roof is just over half green (vegetated) and just under half white (cool) roof.  When constructed, this roof was the largest, most intensively monitored green roof in the world.  Each side was intrumented with equipment to measure variables impacting store energy use and stormwater runoff dynamics.  Monitoring ran for three years.  Data analysis included incorporation of field results into detailed models.

Energy

The green roof saved energy compared to the white roof.  If a full store had a green roof, the data suggestes it would save 1-6% storewide in a range of climates, with a 2.2% savings estimated in Chicago.  

Roof temperatures were up to 40 degrees cooler during hot weather on the green roof, but savings from the green roof were greater in cold weather than in warm weather. Summer savings would be higher if the basis for comparison was a black roof rather than a white one, but Walmart builds new stores in the United States with white roofs.

The green roof has an added benefit of peak load shifting due to its thermal mass.  

This study is one of the first to also demonstrate that the green roof moderates air temperature at rooftop HVAC unit intakes. This translates to air conditioning savings in summer ans well as heating savings in winter.

flooding

flooding in Norfolk UK in the 1950's - stormwater management aims to avoid incidents like this

Stormwater

Stormwater retention and peak rate attenuation are tow important criterial affecting city storm sewer capacity and water quality in lakes, rivers and bays.

This study showed that a green roof can retain more rainfall than perviously found by most studies of smaller roofs.  Up to 3.5" were detaitned during some rainfall events.  The soil layer on the roof is only 4" deep, with 3" of media over a 1-inch foam-type drainage mat.  No ponding or drain clogging on the green side was observed.

Of the 100 precipitation events that were studied, the green roof retained an average of 74%.  

Peak runoff from the green roof was delayed 1.25 - 3.25 hours from the rainfall peak, and the rate was 50% to 85% lower than the precipitation peak rate (average 65%)

Maintenance and roof life

The Walmart Chicago green roof costs roughly 45% less to maintain than a typical white Walmart roof.

This is due primarily to the protection the green roof affords the membrane and drains, preventing damage and clogging. Minimal selective weeding and avoidance of irrigation at this location helps to keep green roof maintenance costs low.

Green roofs can also be expected to extend the life of the waterproof membrane from a typical 15 years to 40 or more years.

The bottom line

A financial analysis was done for green vs white roofs in 9 locations (6 metro areas).

The approach to this financial analysis differed from a typical one, in that it compared not just the two roofing systems in isolation, but a development package that includes a green roof with one that uses more conventional means to comply with relevant regulations.

The results showed green roofs have a less than 20 year payback for all locations studied.

One third of the total show a  0-3 year payback.

This study demonstrates that in the right policy environment, green roofs can be an attractive voluntary choice for a retail developer like Walmart.

By Don Moseley

Read this article and more at www.livingarchitecturemonitor.com

 

You may also like..........

Blogpost: Which is best? green roofs or white roofs

The benefits of green roofing

Video: how to make a sedum green roof

]]>
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 07:49:41 +0000
<![CDATA[Green roof design advice]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roof-design-advice/

Green roof design guide

What is a green roof?

A green roof is a layer of growing media and plants that sits on top of a standard roof.  Not only does it look amazing, a 
green roof brings with it a whole host of benefits.

bird on green roof birdhouse

How do I make a green roof?

Creating a green roof is easy but it requires forethought and planning.  Throwing some mud and seeds on top of a building 
and hoping for the best is simply not going to work.

There are many different ways to make a green roof, all of them have pros and cons.  Your job is to decide which method best suits your building and your lifestyle.

What is involved in green roof design?

When designing a green roof, it's important to remember that conditions on top of a building are quite different to 
conditions on the ground.

man with a heavy load

 

 

 

1. Weights and loadings

For a start, a building can only support a finite amount of weight.  That means there are limits to how much growing medium you can put up there.  If you make the substrate layer too deep, you may compromise the structure of the building.

 

 

 

ladybird on sedum plant2. Plant choices

Any plants on your green roof will be growing in a limited depth of growing medium. Any gardener will tell you that it's no 
good putting deep rooting plants into shallow soil and expecting them to survive.

It's also going to be quite dry up there, unless you have an irrigation system in place.

In summer, the roof is the hottest place on the whole building.  In winter it's the coldest.  

A green roof will insulate the inside of the structure against heat and cold but the plants are on the outside.  They need to be able to withstand 
temperature extremes.

3. Safe access

Don't forget too, that the plants will need a little bit of TLC during the year.  Choose your plants wisely and the 
maintenance will be minimal.  Nevertheless, you will need to access the roof at least twice a year.  When working at 
heights, Health and Safety is more important than ever.   Make sure that access is good and that you have safety measures 
in place.

Where can I learn more about green roof design?


All of the above factors and more are crucial to the success of a green roof. If you want to avoid disappointment, they all need careful consideration BEFORE you start building.

Enviromat's "Designing for Maintenance" green roof guide will help you to make the right choices for your project.
Download it for free or contact Q Lawns' sales office to have a copy posted to you.

 

Download the green roof design guide

]]>
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 09:03:54 +0000
<![CDATA[Contolling weeds on a green roof]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/controlling-weeds-on-a-green-roof/

Weeds on green roofs


Spring has sprung and all over the uk plants of all shapes and sizes are growing fast.  In the garden and on living roofs, some plants are more welcome than others.


What is a weed?


A weed is any plant growing in the wrong place.  It might be grass between patio slabs, groundsel in the greenhouse or moss in the lawn.


Weeds that are commonly found on green roofs include grass, moss and tree seedlings.

Moss growing on a sedum roof

moss growing on a sedum roof - the moss is thriving at the expense of the more desirable sedums

 

grass on a sedum green roof

grass and broad-leaved weeds on a sedum roof

Tree saplings on a green roof

Tree saplings on a green roof - these have been allowed to get out of hand


The pretty white meadow saxifrage can also be mistaken for a weed in the early stages of its growth. But as soon as the flowers appear it's obvious that this particular plant is not to be weeded out.


How to treat weeds on a green roof


1. Know thine enemy;

Identify the weed if you can and try to work out why it is thriving on your roof.


Moss loves damp shade.  Is there a problem with drainage on the roof? Or have we just had such a wet winter that avoiding damp soil has been impossible to do?  

moss on green roof
If your green roof is in shade for more than half the day then moss is almost inevitable. 


On a green roof with a deep substrate, try removing as much moss as possible and replanting with shade loving plants such as lesser celandine, vinca minor or wood anenome.


On a shallow substrate roof, you may have to learn to love moss. Alternatively, if the roof can cope with the extra weight, increase the width of the pebble border.  


You can try to establish sedum cuttings in the shady area, but be prepared to do this at least every 2 years.  Sedum album is the most shade tolerant of the succulents that can survive on a shallow substrate.


Grass. Easy to identify and a regular visitor to green roofs. Wet weather and damp conditions will encourage grass to grow. Particularly here in the uk where our climate grows the best grass in the whole world.

grass on sedum roof
Grass is good .... in the right place.  Native grasses are Laval food plants for some butterflies and moths so if you can live with the extra biodiversity please do so.  If your green roof has been properly installed the grass roots won't damage your roof.


If you're hating the extra vegetation it can be weeded out by hand. On a shallow substrate roof you'll often find that a period of drought will kill off the grass plants.  They simply cannot tolerate dry conditions as well as sedums can.


Tree seedlings are unacceptable on any green roof. Remove them ASAP, preferably by hand weeding. If allowed to grow, the roots may be strong enough to damage your waterproofing. 

sapling on green roof
2. Take timely action to remove weeds


This applies especially to tree seedlings. Never let them get established.


3. Feed your living roof 


With the weeds out of the way, encourage the plants you do want to fill in any bare areas. Applying a proprietary green roof feed will stimulate healthy growth. 


A green roof feed will supply the nutrients that green roof plants need to produce a good show of flowers.


Feeding your green roof is an essential job for spring and should be done every year without fail.  Always follow the manufacturers instructions. 


Getting help with a green roof weed problem



Should you need help or advice on green roof weeds, the green roof maintenance team have a wealth of knowledge and experience.  


All you need to do is email Kevin Docherty with photographs of the whole roof and close ups of the problem areas and he will be happy to advise.


If you need help with green roof maintenance, talk to Enviromat.  After a relaxed chat, you can help decide what work needs to be done, outline any possible problems with access and agree a date and a price for the work. It's a straight forward process and the people at Enviromat have all the right tools and training to be able to do the job properly.  

 

Buy green roof feed


More about Enviromat's green roof maintenance service


Ask Enviromat for advice


Contact Kevin for a quote on your green roof maintenance

Google]]>
Fri, 04 Apr 2014 10:51:01 +0000
<![CDATA[White flowers on green roofs]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/white-flowers-on-green-roofs/

Meadow saxifrage; White flowers on green roofs


April is the month when most green roofs start to show their true colours.  First to bloom on many uk green roofs is the pretty native species, meadow saxifrage.

Meadow saxifrage amongst sedum plants

 

Meadow saxifrage, scientific name Saxifraga granulata, is well suited to extensive green roofs.

The natural habitat of Meadow saxifrage is rapidly disappearing.  This plant likes ancient meadows but seems to thrive equally well on living roofs.  It seems to enjoy being relatively undisturbed and is quite happy to grow in a shallow layer of well drained growing medium.   It would probably also do well in an alpine bed or a rockery at ground level.

What does Meadow Saxifrage look like?


The leaves are fleshy and have a pretty, rounded shape.  They disappear for most of the winter and appear again in spring.

Sometimes, when a sedum roof is installed, meadow saxifrage is dormant and so when the leaves start to appear they can be mistaken for weeds.

Fear not, For the leaves are soon followed by slim stems and delicate white flowers. There can be up to 12 flowers on one stem.

close-up of meadow saxifrage flower


Flowering stems can reach up to 50 cm tall but tend to be shorter than that on a roof.  The main flush of flowers is in April and May but they can sometimes be seen as late as June.


On a green roof created using Enviromat sedum matting, meadow saxifrage flowers are usually followed by the pinky- white blooms of sedum album.

 

You may also like:

photos of living roofs in our green roof gallery


How to make a green roof with Enviromat sedum matting


For regular photo updates of green roof plants, sign up for Enviromat's monthly newsletter - we never share details with anyone and you can unsubscribe whenever you want.

 

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format

Google

Google

]]>
Thu, 03 Apr 2014 08:19:44 +0000
<![CDATA[EPA in US retracts synthetic turf safety assurances]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/epa-in-us-retracts-synthetic-turf-safety-assurances/ EPA retracts synthetic turf safety assurances

Following a complaint from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reconsidered its position on artificial turf. The agency accepts it has new concerns about unexplored chemical exposure to more than 30 compounds found in synthetic shredded tire turf, including arsenic, lead, cobalt, mercury and trichloroethylene.

In March last year PEER demanded EPA retract its “Low Level of Concern” statement believing the 2009 study on which it was based was a 'flawed and limited' violation of federal information quality standards. Although the EPA has refused the retraction its Acting Assistant Administrator for Research and Development Lek Kadeli responded by ordering further research and the agency has accepted the original study was 'limited' in a new posting.

EPA's only previous artificial turf study took air and surface samples from three US sports pitches and from one playground. The testing considered only one chemical on new turf below levels of activity typical of athletic fields or playgrounds and ignored the influence of heat in chemical release.

The PEER complaint was filed under the Data Quality Act which requires information distributed by federal agencies be complete, objective and reliable. 

PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch welcomed the climb down, “We are gratified that EPA has taken this small and grudging step toward a more responsible position reflecting synthetic turf exposure risks. EPA now admits that it has no idea about the extent of chemical exposure to children and athletes playing on these surfaces.” Ruch continued: “By blindly promoting so-called ‘beneficial’ reuse of tire crumbs and other toxic industrial wastes, EPA has shirked its public health duties."

Meanwhile in response to another PEER complaint, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has ordered an enforcement review of marketing of artificial turf products for children because the agency has found lead levels in artificial sports fields above statutory limits in children’s products.

]]>
Tue, 04 Mar 2014 16:26:54 +0000
<![CDATA[Mark's green roof shed]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/marks-green-roof-shed/

This green roof shed on the Wirral was designed and made by Enviromat customer Mark H.

Mark describes the shed as his "man cave" and he's kindly sent us some photographs of his work.  These pictures were taken 6 months after the sedum roof was installed and I think you'll agree it's looking good.

To keep the sedums looking green and vibrant, Mark will need to feed his roof in early spring with a slow release green roof feed.

green roof shed

 

green roof shed

 

shed with sedum roof

 

shed with sedum roof

 

you may also like

5 jolly good reasons to build a green roof shed

How to make a green roof - free downloadable guide

]]>
Tue, 25 Feb 2014 09:27:45 +0000
<![CDATA[Step by step guide to making a green roof]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/step-by-step-guide-to-making-a-green-roof/

How Enviromat created a green roof in London

Here is Kevin's photo journal showing how he used Enviromat sedum matting to create a living green roof for a customer in South West London.

protecting waterproofing with poly1. Use polyethene to protect the waterproofing

This roof was fully waterproofed by the builder and Kev has been assured that the waterproof layer is in good order and that the roof drains well.

If , after heavy rainfall, this flat roof were to have puddles sitting on it for any length of time, the drainage would need to be fixed before the green roof buildup is added.

A note about edgings and upstands

This roof has an upstand - if there were no upstand, then Kev would need to install an edging before putting on the green roof buildup.

Read our blog about green roof edgings

Why use polyethene?

This layer of polyethene protects the waterproofing from mechanical damage (Kev's boots) but it's main purpose is to prevent plant roots from attacking the waterproof layer.  

The polyethene layer is ever so cheap and ever so valuable.  Take care not to block drainage outlets with it though.

 

green roof drainage mat

2. A flat roof needs drainage matting

Drainage mat is a lightweight matting that does exactly what the name suggests.

It takes excess water away from the plants and channels it into the roof's own drainage system

If the roof pitch is greater than 3 degrees, you do not need drainage matting

 

Why use drainage mat?

Most of the plant species used on a green roof are best adapted to living in dry conditions.  Which means that they hate sitting in soggy soil.

Sedum plants will perish on a poorly drained roof.

How to use drainage mat

The picture above shows how Drainage Mat will be delivered to you.  

It weighs virtually nothing so is ever so easy to lift on to the roof.

Simply unroll it, right to the edges of the roof and trim it to size.

drainage mat in place

Kev's Tips for laying drainage mat

  1. Use a serrated knife to cut the drainage mat.  A bread knife is ideal.
  2. ALWAYS use cutting boards to avoid slicing through the waterproofing
  3. Unfold the flaps along each side of the matting and lay the adjoining piece on top of the flap
  4. Covering the joins with gaffa tape will stop the drainage mat blowing away while you're working

 

3. Water retention is essential for green roofs

We've talked about taking excess water away from a green roof.  Now we'll talk about keeping enough moisture on the roof to support the plants.

This particular fleece holds 9 liters of water per square metre when saturated. It helps to make sure that the plants have enough water - but not too much.  

Sedums like good drainage but they do need some water to survive.

water retention mat for green roof

 

This picture shows water retention matting just before Kev to installed it on to this green roof in London

It looks like a rolled up blanket

Kev will simply unroll the water retention fleece and use a stanley knife to cut it to the same size as the roof.

All of the drainage mat gets covered with water retention mat....right up to the edge of the upstand.

Kev always uses cutting boards so he doesn't damage the waterproofing with his knife.

4. The pebble border

As a rule of thumb,

  • if a roof has an upstand, it will need a pebble border to help drainage.  

pebble border on green roof

 

Kev has laid a 200mm border of pebbles all around the edge of the roof. - we normally recommend 300mm but this is a small roof.

Pebbles go on top of the water retention matting and the drainage mat

Never lay pebbles on top of Enviromat - it'll be a nightmare to weed!

 

 

 

pebbles on shaded area of green roof

 

The area between the roof light and the wall is quite narrow and probably shaded.

Kev covers it in pebbles

Narrow strips of Enviromat are best avoided because they dry out easily

Enviromat doesn't like growing in shade so Kev doesn't waste his time or  the customers' money by installing it where it won't survive.

 

5. How to lay Enviromat

Enviromat puts the green in green roofing.

This is the layer of plants and growing medium that provides the benefits of a green roof.  Beauty, insulation and wildlife habitat.

newly installed sedum roofEnviromat is supplied in pieces 1 metre wide by 2 metres long

Kev unrolls each piece and carefully places it on the roof

Each piece is butted up tight either to the pebble edging or to the next piece of Enviromat.

A bread knife is Kev's favourite tool for cutting Enviromat - he leaves the sedum matting rolled up and slices through the whole roll.

He spreads a thin layer of green roof growing medium over the joins to encourage the plants to grow over them as quickly as possible.

Job done.

new sedum roof

Enviromat have published a free guide to installing a sedum roof yourself
Download the free guide here
If you prefer to use our expert green roof installation service, you can contact Kev for a quote or find out how we can help 
]]>
Thu, 13 Feb 2014 12:04:37 +0000
<![CDATA[Which type of roofing is the most eco friendly]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/what-is-eco-friendly-roof/

Which is best? White roofs, green roofs, brown roofs or black roofs?

An article in the San Francisco Business Times in January 2014 described some research that suggests that white roofs are superior to green roofs when it comes to saving money.

The research was carried out at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Results showed that a simple white roof reflects 3 times as much sunlight as a green roof. By absorbing less energy from the sun, the roof stays cooler than a standard black roof and therefore doesn't heat the building up.  The cost of creating a white roof is less than the cost of creating a green roof and therefore, according to the researchers, a white roof offers better value for money.

In this blog post we compare and contrast different types of eco-roof to help you decide which is the best option for you.

What are all these different types of roof?

sedum roof

A well maintained green roof  pictured in early summer

Just as there is more than one way to design your living room, there are a myriad of different types of roof.  Thatched, tiled, slated, shingled, asphalt, EPDM, fibre glass, vegetated.....the list goes on.

Broadly speaking, a flat roof will fall into one of four categories; green, white, black or brown.

What is a green roof?

A green roof is what we call a roof, deck or terrace that has an intentionally planted layer of vegetation on it.

The green roof build up sits on top of conventional waterproofing.  It consists of a drainage layer, growing medium and then a layer of plants.

Depending on how strong the building is, the depth of growing medium and the type of planting can vary considerably.

Benefits of a green roof include insulation against heat, cold and noise, rainwater management, creation of wildlife habitat and help improving air quality.

What is a white roof?

white roofWhen a roof is treated with light reflecting material, it is known as a white roof.  It works on the principal that light colours, particularly white, are very poor at absorbing light energy from the sun.  Just as white clothes keep us cooler in summer time, white roofs help keep a building cool on hot days.

Research has shown that white roofs are cheaper to build than green roofs and are just as effective at reducing the need for air conditioning inside a building.

white roof: pic from www.daisygreenmagazine.co.uk

What is a black roof?

This is easy - a black roof is one with standard waterproofing but no reflective coating and no vegetated layer.  It has no particular advantages over any green, white or brown roofs apart from availability, cheapness and familiarity.

What is a brown roof?

brown roofA brown roof is similar to a green roof in many ways.  Certainly green and brown roofs have similar benefits.

Typically, building a brown roof involves using growing media and seeds that are sourced from the site – or very close by it.  The idea is to recreate local habitat on top of the building.

Compared to green roofs, brown roofs are typically around £10 to £12 per square meter cheaper to install. However, it is worth remembering that it takes around three years for a brown roof to establish itself. During this time, they require a considerable amount of maintenance compared to green roofs and so will cost more in this initial period. Once the brown roof has matured though, it becomes fairly self-sufficient and maintenance is kept to a minimum.

Brown roof: picture from www.urbanhabitats.org 

Which type of roof is the most Eco friendly?

Economically, white roofs have been proven to give the best return on investment over a 50 year period IN THE USA.  To my knowledge, there has been no equivalent research done in the UK where weather conditions tend to be very different.

However, as Nanny Brown used to tell me, money isn’t everything.

Table 1 compares at the eco-friendly features of different types of roof

 

White roof

Green Roof

Brown Roof

Black Roof

Summer cooling

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Winter insulation

No

Yes

Yes

No

Rainwater management

No

Yes

Yes

No

Improves air quality

No

Yes

Yes

No

Wildlife habitat

No

Yes

Yes

No

Extends life of waterproofing (less waste to landfill)

No

Yes

Yes

No

Instant greening (for aesthetic and biodiversity

No

Yes

No

No

score

1/7

7/7

6/7

0/7

 

Here we see that black roofs are a no-no in terms of eco-friendliness.  Their only redeeming quality is that if they are on a suitable building they can be retrofitted with a green or brown roof when budget allows.

White roofs, at least for the UK climate are a partial compromise and will probably save money on air conditioning but do not benefit air quality or biodiversity.

Brown roofs and green roofs are the most eco-friendly by far. 

Where can I learn more about designing and building a green roof?

green roof design guideEnviromat have created a downloadable document entitled “Designing for Maintenance”.

Designing for Maintenance discusses the factors involved in creating a living green roof.  The document explains how to minimise the cost and maximise the benefits of a green roof by choosing the right build up for the building and by implementing a suitable maintenance regime.

The document is free and can be downloaded from www.enviromat.co.uk/green-roof-design-guide

Or, contact Q Lawns on 01842 828266 for more information

Download Designing for Maintenance

]]>
Thu, 30 Jan 2014 10:16:27 +0000
<![CDATA[How to put a green roof on your bird table]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/how-to-put-a-green-roof-on-a-bird-table/

Put some plants on the roof on your bird table to attract butterflies and turn the neighbours green with envy

bird on green roofA living roof can turn a plain old bird feeder into something truly remarkable. A layer of sedum plants atop the bird table is ever so pretty, creates a real talking point and will also attract butterflies and bees when it’s in flower.

This is a brilliant way to use up any offcuts left over from making a green roof on your shed.

What do I need?

  1. A sturdy bird table with a  “roof” on it
  2. A length of timber around 5 cm deep
  3. Protective wood stain
  4. 1 square metre of heavy duty polyethene
  5. 1 square metre of Drainage matting (only needed for flat roofs)
  6. 1  square metre of Water retention mat
  7. 1 square metre of Enviromat sedum matting
  8. Green roof feed
  9. Measuring tape
  10. Sharp knife and heavy duty scissors
  11. Watering can
  12. An hour or so of your time

 

Use the timber to create an edging all the way around the roof – this will stop the wind lifting and shifting the sedum matting.  You will end up with a tray on top of the roof which needs to be around 5cm deep.

Drill holes in the edging approximately 1 cm from the bottom – to allow excess water to drain away. 

Treat the timber with a protective wood stain.

cutting through water retention matMeasure the roof and cut the polyethene, the drainage mat (if needed), the water retention mat and the Enviromat to the right size.

Always cut components before putting them on the roof – you don’t want to be slicing through the waterproofing!

 

 

 

 

 

green roof build upAdd the green roof build up to the top of the bird table in the following order

  1. Polyethene – to protect the bird table against root damage
  2. Drainage mat – you only need this on a flat roof. 
  3. Water retention mat – to help the plants cope with a drought
  4. Enviromat sedum matting

Water thoroughly to settle the plants in

Put in a nice sunny spot, load it up with bird food and watch the birdies enjoy their new café

This project could also be adapted to suit a rabbit hutch, dog kennel or even a bee hive.

rabbit hutch with green roofgreen roof on beehivegreen roof kennelThis project could also be adapted to suit a rabbit hutch, dog kennel or even a bee hive.

buy sedum matting

Download our free guide to creating a living green roof

]]>
Tue, 14 Jan 2014 11:07:43 +0000
<![CDATA[Five jolly good reasons to make a green roof in 2014]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/five-reasons-for-putting-a-green-roof-on-a-shed/

Why put a green roof on your garden shed?

Wet, wet, wet, that’s the only way to describe the tail end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.  Some parts of Britain have seen awful floods and the forecast is for still more rain and maybe some snow later this month.

Still, at least it means we won’t be subjected to hosepipe bans this summer.

While it’s too wet to be working in the garden, sensible gardeners are making plans for spring.  Seed catalogues are being perused, measurements are being taken and prices are being gathered for features such as patios, wild flower meadows and fencing. 

If you are one of the planners, why not include a green roofing project for 2014?

A living green roof is both pretty and practical.  It has many benefits for you, your garden, the wildlife in your garden and indeed for the environment as a whole.  Here are just five reasons to put a green roof on your garden shed in 2014.

1.Provide food for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects

small tortoishell butterfly on sedum2013 was a great year for pollinating insects.  The long hot summer saw an increase in the number of butterflies we saw in our gardens and although the late spring wasn’t great for honeybees, bumble bees and solitary bees, they soon caught up with themselves when the sun came out.

 

This year, many of our top garden designers are predicting that wildlife gardening and planting for pollinators will be high on the list of priorities for householders.  Great news for biodiversity!

 

Not every garden has room for a patch of wild flowers, a buddleia bush or a nectar laden fruit tree but nearly every garden has at least one shed/summerhouse/garden office/den.  A garden building with a carefully designed green roof can be just as valuable to pollinating insects as any herbaceous border.

Having flowers in bloom over a long period of time and in a relatively undisturbed location is just what butterflies, bees and hoverflies need to ensure the survival of their species.   If this nectar plot is fairly self-sustaining – which it needs to be if it’s on a roof – then the householder cum gardener will have very little work in maintaining the area and all the pleasure of having a beautiful and wildlife-friendly garden feature.

It’s a win-win situation for people and insects.

 2. Insulate your building so that you can use it more often

home insulationIf your summerhouse is anything like my summerhouse, You can’t use it during the winter months (too cold) or during the summer months (too hot).  I would imagine that similar levels of comfort also apply to a guinea pig hutch or a chicken coop in extreme temperatures, so this blogpost is relevant to animal housing as well as recreational spaces for people.

A living green roof is one of the oldest and most effective ways of insulating a building so that it stays warmer for longer in winter and cooler for longer in the summer.  The Vikings used green roofing on their dwellings and for good reason.  They had no central heating and relied on wood fire and good insulation for their comfort and survival.

In Nottingham Trent University, experiments compared the temperature beneath the membrane of standard roofs and living roofs throughout the year.  They concluded that a green roof averaged 1.3 degrees cooler than the air and a whopping 15 degrees cooler than a standard roof in the summer time.  In winter, the green roof was 4.5 degrees warmer than the standard roof and 4.7 degrees warmer that the air.

That’s pretty impressive, and when you consider that every 0.5 degree C can reduce electricity use for air conditioning by 8% - we’re talking some healthy savings on fuel bills too.

3. Make the neighbours jealous with a stunningly beautiful building

Image is everything.  We all of us garden for different reasons; as therapy, to grow food, to help local wildlife or because no one else in the house wants to do it. Nevertheless, whatever the reason, whatever our personal taste and whatever the main function of the garden, most of us want it to be admired.  A living green roof on a shed, garage or even a bin store, is guaranteed to  generate plenty of oooohs and ahhhhhs.

A green roof is also rather good at softening the lines of a garden building and help it to blend in to the landscape.

green roof on shepherds hutI recall the case of a lady from Fakenham in Norfolk who is lucky enough to have a beautiful garden overlooking meadows.  The lady, let's call her Sarah for I don't recall her name, is a keen and talented textile artist who, feeling the need to have a creative space separate from the home, built a light and airy summerhouse at the end of the garden where her sewing machine, fabric stash, threads and paraphernalia could live in peace.

But oh dear, her neighbours were not amused. They considered that the building spoilt their view. They were accustomed to looking out of their upstairs windows across green gardens, fields, meadows and hedgerows.  All of a sudden, BOOOM the view was interrupted by a white painted building with an asphalt roof. Not great. Until of course, Sarah had the sense to "hide" the building beneath a green roof. Now, viewed from above, the building is far easier on the eye and as far as I know, harmony has been restored.

 

 4. Preserve your waterproofing and help the shed last longer

While researching this article I read that In Noth West Europe alone, 500,000 tonnes of bitumous materials - mainly roofing felt - end up in landfill or incinerators every year. That's about 25,000 article loads. Scary!

The two main culprits for the failure of roofing felt are UV light and fluctuating temperatures. A green roof protects against both of these phenomena as well as that old favourite ... Mechanical damage from hobnail boots wandering about on a roof while the wearer inspects or maintains the roof or accesses roof lights, adjoining buildings, air conditioning units, Christmas lights etc.

Here's a graph showing how the temperature of waterproofing membrane changes throughout the dayon a green roof.  You can see how the green roof build up helps smooth out those peaks and troughs thus reducing the stress on the fabric of the waterproofing.

graph of temperature fluctation on a green roof

this graph is from Miami Science museum and shows how the roof membrane is protected from daily peaks and troughs in the temperature.

A green roof will double, maybe even treble the life of the waterproofing on a shed.  Not only will that save you from the cost of replacing the roofing felt......it will considerably reduce the amount of building materials that go into landfill.

 

5.Help prevent flooding

flooding in suffolk old postcode

Flooding is not a new phenomenon in this country as you can see from this
old postcard  but it certainly feels as though 'its happening more often

I live on top of a hill within half a mile of the Norfolk fens - which, thanks to an 18th century Dutchman and the modern day Environment Agency, are very well drained. I read news stories of flooded homes and businesses, animals lost, cars swept away by flash floods and I count my blessings for my home is unlikely to be affected in this way.

As a society we always seem to blame "them" for the country's inability to cope with rain, snow, drought or anything vaguely water-related.  I have no idea who "they" or "them" might be.....maybe government agencies, local authorities, planners, or the emergency services, I don't know. But maybe it's time to stop relying on nameless, faceless officials and for each of us to do a little something towards communal water management.

The practice of paving over front gardens to make car parking space (or easy care gardens) should take some of the blame for inefficient water management.  Rainwater can't soak in to concrete and so it makes it's way into the nearest drain. The drains become overwhelmed for they were built when gardens were soil based and there were far fewer building, roads, car parks and pavements in the country. When the drains are full and the ground is impermeable there is nowhere for the water to go, so it stays on the surface.  Simple.

But what if our roofs were absorbent? Surely this would offset some of the difficulties caused by impermeable ground. Well, green roofs are absorbent. A living green roof can soak up somewhere in the region of 80% of the rainwater that falls on it and once the roof is saturated, excess rainwater will drip or trickle onto the ground or into the gutter. Compare that to having gallons of water gushing off rooftops during a storm and it's not hard to imagine how much easier it is for drainage systems to cope with green roof runoff than with standard roof runoff.

green roof and natural lawn green roofs and grass lawns allow rainwater to drain away as nature intended

Another benefit of green roofing is that pollutants are filtered out of the runoff before they reach water courses.  All good stuff.

More green roofs = more benefits

Putting a green roof on just one shed won't prevent flooding in this country.  Just as recycling newspapers from just one household won't stop global warming and using washable nappies for one baby won't relieve landfill from a deluge of disposables.  But if almost everyone did it, what a difference it would make.

 Intrigued?

Click here to see some more photographs of green roof sheds

 

Find out how to create a green roof on your shed

 

Calculate the cost of installing a sedum green roof

 

Email Angela with any questions you may have

 

]]>
Tue, 07 Jan 2014 09:34:31 +0000
<![CDATA[Christmas closing dates at Enviromat]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/christmas-closing-dates-at-enviromat/ Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 
from all of us at Enviromat

Enviromat Christmas Tree

Robert, Ben, Angela, Chris, Kev, Mark, Debs, Kate, Becca and Kelly wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a thoroughly successful New Year.

Christmas Closing Dates at Enviromat 

The office is going to be closed between 

12 Noon on Friday 20th December 2013

and

7am on Thursday 2nd January 2014

Contacting us during the Festive Period

Email Angela who will reply as soon as she can

or

send us a message via Twitter or Facebook

Follow Us

]]>
Fri, 20 Dec 2013 12:06:10 +0000
<![CDATA[Ground cover plants]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/ground-cover-plants/

Plants v paving? which is best for a low maintenance garden?

Looking for ideas to make garden maintenance a whole lot easier?  I’ll wager that the first thing that popped into your head was either hard landscaping (paving, decking etc) or some sort of aggregate (slate, gravel, pebbles etc)

paved alleyway

What about if there was a way to cover the soil, keep mud at bay and impress the neighbours without having to spend hours and hours every year on weeding, mowing, deadheading and pruning?

Carefully chosen ground cover plants can do just that.

Three reasons why ground cover plants are better than paving

  1. Allow for natural drainage.

Flash flooding is an annual hazard in some parts of the UK.  Part of the blame can be attributed to people paving over their front gardens for car parking space and building patios round the back for seating and eating areas.  Hard landscaping isn’t as good at absorbing rainwater as a good old English lawn and as our fields and meadows are replaced by homes and roads, there is less and less soil to soak up the rain.  The drains can’t cope with the onslaught of water and so they overflow, making life difficult for anyone who lives and works in their vicinity.

Most of us need to park the car somewhere and most of us want to be able to eat outside when the weather is fit.  Not many of us want to wade through mud to get to the back door either so some hard landscaping is excusable.  But to concrete over the soil just to save work is a bit naughty in this day and age.  Some sort of soft landscaping using weed control membrane to save work is so much more sustainable. 

  1. Prevent soil erosion

I have a problem in my farmyard where every time it rains hard, the gravel and some of the soil beneath it washes out of the gate and down the hill.  This is soil erosion and it can be a downright nuisance.

Mother Nature has a cure for soil erosion.  Plants.  Plant roots work their way in between soil particles in the search for water and nutrients.  As they do so, they create a web or a net of fibrous roots that fixes the soil where it is and helps to stop it being washed away. 

Leaves and stems also help prevent soil erosion.  Picture yourself pouring water out of the spout of your watering can into a pot of soil.  The water will displace the soil, moving it around and maybe creating a sizeable hole.   Now picture yourself pouring water out of the same watering can but this time with a rose (sieve-like thing) on the end of it.  It makes lots of little dents in the surface of the soil but is much less likely to wash it away.  That’s because the water is broken up into smaller droplets.

When rainwater falls on the soil it can displace it.  But, when rainwater falls onto a leaf or a stem, it bounces slightly and breaks into smaller droplets.  The smaller droplets bounce too and so they become even smaller.  By the time they filter down to the soil they’re too teeny weeny to do a lot of damage so the soil stays put.

3.Supporting wildlife

bumble bee on sedum plantA paving stone has very little attraction for an insect…apart from it being a nice place for sunbathing and drying out newly hatched wings.

A plant on the other hand is likely to have flowers that are rich in pollen and nectar for food.  It provides shade from the sun and shelter from the wind.  There’s a good chance it’ll have nooks and crannies for nesting and/or laying eggs and the leaves may well be an important food source for your babies.

Plants support insects and insect lavae that happen to be tasty treats for songbirds and small mammals.

More topical though, some ground cover plants such as sedums, thyme or bugle produce large numbers of nectar rich flowers that are invaluable to our honey bees, bumble bees, moths and butterflies.

Oh – and here’s a fourth reason for having ground cover plants instead of  paving…they look lovely!

Favourite ground cover plants

My own favourite ground cover plants are the ones that spread quickly, flower profusely  and need very little attention.

wild thyme in flower

Thyme

Thyme is available in most garden centres and the little plants are usually quite affordable. The ones with variegated leaves are particularly pretty.

cotoneaster with red leaves

Cotoneaster

Some varieties of cotoneaster have a low, spreading growth habit and are just perfect for ground cover when they’re planted through a weed membrane.  I have a couple of these plants in my garden and they never fail to delight with beautiful autumn colour, vibrant berries for the birds to eat and tiny flowers in the spring that are pretty unspectacular to look at but attract bees from miles around

sedum spurium

Sedum Spurium

Ooooooh I just love the flowers on this plant.  It’s an evergreen, so keeps its leaves all winter round.  It spreads quickly, doesn’t seem to be affected by any pests or diseases and the late summer flowers are a magnet to butterflies.  So easy and so beautiful.

 

sedum album flowers

Sedum album

Sedum album is a drought tolerant beauty that flowers early in the season with a mass of tiny pinky-white flowers.  When it’s in full bloom it looks as though the leaves have been covered in candy floss.  I love it.

 

 

sedum pulchellum

Sedum pulchellum

One of my favourite sedums because it’s a little bit quirky.  The flowers are a pretty pale pink and appear in late spring and again in early autumn – already I’m seeing plenty of value in this plant. But what I love most of all is the shape of the flower spike.  It kind of comes up from the leaves in a single stem that then divides into four fronds all of them covered in tiny star shaped flowers.  It looks just like an exploding firework and like all sedums is very easy to care for.

 

How to get quick results from ground cover plants

Waiting for tiny plug plants to spread out and give complete coverage of an area can take quite a bit of time…unless you can afford to buy lots and lots of plants and the time to put them all into the ground one buy one.

A good way to establish ground cover easily is to use sedum matting.  Sedum matting is often thought of as being a green roofing material but it actually adapts really well to ground use.  Provided that it’s placed in a sunny spot with good drainage, sedum matting will delight you all year round.

To find out more,  visit www.enviromat.co.uk or download this free guide on using sedum matting as ground cover

 

About using sedum matting for ground cover

Download the free guide

]]>
Thu, 19 Dec 2013 12:31:36 +0000
<![CDATA[TGA Members reflect and prepare]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/tga-members-reflect-and-prepare/ Members of the Turfgrass Growers Association (TGA) met last month to reflect on 2013 and prepare for the year ahead. TGA growers and trade members discussed the associations activities and heard from three eminent industry speakers - Jacob Tompkins, Managing Director of Waterwise; Dougie Robertson, West Ham United Football Club Head Groundsman and Dr Ruth Mann from STRI.

Looking back at the summer, TGA Chief Executive Tim Mudge commented: “We’ve had a busy year, with a fantastic Turf Show in July followed by a spell of hot, dry weather that pushed our ‘brown lawns are cool’ message to the top of the agenda." 

The was support from Waterwise's Jacob Tompkins who spoke about the global pressures on water supply and praised the ‘brown lawns’ campaign adding that TGA are key to educating consumers about using water responsibly. “Turf is a preferable surface to decking, slabs and artificial lawns,” he added. It plays an important part in water sensitive urban design, reducing heat and flood risks caused by run off, replenishing groundwater reserves and improving the wellbeing of residents.”

TGA Meeting

Dougie Robertson from West Ham United next revealed the challenges of maintaining turf in a high-pressure environment and detailed the innovations he uses to encourage grass growth in shaded areas. He explained how Hawk-Eye goal line technology works at Upton Park and discussed the club’s planned move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016.

Dr Ruth Mann from STRI concluded the speaker programme with a comprehensive update on the Sustainable Use, Machinery and Water Framework Directives, which affect the working practices of all those working in the turf and amenity sector. She explained how the new legislation will impact on growers and the end users of turf.

TGA will also send out their annual survey shortly, the results of which will form the basis of the discussions and speakers for the next TGA Members meeting in March.

The photo above shows TGA Chief Executive Tim Mudge (rear) with guest speakers (L to R) Dougie Robertson, Dr Ruth Mann, and Jacob Tompkins.

]]>
Mon, 16 Dec 2013 14:23:47 +0000
<![CDATA[Plants for front gardens]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/plants-for-front-gardens/

Ideas for a front garden

Who lives in a place like this?

The front garden presents householders with a myriad of garden design challenges.  Whilst the back garden is usually a private, personal space where no-one sees and no-one judges, the front of the house is on show for all the world to see. 

That little piece of England in front of a home is the public persona of a house, and its occupants.  If you’re thinking of selling the property, first impressions are everything.  An unkempt garden can so easily devalue your home. Conversely, a well maintained garden will increase kerb appeal and may even boost the buying price a little.

Your front garden is the approach to the house that greets visitors before you do and it  offers an answer to the question “who lives in a place like this?” So from a human perspective, your front garden needs to reflect your own tastes and personality – which is difficult if it’s also a car park.

What to think about when designing a front garden

Any garden, but especially a front garden needs to be functional, attractive, affordable and manageable. In an ideal world it will also be sustainable, in tune with the environment and attractive to wildlife.  Questions to ask yourself include;

  • Will there be a hard standing for the car (or cars)? 
  • How important is privacy?
  • Does it need to provide shade for the house or let in as much light as possible?
  • Should it be toddler proofed?
  • Will the pets be using the garden?
  • How long each week/month/season do you want to spend caring for the garden?
  • Will you employ a gardener or are you happy to do the work yourself?

Remember that you are not the only one who uses your garden.  Front gardens have the potential to make amazing wildlife corridors and of course the more plants you have, the more you are doing to improve air quality.  Don’t forget too that soil and soft landscaping is so much better at absorbing rainfall than hard surfaces.  A lawn, a flower bed or a shrubbery can take an awful lot of the strain off our overworked drains.

None of the above need to be labour intensive if you don’t want them to be;  Personally I love fiddling about in the garden and if I’m in the front garden I get to chat to neighbours and passers-by too, but I can empathise with anyone who doesn’t like gardening (I feel the same way about housework).

Practicality matters

I share a front garden with our neighbour and a constant source of irritation is that delivery folks tend to trip accross the lawn to get from Bob's door to my door and vice-versa.  They've gradually carved out a compacted track accross the grass sward that never ever looks attractive. Next spring, I shall mostly be putting some stepping stones down so that the poor lawn gets less of a battering.

How about planting a native hedge?  You can control what height it reaches so it can give you privacy, or it can stay low enough to let the light in your windows.  More importantly it has the potential to provide nectar for pollinating insects, laval food for butterflies, nesting spots and autumn berries for the birds and a wonderful place to shelter for hedgehogs and other small mammals.   Use a weed control membrane when you’re planting and the only work a native hedge will generate is a quick trim in late autumn to keep it at the height you want it to be.

Climbing plants are brilliant.  I’m a great fan of ivy, especially at this time of year when I cut pieces off to add to my Christmas decorations in the house.  Ivy flowers when there are very few other sources of winter food for bees and late flying moths and it’s one of the most self-sufficient plants there is.  It doesn’t take up much space – because it grows upwards – and it doesn’t need lots of attention.  If you’re nervous about growing it up the side of your house, let it twist around a pole instead, or, buy one of those wire topiary frames and really make a feature of it.

Take a look at http://www.gardeningdelights.com/topiary-frames/wild-animal-topiary-frames.html for inspiration.

hanging basket lined with sedum

Plants in containers

I’m rubbish at hanging baskets and container gardening, I always forget to water them but if you have a better memory than me, they can provide such a lot of colour, nectar and interest at any time of year.  

A hanging basket lined with sedum matting. This
will stay green all year round and can have all sorts
of plants added to it. 

Ground cover

sedum mat with paving stonesIf the hard standing for the car really is essential, why not remove the paving stones where the wheels never run and slot in a piece of sedum matting?  Its low growing, easy maintenance and will flower beautifully all summer long.  Butterflies and bees are attracted to sedum plants like little magnets.

Traditionally, front gardens all had well-tended lawns.  I remember it was always my Dad’s job to cut the lawn on a Sunday morning.  He had an old Qualcast push mower and was forever competing with Mr Bird at number 11 and Mr Rowsell at number 13 to have the best looking lawn.  Nowadays Mr Bird and Mr Rowsell are tending the big lawn in the sky and neither neighbour seems to be quite as fastidious about gardening as those two elderly gents were but at least none of them have concreted over their lawns yet. 

Lawns seem to be out of favour with the trendy garden designers but you know, they’re really not that bad.  Blackbirds love foraging for worms on a close-cut lawn and as long as the grass plants are fed, mown regularly and occasionally spot-treated for weeds, they’re not as labour intensive as people are led to believe.  They certainly give a property an air of maturity and make it look loved far more than brickweave ever can.

If there isn’t room for a lawn and a car, why not put in some of those ecogrid tiles to reinforce the grass?  That way you can have your cake and eat it.  I must confess though, I have never tried carrying shopping bags across an ecogrid lawn whilst wearing heeled shoes and supervising a toddler…..it might not be practical for everyone!

pretty front garden with parkingI guess the point I’m trying to get across is that the front garden needn’t and shouldn’t be a sterile expanse of brickweave or gravel.  Do some research online, commission a garden designer (they’re not as expensive as you might think) and you can soon create a real talking point in front of your house without breaking the bank, or your back.

In an ideal world, what would you put in your front garden? 

 

 

 

A pretty front garden designed by Zinnia.  Note the hedge,
the climbing plants and mixed, bee-friendly planting.

 

Discover how Sedum matting can be used in a front garden
with our FREE guide to installing Enviromat on the ground.

Download the guide now 

 
]]>
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 12:36:30 +0000
<![CDATA[Check your Green Roof Loadings to avoid collapse]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/check-green-roof-weight-avoid-collapse/

Plan your Green Roof thoroughly and avoid tragedy

Some people are blaming the collapse of the supermarket roof in Latvia on the construction of a green roof and childrens’ playground on top of the building.

Over 50 people died in the incident and more were injured when the roof of the building caved in.  There is speculation that the structure may have been unable to support the large amount of building materials and soil that was believed to be on the roof at the time

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25068291

Robert Allen from Enviromat has been involved with growing sedum blankets and wild flower matting for green roofs for a decade, and in that time he has never heard of a green roof  collapsing under its own weight. 

“Plants, growing media and drainage layers, as well as the people installing and maintaining a green roof all add weight to the building.  On a sedum roof we’re talking about 60Kg per square metre just for the materials and on a wild flower roof, it can be upwards of 250Kg per square metre.  Common sense dictates that when you’re building a green roof, whether it’s on a garden shed or a supermarket, the extra loadings are calculated and the building is checked to make sure it will cope.  This is an awful tragedy but I hope to goodness it’s a one-off.  I’ve never heard of a similar incident in Britain and I hope I never do”

Benefits of a living green roof

insulated house

A living green roof brings with it a wealth of benefits. 

  • Insulation against heat, cold and noise – helping to keep fuel bills under control
  • Rainwater amelioration – helping to avoid overwhelming our drainage systems
  • Pollution control – the plants absorb “nasty’s” from the air and either turn them back into harmless substances or keep them locked up out of harm’s way.
  • Producing oxygen – the more plants we have, the better as far as I can see.
  • Improving the view – who wants to look out onto a boring expanse of waterproofing?
  • Adding to biodiversity – via the plants themselves and all of the creatures they attract and support.  We’re talking here about wildlife corridors, eco-systems, food chains and, in some cases, conserving rare breeds

 

Sensible green roof design leads to safer, more sustainable buildings

To shy away from green roofing just because of one incident would be a crying shame but this awful tragedy really does highlight the need to take a holistic approach to green roof design.  For example, the plant pallet which supports biodiversity is in turn supported by the growing medium.  The depth of growing medium determines the loading that the "green" exerts on the roof.  A shallow rooted plant will be happy in shallow growing medium which weighs less while something like wild grasses need more growing medium which makes for a heavier loading.

Designers need to consider a green roof from the ground up.  Asking questions such as

  • Is the building suitable? 
  • Can materials be safely lifted on to the roof?
  • Do the contractors know how to spread the weight while they’re working? (piling all the materials in one spot while they’re waiting to be installed is asking for trouble and may have contributed to the Latvian disaster)
  • How much will this roof weigh when it’s saturated with water and the plants are fully grown?
  • Has live-loading been factored in? 
  • Is this the right depth of growing media for the plant pallet?
  • Are the right plants being put in the right place?

 

creating a green roof

There are lots of things to think about in green roof design and all of them are important; especially if you are keen for the roof to be as self-sustaining as possible.

The growers of Enviromat have produced a white paper entitled “Green roofs: Designing for maintenance”.

In it, there are hints and tips on green roof loadings, optimum roof pitch, plant selection and maintenance programs.

The guide is available as a free download from www.enviromat.co.uk/green-roof-design-guide or, email angelal@qlawns.co.uk if you would prefer to receive a copy in the post.

 

Download green roof design guide


How to make a green roof

]]>
Wed, 27 Nov 2013 13:09:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Laying Turf in Winter]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/laying-turf-in-winter/

Many are surprised to learn that turf can be harvested and laid all year round. It is actually advantageous to avoid extended periods of hot and dry summer weather which require additional care and regular watering. If there is an optimum time to lay turf then it is early autumn when the soil is moist and the predictable frequent rainfall will help establish it. However, we are not saying you can’t lay turf during the winter months and laying in winter still gives your turf plenty of time to settle and root before spring arrives. You will not normally be required to water the newly laid turf in the winter, saving time and money plus the turf rolls keep longer in colder, damp conditions before needing to be laid, up to three days, more if frozen.

Even frost is not detrimental to the turf. Although turf can't be harvested or laid on frozen ground it doesn't do any damage to it once it has been laid. The fact that turf is unaffected by frozen conditions means even if your turf roll freezes it will keep for days or even weeks and once the frost has lifted can be laid as normal on to thawed ground. If you order shortly before a freeze we will be happy to postpone your order as long as the turf has not been harvested or despatched.

]]>
Tue, 19 Nov 2013 15:52:39 +0000
<![CDATA[Sedum mat for pond edging]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/sedum-mat-for-pond-edging/ How to use Enviromat as Pond Edging

It’s difficult to find plants to use around the edge of a pond.  Particularly if you want them to hide the pond liner, attract wildlife, refrain from dropping seeds, leaves and debris into the water and look lovely all year round with the minimum of attention from you.

Provided the pond in question is in a sunny spot, sedum matting fulfils all of those criteria.

pond edging

My lovely Brother (who my children call “Auntie Dave”) put a little pond in for me as a Christmas present one year.  It’s beautiful, tucked around the corner from the summerhouse with a little fountain and some twinkly lights.  It’s also home to two frogs and a myriad of insects and it gets visited by blackbirds, sparrows, blue tits et al.  I love it.

The landscaping however fell on my shoulders and there was I with a hole full of water edged by a 60cm width of butyl pond liner.  I couldn’t cut it or remove it – because then the pond would collapse – and it’s in such a place that it would have been difficult to lay paving around it.   Hmmm a conundrum.

Then I remembered sedum matting.  It’s normally thought of as green roofing material, but actually adapts well to being used on the ground.  The plants already have as much growing medium as they need so there’s no need to dig a hole or add extra soil. It does need to be installed properly – as if it was on a roof but the low growing plants are adored by butterflies and bees and they don’t drop leaves all over the place.

Avoiding weeding

how to use sedum mat as ground cover

Going to the extra expense of buying drainage mat and water retention along with the sedum matting seemed a bit daft, but actually it was a worthwhile investment.

If sedum mats are laid directly on the soil, any seeds that are dropped on to it by visiting wildlife can happily germinate and put their roots down into the earth for a ready supply of food and water. 

When the weeds are denied access to soil, a long dry summer will kill them off naturally.  Sedum plants on the other hand will normally survive a drought without too much fuss.

How to install Sedum matting on the ground

Lightly rake the soil and remove all sticks, stones and debris.

Cover the area with heavy gauge polyethene or butyl pond liner

Unroll a layer of drainage matting on to the poly.  This will prevent the plants becoming waterlogged.

Lay water retention matting on top of the drainage mat….all of these mats can be trimmed with scissors or a sharp knife, but take care not to damage the polyethene.

Your Enviromat sedum matting is the last layer to be installed.  It sits on top of the water retention matting.

Give everything a good soaking to settle it in and BINGO! Your pond is surrounded by a carpet of plants.

sedum mat around a pond

 

Sounds too good to be true?  believe me, it really does work!  You'll find some more photos and examples in this instruction leaflet from Enviromat.  

 

Download  Instruction Leaflet

]]>
Fri, 15 Nov 2013 10:31:09 +0000
<![CDATA[Green roof sheds]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roof-studio/ These two garden studios, photographed at different times of the year show just how a shed or summerhouse can be transformed with a living green roof.  

Just imagine how lovely these look when viewed from an upstairs window......far nicer than asphalt!

 

summerhouse with green roof

green roof shed

For more photographs of sheds with green roofs, please take a look at our gallery page

Visit our green roof gallery

Download our FREE green roof installation guide

]]>
Mon, 28 Oct 2013 11:28:00 +0000
<![CDATA[Designing a green roof with maintenance in mind]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/designing-a-green-roof/ Download our design guide and save green roof maintenance headaches

The growers of Enviromat sedum matting have published a new guide aimed at homeowners, garden designers, shed builders and landscape professionals who are thinking of installing a living green roof.

Entitled “designing for maintenance”  the guide is packed with useful advice on choosing green roof plants, the best depth for substrates, building strength, roof slopes,  and important maintenance issues.

Green roof maintenance should be a major design considerationhosepipe on green roof

All green roofs need a modicum of maintenance every year.  The amount of work involved depends on a combination of the plant species in place, the weather, physical features of the roof and it’s general condition.  Ensuring that green roof maintenance is as simple and economical as possible is something that really should be considered at the design stage.

Designing for Maintenance has been compiled using experiences from Robert Allen, Enviromat Production Manager and Kevin Docherty, Enviromat’s green roof installation and maintenance man.  Kevin carries out green roof maintenance on all types of green roof, all over the UK.

To download a free copy of the guide, simply log on to http://www.enviromat.co.uk/green-roof-design-guide, fill in the form and click on the button.

Don’t worry – Enviromat will never share any of your information with anybody else.

download green roof design guide 

Download the guide

Having problems with green roof maintenance?

email Kevin Docherty for advice or visit our web site

 

]]>
Fri, 18 Oct 2013 10:04:44 +0000
<![CDATA[Meadowmat competition]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/meadowmat-competition/ wildlife in meadowmatTo celebrate The Big Draw,  The growers of Meadowmat wild flower matting are running an art competition for children and adults.

The prizes are are a 91 piece boxed art set for the children (aged 13 and under) and a rather lovely box of paints, pencils, brushes etc for the adults.

Wildlife artist Kelly Mills from Feltwell in Norfolk has created a beautiful picture of Meadowmat with insects birds and mammals enjoying the flowers and leaves of the lovely native plants.

Entry to the competition is free and you certainly don’t need to buy any Meadowmat to be able to get your hands on the template.  

Simply log on to www.meadowmat.com/art-competition to download the picture, or telephone Angela Lambert on 01842 828266 to have a copy posted to you.

Enjoy!

 

Download the picture

click here for some inspirational photos of Meadowmat 

]]>
Thu, 17 Oct 2013 11:17:01 +0000
<![CDATA[Does my green roof need a pebble edging?]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/does-my-green-roof-need-a-pebble-edging/ A Question about Green Roof Edgings

I am about to order a Sedum roof for a new extension. The roof is flat with a 6 inch parapet/upstand. I’ve read the installation instructions and it all seems very straight forward however there is a reference to a pebble edge. Could you tell me if this is optional or mandatory? I won't be able to see the roof from the house so if it's just decorative I’ll give it a miss, however if it's essential for drainage I'd need a bit more detail about the width of the edge band
hope you can help
AG

 

Hello There

pebble edge on sedum roof

 

On a small sedum roof the pebble edge can have 3 functions.

  1. Drainage – it helps to channel excess water away from the roof and makes it easier to prevent plants from blocking drainage outlets
  2. Protects the edges of the sedum mat against the wind and against drying out
  3. Aesthetics – gives a nice neat edge to the roof. 

Common sense dictates that a pebble edge is not a good idea on a sloping roof – the last thing anyone needs is for the rocks to be dislodged and fall to the ground!

On a flat roof however, whether or not to have a pebble edge is a matter of taste rather than necessity.  If the green roof area is 50m2 or less, and is definitely not prone to puddling after heavy rain, then the drainage aspect shouldn’t be a problem…..just be sure that drainage outlets are always kept clear of vegetation and debris.

sedum roof without pebble edgingYou have a parapet that will protect against wind uplift and drying out so yes, for your roof the pebble edging is optional.  If you do decide to go for it though, it’s important that the sedum layer finishes before the pebbles begin.  Don’t try to put pebbles on top of the sedum matting – you will make yourself a whole lot of work weeding out the plants as they grow through it.

I hope this helps

For more information, why not download our FREE green roof installation guide

Download green roof installation guide

]]>
Tue, 15 Oct 2013 11:31:22 +0000
<![CDATA[Plants for a roof]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/plants-for-a-roof/ How to choose plants for a green roof and save yourself money

There are a myriad of different plants that are suitable for a green roof, but which ones are they and will they be happy on YOUR green roof? Or will they eventually need to be replaced at great expense?

Choosing the right plants for your green roof will ultimately save you a whole heap of money.   If the plants are happy with the micro-climate on your green roof and with the maintenance regime you can reasonably manage, they should be virtually self-sustaining so that you won’t need to keep re-seeding or re-planting at great expense.

Factors affecting plant choice

Depth of growing medium.  

grass on roofPlants need growing medium to anchor their roots, to provide water and to provide nutrients (and this must be a specially engineered green roof substrate, not ordinary topsoil or compost).  Depending on the root system and the plants’ nutritional requirements, some species will need a deeper substrate layer than others. For example, sedums are very shallow rooted and are content to live in 2cm on substrate.  Wild flowers and grasses need at least 10cm. 

Why does this matter?  The substrate will add extra weight to the roof.  The deeper the growing medium, the heavier it will be.  If your roof is not super-sturdy you may need to limit your plant choice to sedums or sempervivums.  If the building will take a great weight, you have a greater range of plants to choose from.

Sunlight or shade?

If your roof is shaded by trees or by other buildings you will need to choose shade tolerant plants such as woodland bulbs (bluebells, aconites etc), woodland grasses, red or white dead nettle and primrose.  Shade tolerant plants are most likely to flower in spring and tend to offer foliage rather than colour for most of the year. 

On a sunny roof, bear in mind that the temperature on the roof is likely to be at least a couple of degrees higher than the temperature on the ground; It will also be more exposed to drying winds, and therefore the plants on a sun baked green roof either need to be very drought tolerant, or they will need an irrigation system. 

Sedums are adapted to living in dry conditions where the soil is thin or poor and so they make a great choice for roof plants.  As do most hardy alpines such as meadow saxifrage and some of Mediterranean herbs such as thyme that will withstand frost.

NB if there are overhanging deciduous trees, be prepared to clear away fallen leaves in the autumn.

green roof irrigationIrrigation on the roof. 

If you are wanting soft-leaved plants that are prone to wilting in hot dry conditions, make sure you have irrigation available, especially if you have cut it fine on the substrate.  Irrigation needn’t be a super-sophisticated system.  It could just be yourself with a hosepipe….but be sure at the planning stage that you will have the time and the energy to water your roof should you need to.

Aspect. 

The higher the roof, the more exposed it will be to the weather.  If you have a tall building in a windy spot, choose plants that are low-growing (so they don’t get buffeted and scorched by the wind) and drought tolerant.  They’ll also need to be frost hardy.

Maintenance requirements. 

If you like gardening, have plenty of time and can access the roof safely and easily then maintenance should be no problem to you.  If, on the other hand it’s not practical for you, or a contractor, to be on the roof more than once or twice a year, choose plants that don’t need strimming, pruning, vast quantities of feeding, weeding or general care.  Remember though, that any green roof will need maintenance at least once a year.  That’s a feed, weed and clear out drainage outlets.

>more about green roof maintenance

Establishment.

 How soon do you want your green roof to be entirely green?  Can you wait for seeds or plug plants to establish or do you want the instant coverage of a sedum mat?  Is your substrate layer deep enough to plant into? Do you have irrigation to keep seeds moist until they get a good start

Colour. 

 Once you have determined which species will actually survive on your roof, then you can look at the colour pallet. 


green roof design guideFor more information on choosing green roof plants that will survive long-term with a sensible amount of TLC, download our FREE booklet, “Designing for Maintenance”.  You will also find advice on access, loadings, maintenance regimes and troubleshooting.

Download Free Guide

]]>
Mon, 14 Oct 2013 08:38:47 +0000
<![CDATA[How to build a green roof on a shed]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/how-to-build-a-green-roof-on-a-shed/ A sedum green roof shed

green roof shed

With thanks to Linda B who sent us this photograph of her green roof shed.   Linda downloaded the green roof installation guide from the Enviromat website and followed the instructions faithfully to create this green-topped wonder.

Can't wait for spring time - hopefully we'll have some pictures of the roof in full bloom.  Lovely.

Download our Free Guide to installing a sedum green roof

Send us pictures of your own project

]]>
Tue, 01 Oct 2013 10:15:55 +0000
<![CDATA[Troubleshooting on green roofs]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/troubleshooting-on-green-roofs/ Green Roof Maintenance in Autumn

Summer 2013 was a challenging year for many sedum roofs.  Sedums are a brilliant choice for green roofing because they are drought tolerant and can withstand high temperatures, but this summer was challenging even for such well adapted plants.

Problems arising from the dry summer

grass on green roofAt Enviromat we tend to discourage people from over-watering their sedum roofs.  In general, we find that over relatively short periods of time, too little water is better than too much.  An excess of water or nutrients will result in weeds and grasses thriving on the roof and spoiling the visual effect.  However, the long, hot dry days during summer 2013 have left some sedum roofs stressed out.


Weeds and grass are often a result of
over-watering a sedum roof 


Drought stress

sedum roof in summerSedums are very good at coping with drought due to a special metabolism that is unique to plants from the crassulacae family.  Typically, in drought conditions, a sedum plant will change from being green leaved, vibrant and succulent to having browny-red coloured foliage and small, tight, bead-like leaves.  This is perfectly normal and the plant will go back to its robust self when the weather is more friendly.

If however, the leaves look dried, wrinkled or baggy – like a deflated balloon – the plants are in trouble and need a good soaking to help them out of a muddle.

A typical sedum roof after prolonged drought

Other summer problems

If plant coverage has disappeared over the summer either all over or in large patches, then there may be a problem with nutrient levels or with red spider mite.

Autumn Feeding

While the weather is still mild, plants are quite capable of taking in the nutrients they need to help them survive the winter months.  Apply Nutrifusion Green Roof Feed in September, particularly if your roof was not fed during spring or summer.  But beware, after September there is a risk that this formulation may result in excessive growth that is less frost-hardy than it ought to be.  If in doubt – contact our expert.

Red Spider Mite

These small but voracious pests are more frequently associated with greenhouses because they like hot dry conditions.   Unfortunately, conditions on a green roof this summer have emulated the environment inside a hothouse, and on some roofs, particularly pitched roofs that are super-dry, the sedum plants have been attacked.

Symptoms of red spider mite include dry-looking roofs with very poor plant coverage, sorry looking vegetation and if you get really really close you can see very small creatures scurrying across the substrate.  You may also notice fine white webs – like miniature spider webs on the roof.

If you think you have Red Spider Mite, the best treatment is to water the roof really well every day for at least a fortnight to get rid of the mites.

If you have any worries at all about your green roof, please don’t hesitate to contact us for free advice. 

 

Contact our Green Roof Maintenance department

Order Green Roof Feed

 

]]>
Tue, 10 Sep 2013 09:38:50 +0000
<![CDATA[The healing power of green roofs]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/healing-power-of-green-roofs/ Green roofs for good health

Doctors and nurses have long been aware of the fact that poorly people who have views of green vistas, plants and living landscapes recover from their illnesses quicker than those looking out at brick walls and bare roofs.  Access to green space is also helpful for their friends and relatives who are understandably stressed at having a loved one incapacitated.  Hospitals are not nice places at the best of times.

But what of hospitals where space is limited and high-rise wards are the norm?  stepping out of a door into a healing garden is probably not possible, but in Germany’s Diakonie-Klinikum and at the Mercy Medical Centre in Baltimore green roofs have been created so that patients can at least have a green outlook, even if they’re not able to physically access a healing garden.

green roofs in german hospital

Hospital green roofs from the patient's perspective

Landscape Architecture student Kevan Busa studied for his qualification whilst in hospital receiving treatment for leukemia.  Kevan completed his final project on the healing potential of landscape design from a patient’s perspective.   Highlighted in the June 2013 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, Kevan explains the frustration of a poorly designed healing space.  “A visit to an outdoor garden is out of the question for many patients” Busa wrote “the solution may be gardens that can be experienced from indoors, through glass.  This idea may not sound terribly inviting, but it is a far preferable alternative to 100 days of brick walls.”

Healing roofs at home

Enviromat’s Angela Lambert has personal experience of the value of a green roof to poorly people.  Angela’s mother has back problems that mean she cannot always tackle the stairs in her Hertfordshire home.  Sometimes she gets stuck upstairs (there’s no downstairs loo) for hours at a time where she occupies herself by watching the comings and goings of butterflies, bees and other wildlife on the green roof of the shed that her bedroom window overlooks.  “The green roof is far more interesting to watch than daytime TV and helps Mum feel connected with her beloved garden even when she can’t get out of doors” says Angela

]]>
Fri, 30 Aug 2013 10:43:18 +0000
<![CDATA[Plan and plant it; sedum green roof]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/plan-and-plant-sedum-green-roof/ Plan it Plant it: green roofs

Autumn is a brilliant time of year for planning and planting a sedum roof.  A sedum roof will insulate a garden building against cold, protect the waterproofing from frost damage and provide overwintering quarters for a wide range of minibeasts.

If installed in the autumn, a green roof will settle and establish itself over the winter months ready to burst into growth next spring.

alan titchmarsh and sedum roof

Alan Titchmarsh creates a sedum roof for his "Love your Garden" TV Show

How to design a green roof for your shed

Designing a green roof combines the imagination of a garden designer with the structural knowledge of an architect.

First and most important step is to make sure that the roof is strong enough to support the plants and their growing medium.  If you are thinking of using sedum matting, then allow for a loading of 60Kg per square metre for the green roof build up with a bit more for live loading (that’s snow or someone walking on the roof to maintain it).  For a deeper layer of growing medium and a more diverse range of plants, the roof will need to be even stronger than that…..a 10-15cm deep layer of growing medium will weigh in the region of 250Kg per square metre.

Good plant choices for a green roof

sedum foliageNext, choose your plants wisely.  Think about how much material they’ll have to root into (deep rooted plants won’t like shallow growing medium), how big they will ultimately grow,  how much maintenance they’ll need and whether they’ll enjoy the conditions on the roof….remember that the higher off the ground you are, the stronger the wind, hotter the sun and colder the frost will be.

Is there irrigation on the roof?  Will the plants you’re thinking of cope with drought?

 

 

sedums are great plants for green roofs

Are you considering a wildflower meadow?  If so, the grass will need mowing at least once a year, is the roof access good enough?

Good plants for 10 cm depth of growing medium are; sedums, sempervivums, thyme, sage, periwinkle, selfheal, common daisy, chives, yarrow, scabious, fescue grasses, hawkweeds, birdsfoot trefoil, and bugle.

For planting into a shallow rooting medium that will put less strain on the building, sedums, sempervivums and the very beautiful meadow saxifrage are excellent choices.

The simple way to make a green roof

There are many different ways to create a living green roof and many different plant species that will adapt themselves to life at a higher level but if you’re new to green roofing or looking for a quick and simple solution to the problem of how to prettify a garden shed, look no further than Enviromat’s green roof kits.

This green roof build up is easy to install, gives immediate plant coverage (there’s no waiting for seeds to germinate or plug plants to establish and spread), is one of the lightest systems on the market and is very competitively priced.

Simply choose between our pitched roof or flat roof options, select the right size and order online for delivery within 3 working days.   Full instructions come with the kit or you can download our guide to green roofing from the Enviromat website.

Creating your green roof in autumn will mean plenty of wintertime foliage followed by a beautiful floral display from late spring onwards, and the shed or summerhouse will be a little bit warmer and a little bit more useable during the chilly season.

 

Green Roof Kits

Download our green roof installation guide

]]>
Thu, 22 Aug 2013 10:04:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Edgings for green roofs]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/edgings-for-green-roofs/ Green roof edgings

 

The edging on a green roof is intrinsic to the success and the longevity of the entire green roof build up.  Whatever the panting plan, depth of growing medium, type of waterproofing or pitch,  a green roof edging of one kind or another is absolutely essential.

 
green roof with timber edginggreen roof with metal edging

green roof with a timber edging green roof with a metal edging


A good green roof edging should:

 

  • Neaten the appearance of the roof by hiding the build up
  • Prevent wind uplift
  • Allow excess rainwater to drain away
  • Help minimise slippage.
  • Be firmly fixed so that it cannot be dislodged during installation or maintenance
  • Be made from a material that matches or compliments the building.

 

A good green roof edging will not:

 

  • Damage the building or the waterproofing

 

How to make a timber edge for a green roof:

Here is a suggestion for a timber green roof edging on a pitched-roofed garden building where the roof is being made using an Enviromat green roof kit

 green roof edging in timber

  1. Ensure waterproofing is in place and in good condition
  2. Cover the waterproofing with a protective layer of polythene (or butyl pond liner) to protect it against root damage
  3. Using screws, Affix some wooden blocks to the edge of the roof.  We recommend that the blocks are at least 2cm thick and spaced evenly along the length of the building, approximately 50cm apart.  These are spacers to enable water to run off the roof without being obstructed by the edging.  Fixing them to the side of the roof ensures that the integrity of the waterproofing is not threatened.
  4. Fix a timber fascia board to the spacer blocks.  To be able to hide the Enviromat green roof build up, the fascia must rise at least 5cm above the surface of the roof.  Ideally, it will have been pressure treated or brushed with preservative before being fitted.
  5. If you wish, fix another board, at right angles to the fascia to help secure the green roof build up....this is more aesthetic than anything.
  6. Following the instructions that come with the Enviromat green roof kit, install your sedum roof being sure to tuck the layers underneath the top fascia as per the diagram below.

 

 

 

 For more help with creating a living sedum roof, why not download our green roof installation guide?

DOWNLOAD INSTALLATION GUIDE

]]>
Thu, 08 Aug 2013 10:02:20 +0000
<![CDATA[Green roof on a bus]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roof-on-a-bus/ Green Roofs on the move

Green roofs have long been hailed as a good solution to pollution and the urban heat island effect in cities and now their scope has been greatly expanded by a new eco-friendly bus that will absorb harmful CO2 emissions.

PhytoKinetic, a system developed by Landscape artist Marc Granen uses condensation from the vehicle’s air conditioning system to water the green roof.

green roof bus

His first green roof bus is being used to transport tourists to and from a nature and camping facility in Girona, Spain.  He has also completed a van with a PhytoKinetic roof.

Q Lawns lorries have a green roof painted onto their cabs to advertise Enviromat sedum matting so I asked our Transport Manager, Patrick, what he thought about adding real live green roofs to our vehicles.  I have to say that he was intrigued by the idea, loved the novelty value but was concerned that the extra weight of the green roof might have a detrimental effect on the trucks’ fuel consumption thus cancelling out all the environmental benefits that the green roof would afford as well as the ones that have been engineered into our lorries.

 

It would be fun though – maybe I’ll see if my husband will let me put plants on top of his tractor cabs. 

 

]]>
Wed, 07 Aug 2013 11:44:10 +0000
<![CDATA[Alan Titchmarsh builds sedum roof]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/alan-titchmarsh-builds-sedum-roof/ Love Your Garden with a Sedum Roof

In the episode of Love Your Garden, screened on 30th July 2013, Gardening Guru Alan Titchmarsh uses sedum matting to create a living green roof on a summer house.

Alan Titchmarsh on sedum roof

The brand of sedum matting wasn’t Enviromat – although Alan does regularly use Q Lawns turf, grown on the same farm as Enviromat on his program – but nevertheless it was good to see someone of Alan’s calibre creating a sedum roof on a garden building.

Alan and his team were transforming an unloved back garden into a colourful and interesting wildlife haven for Rhyanne Nixon, a lady who has been confined to a wheelchair by Motor Neurone disease.  The planting plan included all sorts of bee-friendly flowers, a green roof, a chicken run, a veg garden and a beautiful pond.  It’s amazing how much one can do in a small space – particularly when the plants are everywhere – including the roof.

If you would like a green roof on your shed or summerhouse, take a look at our “how to” video or download our free installation guide.

Video:  How to make a sedum roof on a shed

Download our FREE guide

]]>
Wed, 31 Jul 2013 08:27:50 +0000
<![CDATA[Hedges and ditches help wildlife]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/hedges-and-ditches-help-wildlife/ Hedgerow and ditch policy.

On our farms we have many miles of hedgerows and ditches. With careful management these provide a valuable habitat for lots of wildlife. They also provide “nature corridors”  linking woods and ponds together.

common mallow and biodiverse waterway

 

Our hedges are cut once every two years to allow fruiting and growth. This ensures half of our hedges carry wild fruits and berries through the winter to help wild birds. When we do cut our hedges it is done late in the season to ensure nesting time is over. We also leave verges and tracks uncut to allow wildflowers to grow. This then provides an ideal environment for insects and the wildlife which relies on them. English Partridge are a common site on our tracks as the verges and adjacent hedgerows provide many insects and cover for them and their chicks.

Every year in the Winter we fill in gaps in hedgerows with new plantings, and we have a plan in place to plant new hedges on field boundaries.

english partridgeMost of our ditches are protected by a 7 metre buffer strip each side. This is uncultivated and is left to regenerate with natural grasses and wild flowers. These have proved very valuable to reptile, mammal and bird life. Barn owls hunt these areas at night and on warm days grass snakes are often seen basking nearby.

For drainage purposes we clean ditches out, but by ensuring this work is carried out during Winter it minimises the impact on wildlife and allows the ditch banks to regenerate in the following Spring.

]]>
Wed, 24 Jul 2013 11:21:43 +0000
<![CDATA[2013 Butterfly Survey]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/2013-big-butterfly-survey/ small tortoiseshell on sedum

Conservation Counts

Butterflies and moths react swiftly to changes in their environment - so the weather, the availability of caterpillar food plants, pollution levels and human activities will all have an effect on butterfly numbers that can be measured quickly and relatively easily.

The charity, Butterfly Conservation, organises an annual butterfly count, which over a long period of time, will be able to monitor how different species of lepidoptera (the family name for butterflies and moths) are coping with any significant changes to their surroundings and this information will be used to help conserve these wonderful creatures and, of course, any other living things that share their habitats.  For if butterflies are in a muddle, it's a fair indication that birds (who eat caterpillars), small mammals and possibly even wild flowers are also struggling.

Take part in the Big Butterfly Count

To take part in this important survey, all you need to do is spend 15 minutes outdoors in the sun and record all the different butterfly species you see.  Upload your findings to the Big Butterfly Count website and that's it, you're done.  Simple.

Creating butterfly habitat

Butterflies in the UK are not generally fussy eaters and will benefit from any nectar rich flowers that you choose to plant.  Just make sure that the flower shape is such that nectar is easily accessible - so tulips for example are hopeless for butterflies because their wings won't fit inside the flower, sedums on the other hand have wide open, star shaped blooms that are just perfect.

sedum edging

 

Not everyone is a gardener, indeed not everyone has a garden, but most of us have room for a little patch of sedum matting that will provide plenty of food for butterflies during the summer months.   Here are some ideas using Enviromat sedum matting.

  • Replace one or two of the slabs in your patio with sedum matting
  • Create a living green roof
  • Put a sedum topping on your bird table
  • Use sedum matting on top of a wall
  • Have a narrow strip of sedums alongside a path

 

 

The wonderful thing about Enviromat sedum mat is that you don't need to be a gardener to encourage butterflies into your outdoor space.

For more information and design ideas, download one of our Free guides to installing Enviromat either on a green roof or on the ground.

Download Green Roofing Guide

Download Sedum Groundcover Guide

]]>
Tue, 23 Jul 2013 09:50:42 +0000
<![CDATA[New use for Enviromat sedum matting]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/new-use-for-sedum-matting/ Sedum matting makes great wildlife habitat

How about this for an ornithological des res?

Whilst inspecting the Enviromat sedum production fields this week, Production Manager Robert Allen startled a pigeon in one of the perimeter hedges.  Never one to miss an opportunity for a bit of bird spotting, Robert took a peek in the hedge and found this nest.

flower strewn bird nest

Audacious pigeon had been using sedums to line it's nest and sedum, being a resilient kind of plant, had decided that rather than die, it would go ahead and flower.

Isn't it beautiful?

]]>
Mon, 22 Jul 2013 17:13:03 +0000
<![CDATA['Parasite Threat' to native bees]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/parasite-threat-to-native-bees/ Between 40,000 and 50,000 bumblebee colonies are imported into England each year to assist with crop pollination.

For a study in the Journal of Applied Ecology, scientists bought 48 colonies - hives containing up to 100 bees each - from three producers in Europe.

They found 77% had parasites that could infect native bees.

Lead researcher Prof William Hughes, of the University of Sussex, said commercial production and importation of bumblebees had been "going on for decades".

"We couldn't grow tomatoes in this country without these bumblebees," he said.

And with the decline in pollinating insects in recent years, food producers are increasingly reliant upon imported bees.

"Over a million colonies are imported globally - it's a huge trade," said Prof Hughes. "And a surprisingly large number of these are produced in factories, mainly in Eastern Europe.

"We sought to answer the big question of whether colonies that are being produced now have parasites and, if so, whether those parasites are actually infectious or harmful."

For more information got to:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23347867

]]>
Thu, 18 Jul 2013 12:00:19 +0000
<![CDATA[Super satisfied customer loves his "super sedum"]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/enviromat-flat-roof/ Satisfied customer, Mr John Kershaw, loves his new sedum roof. He has provided a testimonial which has to be one of the best ever. Why would anyone have a plain, boring felt roof when you can cover it with sedum. Sedum not only looks amazing it encourages pollinators.

Dear Angie

The sedum roof is beyond my wildest dreams. It all seemed so complicated before I talked to you, yet all we needed in the end ( once the roof was up and waterproofed) was a moisture layer ( which turns out to be like underlay and just as easy to put down) and then this miraculous kind of giant carpet roll made out of living things, which I just cut with a pair of scissors to the right size, then humped it up on to the roof, chucked some fertilizer over it, watered it, and that was it. It lost any sense of newness in about 2 weeks, everyone was saying how lovely and green and fabulously textured it was. Then suddenly (July) the whole thing became a carpet of flowers, beautiful little white and yellow flowers, smothering the whole roof, so its like a roof of joy. It stopped raining about 3 weeks ago and has been fearsome hot, but the sedum seemed to just love it. Yesterday, having no real knowledge of their resilience, I started to worry about them getting too dry so as night fell I gave the roof a gentle hosing down, and I swear I could hear the million little sedums going aaaaaahhhh.

As soon as I can afford it I'm going to plant the little flat roof over the kitchen ( which from Danny's room will then look like a garden) and the garage. Roofing felt is basically just ugly. Now there is no need ever to have ugly flat roofs again. Thanks so much for your vision.

John Kershaw

Manchester

]]>
Thu, 18 Jul 2013 08:31:13 +0000
<![CDATA[Green roof kits available now]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roof-kits-available/ Green Roofing just got easier

Q Lawns, the growers of Enviromat sedum matting have introduced a new online product that will make sourcing and ordering green roofing materials a whole lot easier.

Enviromat sedum matting has always been easy to install, but for the untrained buyer, working out which of the layers are needed, which are not, and what the final cost will be has, in the past, been a little complicated. 

For that reason, Q Lawns have introduced Green Roof Kits.  Each kit contains the right quantity of the right materials to create a sedum roof on either a pitched roof or a flat roof.   All the buyer needs to do is measure the roof, decide whether it is flat or sloping and click on the green roof kit that’s the right size.  Simple.  All of the components are tried, tested and subject to Production Manager Robert Allen’s rigorous standards of quality control.

sedum roof

 

 

A sedum roof is not only a beautiful adornment to a garden building, a porch or an extension; it’s a practical one too.  It will double the life of the waterproofing, insulate against heat, cold and noise, help manage rainwater and, very topically, provide a rich source of food for pollinating insects such as butterflies and bees.

Provided that the building is good and sturdy and the waterproofing is in good order, a sedum roof can normally be installed in a matter of hours and, with a simple maintenance regime, will stay beautiful indefinitely.

The Enviromat green roof kits are competitively priced and come complete with an instruction sheet and the support of the technical team at Q Lawns.

More details about green roof kits

For more information on green roof kits for flat roofs, visit http://www.enviromat.co.uk/sedum-flat-green-roof-kits/

If your roof has a slope of 3 degrees or more, you will need our green roof kit for pitched roofs

 

Take a look at our green roof gallery

]]>
Tue, 16 Jul 2013 11:05:40 +0000
<![CDATA[‘Brown lawns are cool’]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/brown-lawns-are-cool/ Brown Grass

In view of the extremely warm weather we are currently enjoying, and the forecast of more to come, the Turfgrass Growers Association has issued a press release to re-enforce its “Brown Lawns are Cool” message. 

 The Turfgrass Growers Association, whose members produce more than 70% of the turf grown in the British Isles, says that during hot weather, the watering of established lawns is, in most situations, wasteful and unnecessary. 

“Our message to homeowners is not to worry if your lawn goes brown during the summer”, says its Chief Executive, Tim Mudge. “Going brown is the natural survival mechanism of grass. When water is in short supply grass responds by shutting down. The brown colour shows that it has stopped growing until more favourable conditions return. Grass is remarkably resilient, and as long as you follow a few basic rules, most lawns will recover completely when the rain finally arrives.”You

  1. You can increase your mowing height to 35-40mm which creates deeper roots and more shade and shelter from higher temperatures.
  2. Try not to concentrate wear in one place by moving barbeques and toys like slides around your lawn.
  3. The is no need to feed grass as it won't be growing in hot, dry conditions.
  4. Avoid blanket weedkillers as these may damage the grass and use spot weedkiller instead if necessary.
  5. Keep mower blades sharp as blunt blades bruise the grass leaf and it loses more water.
  6. Apply a light dressing of compost to help keep moisture in the soil and protect the grass from higher temperatures.
  7. Scarify your lawn once a year to remove matted and dead growth, if this is allowed to build up it can act as a barrier to rainfall.

You can find tips for looking after established and newly-laid lawns during the summer are available on our website.

]]>
Mon, 15 Jul 2013 09:50:53 +0000
<![CDATA[Sedums in July]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/sedums-in-july/ Sedum Flowers in July

During hot dry weather, many traditional garden plants can wilt and wither, but drought tolerant sedums will defy the dry and carry on blooming providing pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies.

These pictures were taken on the Enviromat sedum matting production field in early July 2013.  Look closely and you'll find several different species of bee enjoying the blooms.

sedum flowers july 2013

Sedum spurium, Sedum kamtschaticum and Sedum sexangulare side by side in Enviromat sedum matting

buff tailed bumble bee on sedum

A buff-tailed bumble bee makes the most of these nectar rich flowers

sedum flowers july 2013

Sedum album and Sedum sexangulare look good together

sedum matting july 2013

Sedum album flowers as far as the eye can see

 

Enviromat sedum matting is grown in Norfolk UK and makes great low maintenance groundcover that is particularly bee-friendly.  It's also rather good for creating a living green roof on a shed or garden building.   

Find out more about Enviromat Sedum Matting

]]>
Mon, 15 Jul 2013 08:47:01 +0000
<![CDATA[Summer is finally here... but for how long?]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/summer-is-finally-here-but-for-how-long/ For those awaiting an opportunity to get out into the garden and lay some new lawn turf this weekend was very welcome and produced the warmest day of the year so far for many parts of the UK. Temperatures peaked in the high twenties across most of England and Wales although conditions were a little cooler and cloudier in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

So how long is this fine weather expected to last?. Well the good news is that the rest of this week is expected to be dry, warm and sunny for most. Monday and Tuesday have been glorious with the highest temperatures found across central and southwestern parts. It will cool off slightly by the middle of the week with Scotland due cloud and patchy rain as the week progresses.

The rest of Britain should remain fine and dry with plenty of sunshine and rising temperatures.

The great news is that the good weather should continue beyond that with settled weather everywhere but northwest Scotland. This could easily continue until the start of August. so the aren't any excuses for not getting out into the garden and doing all those jobs you've been putting off.

]]>
Tue, 09 Jul 2013 13:53:54 +0000
<![CDATA[What makes sedums drought tolerant?]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/what-makes-sedums-drought-tolerant/ Why sedum plants are so drought tolerant

One of the reasons that sedums are used for green roofing is that they are incredibly drought tolerant.   A sedum roof will need the bare minimum of irrigation and even then, only in extremely dry conditions.

Sedum plants have evolved to live in exposed conditions where soil is very well drained and sun and wind dry everything out very quickly and so, over the centuries, they have developed some inbuilt coping mechanisms.

sedum leaves

  1.  They store water in their leaves and stems.  One of the characteristics of sedum plants is that they have really fleshy leaves – as do their close relations the aloe vera plant and the pineapple. The plant cells are like little tiny water bombs, stowing H2O to use when rainfall and ground water are in short supply.
  2. They have a waxy covering on the leaves – a bit like a sealant to try to stop water evaporating from the surface of the leaf and to protect it from wind damage.
  3. They are CAM plants.  CAM is a super special mechanism unique to this plant family that helps prevent water loss and it’s really rather clever:

 CAM and Photosynthesis

All green plants use a process called photosynthesis to harness energy from the sun and turn it into carbohydrates that they can use for life processes.   Photosynthesis involves the plant absorbing carbon dioxide through little holes in its leaves called stomata.  Sunlight then powers a chemical reaction to combine carbon dioxide with water to make sugar.  The waste product is oxygen – which we can breathe in.

Photosynthesis can only happen during the day because it needs sunlight.  But, if a plant opens its stomata during the day it risks losing water through evaporation.  That’s why so many non-CAM plants wilt on hot days.

Sedum plants have managed to overcome this problem by keeping their stomata tightly closed during the day and only opening them at night time when there is a reduced risk of losing water.  The carbon dioxide they need to photosynthesise the next day is drawn in and then, because it’s not easy to store a gas, the CO2 is converted into a liquid called malic acid.  Next day, malic acid is converted back into CO2 and used to produce sugar.

Sedums, and other plants from the Crassulaceae family are the only plants to use CAM or Crassulacean Acidic Metabolism and that’s why they have superior drought tolerance.   Incidentally, it also makes the leaves taste AWFUL.  The Roman name for Sedum Acre is “wall pepper” because it will happily grow on walls where there is no soil and it tastes very bitter indeed.

sedum green roof

 

Learn more about Sedum plants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

drought tolerant sedum plants are ideal for a green roof

]]>
Tue, 09 Jul 2013 11:52:15 +0000
<![CDATA[Green roof shed]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roof-shed/ Colin Brown's green roof shed in Norfolk.

What a shame he didn't get around to entering it in the 2013 shed of the year competition

 

green roof on shed

Enviromat sedum matting creates a lovely topping on this recycled shed. Pictured June 2013

sedum roof shedThe same shed in July 2012.  See how 2013's late spring hasdelayed flowering

close up of Enviromat sedum matting

close up of the texture of the sedum matting used to create this shed roof

sedum matting flowering

sedum matting flowering on a different roof.  this picture was taken in mid summer.

 

If you would like to know how to fit a sedum roof onto your own garden shed, download our free green roof installation guide.

Download installation guide now

]]>
Wed, 03 Jul 2013 14:53:40 +0000
<![CDATA[Green Roofs for National Shed Week Finalists ]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roofs-for-shed-week-finalists/ National Shed Week Finalists are Announced    

I’m very pleased to see that amongst the finalists for the 2013 Shed of the Year competition are at least two sheds with green roofs.

the stencil shed with green roofSyd’s Stencil Shed in Malmsbury, Wiltshire boasts a green roof with sedums and grasses.  Apparently Mrs Stencil Shed was adamant that no planting space was to be lost when the shed was built.   In that case, a green roof was the only logical solution.

 

 

 

 

eco shed with green roofThe Eco Hoose Bike Shed in Camden has a wild flower roof.  The owner, Marcus Shields wanted to avoid looking out of his house window on to an ugly shed roof and so he has planted sedums, wild flowers and spring bulbs on top of his home made shed roof.

The winner of the Shed of the Year Competition will be announced on 4th July 2013.  Fingers crossed it will be one of the green roofers.

In the meantime, if you would like to see how easy it is to add a green roof on to a shed.  Watch our video.

 

]]>
Tue, 02 Jul 2013 08:54:48 +0000
<![CDATA[What is a sedum roof?]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/what-is-a-sedum-roof/ All about sedum green roofs

A sedum roof is one type of living green roof. 

A green roof is a layer of vegetation (living plants) deliberately put on top of a conventional roof surface and bringing a whole host of benefits to the building and the environment.  On a sedum roof, the majority of the plants are low growing succulents from the sedum, or stonecrop, family.

sedum roof on summerhouseA newly installed sedum roof

Why choose sedums for a green roof?

The wonderful thing about using sedums on green roofs is that they are very shallow rooted and therefore don’t need an awful lot of growing medium.  In fact the word “sedum” comes from the latin word “sedeo” which means “to sit”, because it seems as though sedum plants are just sitting on top of the thin, rocky soils that they naturally grow in.  The romans knew Sedum acre as “wall pepper” because it grows on walls and has a bitter, peppery taste.

Why don’t we want a lot of growing medium on a roof?  Well, for one, the deeper the growing medium, the more weight is added to the roof and secondly – it’s a logistical nightmare to be lifting bags of substrate up on to a roof.

The other wonderful thing about sedums is that they are drought tolerant.  Most roofs are difficult to access and so it’s not practical to climb up there two or three times a week to water the plants and do a bit of pruning and weeding.  A sedum green roof is reasonably low maintenance.  It doesn’t need watering, deadheading or mowing.  All it wants is to be fed once a year, have stubborn weeds pulled out and the surrounding gutters and drainage outlets kept nice and clear.  Simple.

sedum roof in summersedum roof in flower; June 2012

Establishing a sedum roof

There are various ways of establishing a sedum roof; hydro-seeding, plug planting, cuttings or sedum matting.  Of all four methods, sedum matting is by far the quickest and easiest and it will give instant results.

Enviromat sedum matting has a really good mix of sedum species so as to provide colour and interest all year round, it is also the only UK grown sedum matting with a reinforcing mesh woven into the growing medium to keep substrate and plants from being displaced by heavy rain or mechanical damage.

Enviromat is used in conjunction with specially engineered, lightweight drainage mat and water retention fleece in a proven green roof system.

Scroll down to watch a video of an Enviromat sedum roof being installed or

Download our green roof installation guide

 

]]>
Wed, 19 Jun 2013 09:38:41 +0000
<![CDATA[Green roof for Manchester town hall]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roof-manchester-town-hall/ Manchester Green Roof Targets Black Redstarts

black redstartManchester City Council’s town hall extension has a 500 square metre sedum roof with a small foraging area to attract Black Redstarts.

The black redstart is a small songbird, about the size of a robin, who likes to live on brownfield sites that are reminiscent of the steep gorges it inhabits in Scandinavia.  Sadly there are less than 100 breeding pairs of redstart in the UK, mainly in London and Birmingham.

Green roofs attract and support a wide variety of wildlife, including spiders, insects and minibeasts, and they are a great source of pollen and nectar for butterflies and bees.

Manchester has 11 on-going commercial green roof projects in the city all to benefit wildlife and help reduce the urban heat island effect.

]]>
Mon, 10 Jun 2013 07:29:31 +0000
<![CDATA[Honey Syllabub]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/honey-syllabub/ Honey bees simply adore sedums.  The star-shaped flowers have easily accessible nectar that the bees can gather and take back to their hives to make honey.

bee on sedum

We all love honey and so for National BBQ Week between 27th May and 2nd June 2013, the team at Enviromat are sharing their favourite recipes for the sweet stuff.

 

Honey Syllabub

A lovely rich dessert that is very easy to prepare.  Serve with home baked biscuits or unfilled brandy snaps.

Ingredients

4 tablespoons clear honey

2 tablespoons dry sherry

2 tablespoons brandy

1 tablespoon fresh orange or lemon juice

Grated rind of 1 orange or lemon

300ml double cream

 

Mix the honey with the sherry, brandy and orange or lemon juice in a bowl.

Stir in the orange or lemon rind and the cream. 

Whisk until the mixture becomes thick and light,

Spoon it into tall glasses and chill the syllabub thoroughly before serving.

 

This would be a great follow on to our BBQ spare ribs with honey.

 

If you would like to help support honey bees, why not think about putting a green roof on your shed

]]>
Thu, 30 May 2013 08:29:03 +0000
<![CDATA[Black Redstarts breed on London green roof]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/black-redstart-on-green-roof/ Black Redstarts on Green Roof at Olympics Site

rare bird black redstartGreat news! Black Redstarts, an endangered bird species have chosen the largest green roof at the London Olympic Site to start a family.  

The Black Redstart is one of our rarest birds.  It’s on the amber list of Birds of Conservation Concern and its thought that there are fewer than 100 breeding pairs in the country.

In terms of habitat, this is quite a fussy creature.  It likes to live in towns and cities where the tall buildings resemble the cliffs and gorges that are their natural habitat in continental Europe.  These birds favour places with lots of nooks and crannies for nesting and with high points where they can sit and sing.

Photo: newswatch.nationalgeographic.com

 

Food wise, stony ground for foraging on is the order of the day and a stretch of river where insects abound is also useful. 

Some of the green roofs in London, particularly on the Olympic site have been designed to provide black restarts (as well as other species of insects, birds and plants)  with exactly what they need – and it’s worked.

Hats off to the designer who have proved that Green roofs are great for biodiversity.

>more about green roofs and wildlife

]]>
Wed, 29 May 2013 08:45:27 +0000
<![CDATA[Barbecue spare ribs with honey]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/spare-ribs-with-honey/ National Barbecue Week is from 27th May until 2nd June 2013.  Everyone at Meadowmat loves a good Barbecue and so we've got together to bring you our favourite BBQ recipes using our favourite ingredient - honey.  

 

Barbecued Spareribs

From Amy Hilsdon

 

About 1.8Kg (4lb) Pork Spareribs

Salt and pepper

100g (4 oz) clear honey

60ml (4 tbsp) dark soft brown sugar

60ml (4 tbsp) tomato ketchup

30ml (2 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce

30ml (2 tbsp) prepared English mustard

30ml (2 tbsp) red wine vinegar

 

  1. 1.       Place the ribs in a single layer in 2 roasting tins and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 190 oC (375 F) mark 5 for 30 minutes
  2. 2.       Meanwhile, put the remaining ingredients in a jug and stir well until mixed together.
  3. 3.       Pour the sauce into the tins and turn the ribs until well coated.  Return to the oven and roast for a further 1-1 1/4 hours, until the meat is tender and the sauce syrupy.  Turn the ribs in the sauce several times during cooking and swap oer the shelf positions of the 2 roasting tins, if necessary, to ensure that the ribs cook through evenly.
  4. 4.       Serve hot, with the sauce poured over the ribs

Accompany with plain boiled rice and a dish of mixed stir-fried vegetables such as thinly sliced carrots, shredded leeks and baby sweetcorn.

bee on thistleThe deliciousness in this recipe is mostly down to pollinating insects, especially bees. The tomato (in the ketchup) and mustard plants would have been pollinated by insects and the honey is 100% attributable to bees and so it's important that we continue to support our stripey friends.  Maybe install a green roof or plant some wild flowers to help them along.

In the meantime, you might like to cook up Chantall's recipe for Honey Roast Plums as a really nice dessert to follow your spare ribs.

]]>
Tue, 28 May 2013 07:52:20 +0000
<![CDATA[Green roofs for water and biodiversity]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roofs-for-water-and-biodiversity/ Green roofs aid water and biodiversity

May 22nd is The International Day for Biological Diversity and in 2013, the theme, which has been chosen to coincide with the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation, is Water and Biodiversity.

Water is of course essential to life.  Not just for drinking but for food production (crops, meat, fish), sanitation, manufacturing and economic wellbeing. 

Water often features in the UK News.   From floods to hosepipe bans, loss of water quality in our rivers and streams and the ever increasing costs of providing households with drinking water, it seems as though us Brits need to think harder about how we look manage our rainwater.

Biodiversity – in particular plantlife – is Nature’s own way of managing rainwater.  In a world that is unhindered by human activity, water falls from the sky, some is filtered through soil layers, and trickles into waterways; some it evaporates and is returned to the atmosphere.  On the way it is used by plants, plants are eaten by animals, animals return nutrients to the soil and the circle of life continues.

urban rooftopWhen humans get involved, we lay down roads, construct buildings, put in sewerage systems and completely disrupt natural systems.

Green roofs counteract this disruption to a certain extent by allowing plants to exist in harmony with construction.   A green roof, collects rainwater, and through the plant system of evapotranspiration, allows most of it to evaporate back into the air rather than being directed into sewers.  Excess rainwater is filtered through the growing medium and can be collected and used as grey water or it can be sent into SUD’s (Sustainable urban drainage systems) where it benefits wildlife.

By adding a green roof to your garden shed, you will be doing your bit for biodiversity by helping to manage rainwater and by providing food and shelter for the minibeasts that are vitally important in the food chain.

green roof office

]]>
Wed, 22 May 2013 11:06:00 +0000
<![CDATA[New Turfland & Q Lawns Product Guide]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/new-turfland-and-qlawns-product-guide/ Turfland and Q Lawns new 36 page Product Guide is now available. The A4 brochure covers the complete range of Turfland and Q Lawns products as well as featuring installation and aftercare information. 

As well as three grades of turf we supply MeadowMat Wildflower Matting, Enviromat Sedum Mat for living roofs, EcoGreen reinforced turf, soil, compost and bark as well as a number of associated products. Everything you need to know is here. To order a copy please phone or email, alternatively you can click on the image below download a PDF version here.

Product guide

]]>
Tue, 21 May 2013 16:47:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Edging a pond with sedum mat]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/edging-a-pond-with-sedum-mat/ Using sedum mat to hide a pond liner.

Sedum mat is most often associated with green roofing, but it also makes a fabulous edging for a pond.

The edge of a pond liner or the “lip” around a preformed pond can look quite unsightly, especially if you are trying to create a natural looking water feature.

At the 2013 Letchworth Food and Garden Show, Maxine Tricker designed a show garden using a preformed pond disguised with Enviromat sedum matting.  For this project, she was ably assisted by Noodles, the inquisitive Hungarian Puli.

Hungarian puli  

Noodles checks the quality of the sedum mat.  She's  particularly impressed by the texture.

sedum mat pond edging

Maxine cuts the sedum matting to size before constructing the show garden

sedum mat around pond

Newly installed sedum matting around a pond.  This will grow and flower through the summer

 

Download Enviromat's  free guide to using sedum matting as ground cover

 

]]>
Mon, 20 May 2013 09:08:11 +0000
<![CDATA[Plants for green roofs]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/plants-for-green-roofs/ green roof at sandringham flower showGreen roof design: choosing the right plants

Any experienced gardener will tell you that if you want to grow plants cheaply and easily without making yourself a whole lot of work, make sure you match the plants’ needs to the conditions you are planting it in.

A deep rooted plant won’t survive in shallow soils without irrigation and supplementary feeding; a sun loving shrub will languish and die in the shade, a tender exotic will struggle to survive a winter similar to the one the UK has just had.

When designing a green roof, the ‘right plant right place’ rule takes on a new level of importance.

In broad terms there are four types of plant that are candidates for establishing on to green roofs.  Trees and shrubs are totally unsuitable for all but the most complicated living roofs – so they’re not being considered in this blogpost.

Annual Plants

An annual plant germinates from seed, grows to maturity, flowers and sets seed all in one year.  Good examples of UK native annuals are cornflowers, field poppies, chickweed and corn marigold.  As colourful and pollinator friendly as these plants are, they’re not ideal as the dominant choice of vegetation on and extensive green roof.  But by all means sow some seeds every spring to add extra colour and interest to the roof but consider them as a supplement to the evergreen planting that will keep the roof functioning through the winter.

Annual plants are not often seen at all between November and april and they either seed themselves a bit too vigorously – so they produce a thick, disease prone covering in year 2 – or the seeds fail to germinate and the roof is vulnerable to invasion by less desirable plant species.

Herbaceous Perennials

Herbaceous perennials are typically found in formal planting schemes or in cottage gardens.  This is my favourite group of plants but I would be very wary indeed of using them in a green roof planting scheme.  In general, these plants like humous rich soils and access to plenty of water and nutrients.  Most have luxurious, sappy growth that would suffer terrible damage in the extreme temperatures and windy conditions on a roof.  Another disadvantage is that they tend not to be evergreen and so would contribute very little towards insulating the building in the winter time.

Herbs

Next we have the herbs.  Some herbs such as thyme, oregano, sage and chives will thrive very nicely under green roof conditions and would offer a great source of pollen, nectar and shelter for minibeasts.  There is a chance that over time the plants will become overgrown and woody, in which case they will need pruning or replacing from time to time.  If you include these plants in your green roof design, be sure to factor in some extra money for ongoing maintenance.

Hardy Succulents

Hardy succulents are the UK’s number one choice for green roofs and with good reason. Sempervivums and Sedums are well suited to rooftop microclimates.  They only need a shallow layer of growing medium and therefore impose less loading on the building.  Their needs are simple; a light feed in spring, plenty of sunshine and a very – and I mean VERY – occasional watering should the UK experience a lengthy drought.  Perfect.

sedum roof on shedSedum Matting

Sedum matting is the green roofer’s easiest option.   The plants are already growing and give good coverage from the outset.  Species have been chosen to give a long flowering period, good frost hardiness and all year round foliage.   Plus:  sedum matting is a doddle to install on to a green roof.

 

More about sedum matting

How to put a green roof on your shed using sedum matting

]]>
Tue, 14 May 2013 15:36:29 +0000
<![CDATA[Sedum mat in Stevenage]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/sedum-mat-in-stevenage/ Sedum mat  to feature in Stevenage Show Garden

ARCH Community Group will be using Enviromat sedum matting for a show garden at the Letchworth Food Festival on 18th and 19th May 2013 and at Stevenage Day on Sunday 9th June 2013.

The group's mission is encourage the people in Stevenage, Letchworth, Hitchin and surrounding villages “To make the towns we live in a pleasant place to live. To get everyone young and old, able and less able into the garden and to make the most of the environment we live in” ; 

sedum groundcoverThe show garden, designed by Maxine Tricker of Max Your Garden will demonstrate how Enviromat can be used as low maintenance ground cover.   In this case, as a pond surround, but of course, Maxine has used sedum matting in several of her designs and is a great advocate of pollinator-friendly planting.

 

To find out more about using sedums as groundcover, download this guide from the growers of Enviromat sedum matting.

]]>
Mon, 13 May 2013 08:50:27 +0000
<![CDATA[Sedum roof construction]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/sedum-roof-construction/ Components of a sedum green roof

 sedum green roof

A sedum green roof is a build-up of component layers that sit on top of a conventional roof surface. The layers work in partnership with each other to provide a whole host of benefits for the building, its occupier and the environment.

Protecting the waterproofing 

On a green roof shed, the first layer of the green roof system (the one that sits closest to the waterproofing) is normally a sheet of strong polythene or butyl pond liner.  This layer ensures that plant roots cannot damage the waterproof layer. It also gives protection from boots, dropped tools and other hazards associated with building work or DIY.

A quick tip here from David Fisher, one of our most experienced green roof installers; polythene can be slippery to work on, which is not ideal when working on a roof.  If you douse the poly with water before starting to install the next layer, you'll find it much easier to get a good grip on the surface.

Green roof drainage layer

flat green roof build up

On a flat roof - that is to say one with a slope of 3 degrees or less - the next layer needs to be a drainage mat to make sure that excess rainwater is channelled swiftly away from the plants' roots.  Sedum plants are particularly well adapted to living in dry soils and they simply cannot cope with soggy soil. The drainage layer helps keep them comfortable and it also has a bonus function; few plant species other than Sedums, saxifrages and sempervivums can survive for long in shallow soils unless they have a really good water supply. The drainage layer on an extensive sedum roof actually helps prevent weed infestations by 'droughting out ' most of the impostors that manage to germinate in the inhospitable rooftop conditions.

On a pitched roof there is no need for drainage mat- rainwater will run off naturally.

Water retention fleece

Before installing your sedum matting, you must spread out a layer of water retention fleece.  This is a lightweight blanket that can absorb up to 9 litres of water per square metre. It ensures that the plants will have enough water available to see them through the average UK summer.

Sedum matting

The sedum matting sits on top of the water retention fleece.  An edging of your choice will ensure that everything stays in place and there you have it………a living sedum green roof. 

 

Click here for your free sedum roof installation guide

]]>
Fri, 10 May 2013 09:29:56 +0000
<![CDATA[Feeding your green roof]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/feeding-your-green-roof/ Angela Lambert
9th May 2013 

Why you must feed your green roof

hungry green roof

 

A sedum green roof in need of a feed

 

 

 

 

There is no such thing as a no-maintenance green roof.  However, if the plants are kept in good health and have been selected for their suitability to the micro-climate on the roof, the maintenance regime will be simple and speedy.

Viewed from above, a green roof may look like a flower bed or a lawn but in actual fact, it’s a great big container garden.  Just like a plant pot, the growing medium has a finite depth and roots can neither go deeper into the subsoil or spread laterally to find water and nutrients.  The only source of nourishment is what is contained within the growing medium, and, because of the nature of green roof substrates, this stock of nutrients could very well be used up within the first year of being planted.

Just like people, plants need the right balance of nutrients for optimum health, strong growth, good looks and successful reproduction.   If there are too few nutrients in the soil, plants will not thrive, they’ll look sickly for a while before dying and ultimately, they won’t generate the benefits that we associate with green roofing. >more on green roof benefits

The solution is to make a date in your diary, every spring without fail, to feed your green roof.   Spring time is when the plants are at their hungriest and the soil nutrients are at the lowest levels. 

green roof after feeding

sedum roof after feeding

What nutrients do green roof plants need?

For best results, use a slow release feed that is specially formulated for green roofs.   Slow release means you won’t need to apply it more than once or twice during the growing season.   

The feed should be relatively low in Nitrogen (7 or 8 percent is plenty) because you don’t want lots of lush, sappy growth that is susceptible to damage by high winds or late frosts. 

Make sure there is plenty of Phosphorus and Potassium (P and K) to build strong root systems and support flowering; and look for a good range of trace elements, the equivalent of vitamins and minerals. 

A granular feed is definitely easiest to lift on to the roof and apply.

A good choice of green roof feed is Enviromat Natural Green Roof Feed.   It’s available to buy online and comes in easily carried 2.2Kg buckets.

It’s also used by Kevin D, who manages Enviromat’s green roof maintenance service and he thoroughly recommends it for easy application and reliable results.

]]>
Thu, 09 May 2013 09:26:10 +0000
<![CDATA[White flowers on green roofs]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/white-flowers-green-roofs/ Green roof plants with white flowers

Early may is when bees are flying strongly and butterflies are out of hibernation and looking for food.  It's also when UK green roofs start to bloom in earnest.

Meadow Saxifrage

saxifraga granulata

 

 

One of the first plants to bloom on extensive green roofs is the meadow saxifrage, saxifraga granulata.  This native wildflower likes to live on well drained grassland but also thrives in shallow layers of green roof substrate.

Its name, saxifrage, comes from the Latin word for 'stone breaking ' probably because the close relatives of meadow saxifrage tend to live in stoney ground.  The species seems to be drought tolerant and because it is low growing with fleshy leaves it is quite happy on a green roof. It certainly looks lovely blooming its socks off on top of my brother's shed.

 

 

 

 

Sedum album

sedum albumThe Other white flowering native plant normally found on an Enviromat green roof is sedum album - the white stonecrop.  Coming into bloom just after meadow saxifrage this flower is like a magnet to honeybees and bumblebees as well as attracting butterflies who enjoy this rich source of nectar.

Sedums are well adapted for living on green roofs where there is a shallow layer of growing medium. Typically these living roofs are lighter than deep substrate roofs and are ideal for retrofitting on to existing buildings or installing on to garden sheds.  Where the building can support more weight it is possible to have a deeper layer of growing medium and subsequently a more diverse range of plants.

 

Other white plants for green roofs

If there is a minimum depth of 15cm of well drained green roof growing medium, other white flowers such as daisy, wild strawberry or even mountain avens should do well but beware of plants that have invasive roots - for they may ultimately damage your waterproofing - and be aware that taller plants may be damaged by strong winds.

There is work being done to assess the value of Stachys (lambs ears) on green roofs.  It is thought that the plant's silvery white leaves will do an excellent job of reflecting heat away from the roof.   Having grown stachys in my garden, I personally would be concerned about it crowding out other plants.  But that's just me.

Remember the old adage "right plant, right place ".

More about green roof plants

Meadow saxifrage and sedum album are just two of the plants included in the seedmix for Enviromat sedum matting, a fabulous material for creating living green roofs. >more

]]>
Wed, 08 May 2013 07:54:52 +0000
<![CDATA[What does a green roof cost?]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roof-cost/ How much does a sedum roof cost?

With the news that Enviromat has reduced the price of sedum matting by almost 20%, Angela Lambert looks at the cost of putting a green roof on your shed.

green roof on shed 

A beautiful sedum roof is a lovely adornment for any sturdy building and it’s easy to install once you know how, but the bottom line, when making any decision involving an investment in the environment is, what will it cost?

Let’s look at a typical garden office with a footprint of 10 feet by 8 feet.   We’ll assume that it’s a strong building with a very slight pitch to the roof and that all the waterproofing is in place.  That means that there are no structural changes to be made such as strengthening.

Green roof edgings

First up, edgings:   These are a matter of taste and so price is variable.  Save money by using reclaimed timber or make a statement by commissioning some bespoke edgings. - more about this in another blogpost

Green roof build-up

First determine the area by multiplying the width of the roof by the length.  Use the online area calculator at http://www.enviromat.co.uk/enviromat/ if you’re unsure – it also has a helpful ability to convert imperial measurements to metric ones.

Our 10ft x 8ft shed has a roof area of 8 square metres.

Because it has a roof slope of less than 3 degrees, it needs four layers of material in the green roof build up;

Polyethene to protect the waterproofing against damage from roots or boots

Drainage mat to ensure the sedum plants don’t languish in conditions that are too wet for them

Water retention mat to support the plants when rainfall is in short supply

Sedum matting. - the bit with the plants in.

Putting 8 square metres of each of the products above, into the Enviromat online shopping trolley, along with a tub of green roof feed, gives a TOTAL price ie including VAT and delivery of £412.08

Please note, this price is correct at the time of writing (29th April 2012 and is for delivery to a Bristol postcode) Prices will vary depending on delivery area and are considerably less if you collect from either of our farms.

Cost of the green roof build up for a 10x8 flat roof is less than £420.00

Enviromat offer discounts on large areas and for trade customers. Email for more information

 

Video: How to make a sedum roof

]]>
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 09:42:01 +0000
<![CDATA[Sedum matting price drop]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/sedum-mat-price-drop/ Sedum matting price drop

sedum green roofGood news for anybody thinking of creating a sedum green roof this summer.  The price of Enviromat sedum matting has been permanently reduced with effect from 26th April.

Chris Carr, Sales and Marketing Manager for Q Lawns – the growers of Enviromat sedum matting explains.  “Green roofing is becoming more and more popular year on year” he says “and a change in mindsets mean that buyers want UK grown products rather than European imports.  Consequently we’ve had to increase production of Enviromat, which means that we can   make savings due to economies of scale.  We’re passing those savings on to our customers”

Angela Lambert added “Green roofs offer so many benefits, not only for the building’s owners and occupiers but for the wider environment too.  Popping an Enviromat green roof on to a shed, a summerhouse or even a rabbit hutch, will create a source of pollen and nectar for our butterflies and bees – most of whom are declining in numbers.  Hopefully, these cost savings on Enviromat will help make green roofing more affordable.

What does a green roof cost?

For a quote for the materials you'll need to create a sedum green roof,  phone the Q Lawns office on 01842 828266 and talk to Rebecca.   The office is open from 7am - 5pm on weekdays.  Or you can visit the online shop 24/7

]]>
Fri, 26 Apr 2013 10:51:54 +0000
<![CDATA[Enviromat aims to reduce carbon footprint]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/lorries-reduce-carbon-footprint/ lorry with livery

New delivery vehicles for Enviromat

Enviromat sedum matting is generally considered to be quite an eco-friendly product and so when the Directors of Q Lawns turf growers - who produce Enviromat on their farm in Norfolk - had the opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint of their delivery vehicles, the jumped at the chance.  

This week, the Company took delivery of four DAF XF105 460 ATe lorries.  The manufacturer claims that these vehicles can achieve a 2-3% reduction in fuel consumption and have greatly reduced carbon emissions due to some innovative improvements to the engine.

Every truck needs a driver and so Q Lawns are also pleased to welcome  Alan, Alvin, Paul and Martin to the team.   Alan is well known to Q Lawns customers, he's joined us from E&SJ Walpole, the other three boys are experienced drivers but entirely new to the Company.

Director Colin Brown is proud to be embracing new technology in transport.  He says “I'm keen to minimise our environmnental impact and that means thinking about what happens off the farm as well as managing wildlife habitat and making best use of resources on the land and in the office”. 

]]>
Thu, 18 Apr 2013 09:47:20 +0000
<![CDATA[When to water a sedum roof]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/watering-a-sedum-roof/ Angela Lambert
16th April 2013

hose on sedum roof

Watering a sedum roof

As a nation of gardeners, we are generally quite enthusiastic about watering our plants to keep them in good health.  The trouble is, it’s very easy to get it wrong.   I’ve lost count of the number of houseplants I’ve killed with kindness and the number of vegetable plants that have produced pathetic crops because I’ve been lazy with the watering can is probably well into double figures.

Water requirements of sedum roofs

A sedum roof is a different animal altogether.   Think of it as a giant sized butler sink crammed with alpine plants but lifted high off the ground – too high for everyday access.

An outdoor, container grown alpine garden at ground level is very self-sufficient, provided that it has the right soil type and the right drainage.  It rarely needs watering, the British weather does all that and although it relishes a light feed in spring time, it more or less cares for itself.

A sedum roof is just the same.  Provided that the right drainage and growing medium have been used, the roof slope is not too steep and the plants are given the right food in springtime, an established sedum roof will care for itself without a water-guzzling irrigation system.   In fact too much water is worse for the sedum plants than too little water.

Sedum plants are very drought tolerant because of a built-in metabolism called CAM  or crassulacean acidic metabolism.  In terms of green roofing, this means that sedums can thrive in a shallow layer of growing medium where other plants struggle to survive.  This provides a bonus in that on a normal year, any weeds that manage to germinate on a shallow substrate sedum roof,  will generally die of thirst - provided that we humans don’t alter the conditions and make the roof weed-friendly.

When to water a sedum roof

Like all plants, an Enviromat sedum roof will need watering until it is established, but will be independent after that.  Too much water will encourage weeds. Only water your Enviromat roof if your roof is very windy and dries out quickly, if the slope is greater than around 10 degrees, or if, during a drought, the leaves start to look like wrinkled balloons.  Other than that, let nature do the work for you.

]]>
Tue, 16 Apr 2013 09:27:28 +0000
<![CDATA[When to make your green roof]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/when-to-make-green-roof/ Robert Allen, Enviromat Production Manager

By Robert Allen
9th April 2013

When is the best time to make a green roof?

A well designed green roof will be interesting to you – and your local wildlife all year round but it's sometimes difficult to know when to start building one.
 

Robert Allen, Sedum Production Manager at Enviromat, has been growing green roof plants for the UK’s leading green roof installer for around 15 years and has been involved with all sorts of green roofs, from teeny tiny ones to huge installations. In this blogpost, Robert offers some advice about timing to ordinary folk who want to create a simple green roof.

lifting green roof components

  1. Health and Safety is paramount.   Don’t try to work on a roof in very wet or windy weather.
  2. If you want your green roof to flower in its first summer, we recommend using vegetation mats and installing them before the end of April.  For sedum mat from may onwards, flowers will be entirely weather dependant. 
  3. Enviromat sedum matting is available all year round (weather permitting) and can be installed any month of the year.
  4. Plug plants and seeds can take a while to fill in all the spaces so be prepared to wait for your roof to green up and start flowering. The sedum mat and the wild flower mat that we grow at Q Lawns will be delivered to you with around 95% plant coverage.
  5. NEVER store sedum matting rolled up.  If you can’t install it on the day it’s delivered, unroll it and let the plants see daylight.   Enviromat can normally be delivered within 3 working days of an order being placed so that you can co-ordinate your delivery with the weather and your workforce.
  6. If the weather is very hot and dry when your sedum mat is laid, be sure to water it once a week until it rains but BEWARE of over-watering. 

In short:

For speedy and reliable results:  Use sedum matting or, if you have a deep substrate base, wild flower matting.

Install in spring or autumn in an ideal world – but any time of year is OK provided it’s safe to work on the roof

Watch our “how to” video and make sure the building and the roof are prepared before you order your green roof build up

Contact us if you have any questions or if you need help to install a living green roof on your garden building

]]>
Tue, 09 Apr 2013 09:52:32 +0000
<![CDATA[What does a green roof weigh?]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roof-weight/ grass roof

By Enviromat: 27th March 2013

How much does a green roof weigh?

This is something that our customer service team is asked almost every day and it’s probably the most important green roofing question there could ever be….after all, it’s the strength of your building that determines what sort of green roof (if any) you should be installing.


A grass roof like this needs a mighty
strong building to support it

As a rule of thumb, the more biodiversity you want on a roof, the deeper the layer of growing medium needs to be and the heavier it is.  So, for example, if you were aiming to put a wild flower meadow on your roof, you would need AT LEAST 10-15cm of growing medium to support the plants that have deeper root systems.  Expect the loading to be upwards of 250Kg per square metre…which is quite a lot, especially if your building is an average garden shed.  You would probably need to strengthen the walls and the roof deck before installing the green roof build up.

An Enviromat green roof is lighter than a wild flower roof because we use specially engineered blankets for water management and because the plant species used in the matting are very shallow rooted….so they don’t need deep soils or growing media.

A flat roof, built using the Enviromat green roof system will weigh

  • Drainage mat:   weight is negligible
  • Water retention mat; holds up to 9 litres of water per square metre, so saturated weight is 9KG/m2
  • Enviromat; when saturated with water in summer time, when the plants are at their biggest and heaviest, the mats weigh 40-45Kg/m2
  • Live Loading:  ALWAYS allow a bit of extra strength in your structure to support extra weight such as snow or the maintenance man

Total weight of an Enviromat roof* including live loading is 120Kg per square metre

*installed as per our recommendations and using Enviromat components

]]>
Wed, 27 Mar 2013 14:16:40 +0000
<![CDATA[Sedum pictures]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/sedum-images/ by Enviromat
26th March 2013

Spring time is late getting here this year and we're all desperate for a little sunshine in our lives.   Here are some pictures of Enviromat sedum matting taken in 2012 as a taste of what's to come (I hope)

Sedum album Sedum pulchellum
Sedum album:  White Stonecrop Sedum pulchellum:
Widow's Cross Stonecrop
path edged with mixed sedums sedum roof
path edged with mixed sedums mixed sedums on a roof
butterfly on sedum spurium  seed heads on a roof
 Butterfly on sedum spurium  seed heads
]]>
Tue, 26 Mar 2013 09:40:19 +0000
<![CDATA[Green roofs and wildlife corridors ]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/green-roof-wildlife-corridors/ Why we need Green Roofs for Wildlife Corridors

Angela Lambert   9th March 2013

Angela Lambert at APL eventI recently gave a talk to a group of APL members at their networking seminar that was entitled "ethical and sustainable landscaping". I was given the brief of to explaining how green roofs and wild flowers fit into a sustainable landscape and guess what - it was really difficult; not only because I find public speaking a bit of a challenge,  but because I had a 20 minute time slot and was going to struggle to say everything I wanted to in such a short time.

Green roofs, we'll designed, properly installed and carefully maintained are super sustainable and of enormous benefit to wildlife, to the environment and to whoever or whatever uses the buildings they are on.  For this blog spot I'll concentrate on the way in which green roofs create wildlife corridors and why that's so important to humans.

Around one third of our food depends on pollinating insects such as bees, moths, butterflies and hoverflies.  Without these tiny volunteers we would have no apples, plums, courgettes, tomatoes, beans, onions, cucumbers or cabbages - we'd also be short of flowering plants and oh my goodness, wouldn't we have to pay high prices for our 5 a-day!

 

Over the last few decades, scientists have recorded an enormous decline in the numbers of pollinating insects and there is a worry that if pollinators keep disappearing, it will become more and more difficult go feed the rising population of people know this country.

 Two of the factors that are affecting pollinating insects are a lack of suitable food plants and long distances between colonies.  In other words, man has either built on or cultivated so much land that our small helpers can't find enough to eat when the food crops have finished flowering. Neither can they travel to the next colony to mate with partners that are not close relatives.

 A wildlife corridor addresses both of these problems and needn't be an inconvenience to us people.  If every street, motorway, fenceline, hedgerow and riverbank were lined with nectar-rich flowers, laval food plants for caterpillars and resting places for tired critters, our pollinators would all be much healthier and happier. 

bird on green roof

If planting at ground level is not practical eg in towns or where gardens have been paved over for parking,  green roofs make great service stations for flying creatures.   Enviromat sedum matting is frequently used to create green roofs on sheds and garden offices and has recently been approved by the RHS to carry the RHS Perfect For Pollinators logo. 

It isn't difficult to create a green roof for wildlife using Enviromat....check out our installation page for a more information or read more about green roofs for wildlife.            

]]>
Sat, 09 Mar 2013 12:25:45 +0000
<![CDATA[Sedum matting is Perfect for Pollinators]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/perfect-for-pollinators/  updated 21st february 2013
by Angela Lambert

rhs perfect for pollinators logo

 

Enviromat are proud to announce that the Royal Horticultural Society has given us permission to associate Enviromat sedum matting with the RHS Perfect for Pollinators logo.

Pollinating insects are in decline

The number of pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies, hoverflies and moths has been in decline for at least 50 years.  In that time, at least 2 species of bee have become extinct and according to a recent study conducted by the Zoological Society of London, Bumblebees, beetles and butterflies are at greater risk of extinction than lions and tigers.

butterfly on sedum flower

A pollinator is a creature that transfers pollen from one plant to another, allowing flowers to become fertilized and able to produce seeds or fruit.  Around 1/3 of the food we eat has been produced with the aid of a pollinating insect….so they’re awfully important.

The problem for these creatures is that they cannot feed solely on our food crops. That would be like us relying on food shops that only open during May and June.

The RHS have recognized the importance of pollinators, not just for food and farming but for ecology, biodiversity and the environment in general, and so they have compiled a list of plants that are good for gardens and good for insects too.

Enviromat is made up of several species of sedum plants and one early-flowering native plant called Meadow Saxifrage.  Bees and butterflies adore sedum plants because the flowers are flat, star shaped and really easy to collect pollen and nectar from.  Enviromat, which is great for low maintenance groundcover and for creating living roofs, contains a mixture of sedums to give a nice long flowering period.  Weather permitting; Enviromat will be a source of nectar between April and November, which means of course, that it’s perfect for pollinators.

More about Enviromat sedum matting

]]>
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 18:12:31 +0000
<![CDATA[how to make a flat green roof]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/how-to-make-a-flat-green-roof/  updated 6th february 2013

Do we want to live in water world?

flat green roof in stevenageWith global warming affecting sea levels, storm water runoff being pumped into our rivers and waterways and planners with developers building on flood plains for new housing, it is no coincidence that we are increasingly seeing more flooding around the U.K.. The problem will only get worse as global temperatures rises, but there are solutions to the problems we face.  The easiest by far is to create a green roof, no need for expensive water harvesting systems or a space big enough to put a storage tank in your garden.

A green roof can reduce storm water run-off by up to 80%, this reduces the amount of water being pumped into our waterways and rivers.

 

I am going to tell you how to create a green roof. This is for flat roofs only.

Whether your roof is big or small there are a few major factors in deciding to have a green roof:

1)      Can your roof take the extra weight of the green roof?

      Your roof needs to be able to withstand the weight of 120kg per square metre.

2)      Is the waterproofing on your roof in a good condition?, Does the roof drain away properly?

      To repair leaks once the sedum matting is installed is very expensive.

3)      Is the surface of your roof flat and smooth? Air pockets can lead to dead patches.

      The matting will settle onto small hills and bumps, but will not cope with sudden changes such as corrugated tin roofs.

laying water retention mat on a flat roofNow that you know your roof is suitable for `greening’, let’s get started with the good bit.

Firstly let’s make sure you can access the roof safely, scaffold towers and hop-ups should be used. Always take extra care when working at height, even relatively low heights.

Final check if the waterproofing is sound, get your hosepipe out and soak the roof, keep checking inside for leaks or damp patches, adding food colouring to a watering can will help to find leaks.

This is your last chance to check before it gets expensive!

The roof will need some form of edging to protect the sedum from `wind uplift’; the edging must still let excess water drain away. Edging can be bought from certain suppliers.

Once you know your roof is water tight we can start to build up the layers we need for the green roof.

flat green roof build upThe first layer you will need is a good quality, strong root barrier, something along the lines of a poly butyl pond liner.

Next up is the drainage layer; this layer can come in a few different designs. Some have an egg cup design with small water reservoirs throughout but these are un-flexible, others come in the form of a filter mat.

The next layer before you get your hands dirty is the water retention mat, this lightweight inexpensive fleece holds 9 litres of saturated water per square metre, this is vital to keeping your roof looking great for years to come.

Now is the time for the sedum blankets, make sure you can lift the sedum onto the roof safely, it may need 2 people to lift it up onto the roof.

Roll the sedum blanket out making sure you have got the blanket as close to the edging as possible, once it is rolled out, remember to unravel the extra piece of matting and lay it flat on the roof. This extra piece helps to secure the sedum to the roof.

Repeat as above, remembering to start the next roll tight up against the previous roll, on top of the extra piece of matting.

Once you have got to the point of trimming your sedum matting, carefully mark the roll where it needs to be trimmed. Make sure to cut the blankets from the non-vegetated side.

Make sure all edges are pushed down along the edging strip and all joints have no gaps.

Once you have your green roof installed make sure to water it, especially if you have installed your green roof during hot weather.

If you prepare fully and follow these simple steps, you too could have a fantastic looking green roof.

green roof officeOnce your green roof is installed, you MUST keep it maintained or all your hard work would have been for nothing.

 

Watch our video on how to install a sedum roof

]]>
Wed, 06 Feb 2013 09:30:47 +0000
<![CDATA[How to "green" a pitched roof]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/how-to-make-a-pitched-green-roof/ green roof shed

After the second wettest year on record with over 8,000 homes and businesses affected by flooding, the time has come for green roofs to take centre stage.

A green roof can reduce storm water run-off by up to 80%, this reduces the amount of water being pumped into our waterways and rivers.

I am going to tell you how to `green’ a pitched roof.

Whether your roof is big or small there are a few major factors in deciding to have a green roof:

1)      Can your roof take the extra weight of the green roof?

      Your roof needs to be able to withstand the weight of 120kg per square metre.

2)      Is the waterproofing on your roof in a good condition?, Does the roof drain away properly?

      To repair leaks once the sedum matting is installed is very expensive.

3)      Is the surface of your roof flat and smooth? Air pockets can lead to dead patches.

      The matting will settle onto small hills and bumps, but will not cope with sudden changes such as corrugated tin roofs.

 

Now that you know your roof is suitable for `greening’, let’s get started with the good bit.

protection for waterproofing

Firstly let’s make sure you can access the roof safely, scaffold towers and hop-ups should be used. Always take extra care when working at height, even relatively low heights.

Final check if the waterproofing is sound, get your hosepipe out and soak the roof, keep checking inside for leaks or damp patches.                              This is your last chance to check before it gets expensive!

The roof will need some form of edging to protect the sedum from `wind uplift’; the edging must still let excess water drain away.                                 

Once you know its water tight we can start to build up the layers we need for the green roof.

The first layer you will need is a good quality, strong root barrier, something along the lines of a poly butyl pond liner.

The next layer before you get your hands dirty is the water retention mat, this lightweight inexpensive fleece holds 9 litres of saturated water per square metre, this is vital to keeping your roof looking great for years to come.

Now is the time for the sedum blankets, make sure you can lift the sedum onto the roof safely, it may need 2 people to lift it up onto the roof.

Roll the sedum blanket out making sure you have got the blanket as close to the edging as possible, once it is rolled out, remember to unravel the extra piece of matting and lay it flat on the roof. This extra piece helps to secure the sedum to the roof

Repeat as above, remembering to start the next roll tight up against the previous roll, on top of the extra piece of matting.

Once you have got to the point of trimming your sedum matting, carefully mark the roll where it needs to be trimmed. Make sure to cut the blankets from the non-vegetated side.

Make sure all edges are pushed down along the edging strip and all joints have no gaps.

Once you have your green roof installed make sure to water it, especially if you have installed the green roof during hot weather.

If you prepare fully and follow these simple steps, you too could have a fantastic looking green roof.

Once your green roof is installed, you MUST keep it maintained or all your hard work would have been for nothing.

nice shed with a living roof

Kevin used materials available from www.enviromat.co.uk to create his living green roof

updated 4th February 2013 by Kevin Docherty

]]>
Mon, 04 Feb 2013 19:08:36 +0000
<![CDATA[It’s Go for Green Roofs]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/go-for-green-roofs/ 4th february 2013

summerhouse with green roofThe snow has gone; spring will soon be with us. Now is the time to plan those jobs that need doing around the house and garden.

Some of you may be contemplating having a new shed or even a new summer house, if you are, there is more to think about then just what colour to paint it.

I am going to tell you about the benefits and joys of having a green roof.

butterfly on living roof

Benefits of a green roof

There are many benefits of having a green roof; I have listed some for you here.

It will attract and support wildlife, without pollinating insects we will have no food.

 It also insulates your building from heat and cold, resulting in cheaper bills.

 Just having a green roof extends the lifespan of the waterproofing layer; it can help to double the lifespan of your waterproofing layer.

A major benefit of a green roof is that it drastically reduces the amount of storm water that is put into our sewers and waterways. This is vital to everyone, as global warming raises sea levels and flash floods become more frequent throughout the country.

It can also reduce the noise from outside; ideal if you like somewhere quiet or you live in a busy city centre. It’s also a great idea for recording studios.

And the most important thing, it looks fantastic all year round with flowers blooming from spring right through to the autumn.

rabbit hutch with living roof

Kevin Docherty is Green Roof Manager at Enviromat.  Working throughout England, Scotland and Wales, Kevin installs small sedum roofs on buildings such as garden sheds, summerhouses, home-offices, porches and extensions.  Kevin also helps commercial facilities managers to get the full benefit from their green roofs with bespoke green roof maintenance regimes.

]]>
Mon, 04 Feb 2013 09:47:37 +0000
<![CDATA[Ethical and sustainable landscaping]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/ethical-landscaping/ Green Roof Training

Angela Lambert, green roof speakerAngela Lambert from Enviromat will be talking about Green Roofing and wild flower meadows at the APL networking seminar at Classiflora, Essex on Wednesday 06 March 2013.

The theme of the seminar is Ethical and Sustainable Landscaping and looks at green roofing, urban greening solutions, sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) and using the right plants in the right places.

Places cost just £15 + vat per person for APL members or £30 + vat per person for non-members

For further infomration contact the APL events team by emailing events@the-hta.org.uk or calling 0118 930 3132 for more information.  

Or visit the event page on the hta website  

]]>
Wed, 16 Jan 2013 15:56:16 +0000
<![CDATA[Enviromat and Survival of the Fittest]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/sedum-mat-survival-of-the-fittest/ Kevin and Mark from Q Lawns

Enviromat and
Survival of the Fittest

 

Q Lawns' representatives Kevin Harden and Mark Gurney will be joining delegates and exhibitors at Palmstead Nurseries’ soft landscaping workshop “survival of the fittest” on 27th September.

Kevin and Mark will be showcasing Enviromat sedum matting for green roofing and low maintenance ground cover and Meadowmat wild flower matting for ground use.  Both products have been designed with wildlife in mind and have a host of environmental benefits.

Palmstead Nurseries’ workshops aim to inform, educate and inspire and this year’s event promises to be excellent.  Combining scientific research, hands-on experience and interesting design ideas, the day-long seminar program offers excellent value for money at just £21 per person…which includes lunch and refreshments.

Showcasing Enviromat and Meadowmat

Q Lawns will be exhibiting live products, so while you’re enjoying your complimentary refreshments, please seek out Kevin and Mark (situated in the corner of the Kent Suite) and take a good look at Enviromat and Meadowmat. 

Enviromat cross sectionEnviromat is our UK grown sedum matting.  A mixture of six low growing sedums with a smattering of Meadow Saxifrage, Enviromat produces nectar rich flowers from April to October (weather permitting).  Because the matting system contains all the growing medium these little plants need, Enviromat can be installed on to soil-less areas such as roofs, patios, rock gardens or slopes and it also makes a fantastic alternative to a grass lawn in low-traffic areas.

As a living roof material, Enviromat is probably the least heavy of all green roof build-ups and one of the easiest to install.  In fact, the company offers a green roof installation service for anyone not confident working at heights.

Meadowmat is grown on an adjacent field to Enviromat on Q Lawns’ farm on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.

A mixture of 30 native flowering species and 4 native grasses, Meadowmat seeks to provide a rich source of nectar for bees, butterflies and hoverflies as well as habitat for a wealth of small creatures.

Not only does Meadowmat produce a wonderful floral display through late spring and into summer, it’s easy to install, gives more reliable results than seeding, and has a low cost maintenance regime. It’s perfect for local authorities looking to save money on grassland management.

As an added bonus, Meadowmat improves with age; properly managed, it will become more biodiverse and more colourful every summer.

Contact Q Lawns for more Information

For more information about either product…or indeed about Q Lawns turf, topsoil or sundry landscaping products; please call the office on 01842 828266 or email Angelal@qlawns.co.uk with any questions you may have.

]]>
Wed, 19 Sep 2012 11:24:54 +0000
<![CDATA[Sedum features at Tatton for New Charter]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/new-charter-landscapes/ New Charter Landscapes featured a Sedum Enviromat living roof at the Tatton Flower Show 2012. The garden, called "Dream Scheme" illustrated two seasons and they wanted to incorporate a sedum Enviromat roof. Turfland provided two slabs of Enviromat, one with pink flowers and one with yellow flowers which was perfect to fit in with the garden theme.

 dream scheme sedum roof winter

Winter half of the garden, pink side of the sedum roof.

Enviromat roof summer

Summer half of the garden, yellow side of the sedum roof.

]]>
Wed, 22 Aug 2012 13:46:42 +0000
<![CDATA[Bath House at Ormskirk Enviromat Roof]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/final-touches-to-bath-house-includes-sedum-roof/ Through hard work and determination Mark Horton transformed a derelict 18th century folly into a luxurious family. Half way through the project as the pressure became too much he suffered a massive heart attack but came out fighting and completed the project. This unique property is a credit to him with the original building merging into a subtle extention surrounding a stunning courtyard.

folly in a field

At the start of the project, a folly in a field.

restored and looking stunning

Old merges into new.

installed enviromat on flat roof

Newly installed sedum roof.

flowering sedum on flat roof

In full flower August 2012.

]]>
Wed, 22 Aug 2012 12:51:18 +0000
<![CDATA[Enviromat Sedum Mat at Southport Flower Show]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/enviromat-sedum/ Enviromat looks beautiful on a roof or on the ground and Lovania nurseries created a beautiful display at this years Southport Flower Show in both as aspects. The alpines grown by Lovania complement the sedum and make a striking display.

Sedum on the ground

Sedum used as a ground cover looks dramatic amongth the fine gravel

Sedum roof shed

As a living roof the skys the limit, from bird tables to summer houses.

]]>
Tue, 21 Aug 2012 13:04:11 +0000
<![CDATA[Enviromat and MeadowMat "make a splash" at Tatton]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/tatton-flower-show/ The garden titled making a splash, designed by landscaper Jackie Knight, was designed to celebrate her 20 years in the landscaping business as well as her 20th wedding anniverary. It included garden features that are favourites with Jackie and her clients.

Jackie's trademark sandstone rock and water garden featured a stone bridge that crossed a stream that lead to an outdoor entertainment area. A wooden summerhouse featured Enviromat Sedum living roof mat supplied by Turfland / Q Lawn. A MeadowMat wild flower lawn lead up a bank to the source of the water feature where water tumbled down over rocks to a central pond. A brightly coloured planting scheme complimented the garden.

Sedum roof summer house

Turfland at Tatton

 

 

 

]]>
Tue, 21 Aug 2012 11:15:32 +0000
<![CDATA[When to feed sedum roofs]]> http://www.enviromat.co.uk/blog/sedum-roof-maintenance/ Extensive green roofs, particularly ones created using a lightweight sedum blanket such as Enviromat are typically based on a shallow layer of specially formulated growing medium known as substrate.  Green roof substrates purposely don’t contain a lot of organic matter for various engineering reasons.  That means that once the plants have finished their spring growth spurt, flowered and set seed they will have used up most of the nutrients in the growing medium and will be hungry for more.  If the plants are to be ready to survive the winter, they need to be in tip top condition.

So can you tell if your sedum roof needs feeding?

  • Have you had plenty of flowers this summer?  If flowers on your roof were in few and far between, it's likely that your roof has been hungry for some time and needs some TLC in a hurry.   If you’ve had a really good floral display, plants will be heading towards exhaustion and will benefit from a light feed in the next couple of weeks.
  • What colour is the foliage?  At this time of year, and with all the rain we’ve had lately, sedum leaves ought to look like plump green jelly beans.  If the foliage is bright red all over the roof;or worse, if there aren’t many leaves at all, your roof could be in a muddle.  Please send us a photograph and ask for advice before you do anything else.
  • Are there any bare patches between plants? A healthy sedum roof will have a lovely thick sward of plants at this time of year with hardly any gaps between them.  Again, please send us a picture if you feel plant coverage is particularly poor. It probably means that the roof is overdue for a feed but there may also be underlying problems such as issues with shade or drainage.
  • Weeds: a few weeds at this time of year are to be expected, particularly after the rain we’ve had.  It's not unusual to have a few grass plants amongst the sedums but a real infestation of grass or moss needs treating.  Be sure to pull out any tree seedlings this autumn and if you’re worried about weeds, please email a photo to our Production Manager who will be able to advise you on how best to control them.  Remember…..on an extensive green roof, weeds could indicate a problem with drainage or they could be a sign that nutrient levels are not quite right.
  • When did you last feed your roof? Sedum roofs need feeding at least once a year. Twice a year if we have high rainfall or if the roof-pitch is greater than 10 degrees.  If you’ve not applied any sedum feed since January or February this year, you’d be well advised to give it a feed this summer.  If it’s been longer than that, it definitely needs attention…and the sooner the better!

What to feed

Enviromat recommends that you use Nutrifusion spring summer feed at a rate of 30g/m2 to give your green roof a boost.  Apply it any time between the beginning of march and the end of September.  One application per year is normally enough but if the weather has been particularly wet, the roof is steeply pitched or the plant layer is in poor condition, two applications may be needed.

]]>
Fri, 03 Aug 2012 16:34:37 +0000