Copyright Natural Habitats 2016

Green Roofs in Mountain Scene

Green Roofs in Mountain Scene


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“The newly opened Hilton Queenstown has four roof gardens, the space age $10million Jagged Edge super-home has two, and two new mansions reportedly have a roof garden each.

All eight roof gardens have been installed by Auckland-based Natural Habitats, whose director Graham Cleary says there will be more to come in the Wakatipu.

“We’re surprised at the number of installations we’ve already done,people are trying to blend their homes more and more into the landscape,” Cleary says.

Natural Habitats has four full-timers and up to 14 part-timers staffing its local operation.

Arrowtowner Mark Aston is the firm’s Central Otago area manager. With a former business partner, Aston installed the Wakatipu’s first ‘green roof’ on an Arthurs Point home seven years ago.

The four Hilton roofs comprise two smaller grassed gardens totalling 20 square metres, a medium-size roof of 80sq m carpeted in red ground-cover plants and a giant-size 220sq m garden planted in a mixture of meadow grass and poppies.

Jagged Edge has a snow-tussock roof garden atop its newly-completed guesthouse, plus a range of native shrubs in soil up to 600mm deep on top of the garage of the main house. “We generally create a [specific] blend for each roof because each roof has a different weight-load capacity,” Aston adds.

Natural Habitats maintains its roof gardens for 12 months to ensure they grow and develop as intended.

Cleary says the impact of a roof garden is “more than visual”, pointing out other benefits such as increased insulation, noise dampening, energy and heat savings, and cleaner air.

Then there are ‘wall gardens’, Cleary explains.

The first wall garden in Queenstown-Lakes will be a 7.5 metre high version going in early next year in Wanaka.