Taking gardening to new heights
"Aviad's rooftop garden serves not just as our apartment's source of
herbs and produce, but also as a gathering place to have a beer, watch
the sunset and talk about our lives," neighbor David Pflaum says. "This
man has single- handedly educated us about the possibilities of urban
gardening while simultaneously bringing together a diverse group of
tenants that might otherwise not ever socialize beyond the simple
But gardening in the heights adds a complicated set of issues for the
home grower to consider: Load. Weight. Drainage. Wind. Evaporation.
Anyone pondering a do-it- yourself rooftop garden needs professional
advice, says Ed Maurer, an associate professor of civil engineering at
Santa Clara University.
"You must contact an expert on roofs ‹ either a roof contractor or an
engineer ‹ who can tell you if your roof is safe. The expert can also
tell you exactly what kind of load it can handle," Maurer says. "If you
don't know what you are doing and are exceeding the load of the roof,
you might be left with extremely costly and dangerous roof damage."
Also, Maurer says: "Make sure you spend a lot of time and effort
waterproofing between the bottom of your garden and the roof material,
or else you will have a leaky roof on your hands."
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