The Winston-Salem rooftop gardener

Jennifer Stiles is a Winston-Salem landscaper who had a client who had a problem with his porch off the back of his house.

“Every time there was a big storm, the water came off the top of the screen porch like a waterfall and, when it hit the ground, it would splash in on the screen porch and he wasn’t able to sit out there, in the rain,” Stiles explained.

Jennifer suggested bringing a little touch of Europe through a rooftop garden.

“Rooftop gardens have been around for thousands of years. It’s a European idea,” she said.

For the project, Jennifer and her partner, Carol, laid down some bedding and then brought in all the plants, which were already set in a mixture unlike what you’d find in your backyard garden.

“Shale, clay, expanded clay, volcanic rock. What this does is it absorbs all the water and holds the water,” she explained.

But the plants they choose, won’t need much water, anyway.

“You don’t have an irrigation system on it at all. That’s something you’re letting Mother Nature take care of.”

For the owner, it provides a view outside his study, and may end even at roughly $20.00 a square foot to put in, it still may pay for itself, in the long run.

“It provides an insulating barrier. It reduces your cooling costs, in the summer time and your heating costs, in the winter,” Stiles explained.

Because the garden can absorb up to 80 percent of the rainfall, the garden roof will outlast a tradition roof by 20 years.


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