Landscape & Irrigation

October 2015

Landscape and Irrigation is read by decision makers throughout the landscape and irrigation markets — including contractors, landscape architects, professional grounds managers, and irrigation and water mgmt companies and reaches the entire spetrum.

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Page 16 of 43 Landscape and Irrigation October 2015 17 LANDSCAPE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION palette, and we designed the drainage, soil mix and irrigation system. We then installed everything including the plants and seed. We tested several drainage systems, and spoke with many soil experts and suppliers to determine these components. We originally installed a pop-up irrigation system at the perimeter of the roof spraying inward with full heads farther in. This irrigation system worked great to establish and water the plants. However, once the building was occupied, we received complaints that the employees were getting wet from irrigation water blowing off the roof. We fixed this problem by moving the half heads 15 feet in from the edge and using Netafim [a drip irrigation system] for the 15-foot perimeter of the building roof. We have been installing green roofs ever since. Seeger: I started Green City specifically to do green roof and stormwater services. I started taking green roof classes from the industry association Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, and I went to a couple of conferences for workshops and classes. Then I started learning about roofing as much as I could. I took construction management courses and crane training. Many green roofs are LEED certified, so I studied and became a LEED AP in new construction. As far as irrigation, I didn't like sub-contracting that out, so I went to Cincinnati State for some irrigation classes. I feel like the training and certifications helped to show we were taking steps to move above and beyond regular landscaping, and we could offer a valuable service to the construction manager and the architect. Q: What advice would you offer to landscapers new to the green roof market? What types of staff, tools, training, equipment and expertise are required to succeed? Herndon: Be aware of the safety rules first and foremost, and make sure you get any required safety training or certifications. We sent several [members] of our team for aerial and scissor lift training before we started on this green roof work. In our city there was recently a fatal lift accident, and it was determined that the individuals had not been adequately trained. Other than that, make sure you talk to the manufacturers and get as many tips as you can. I really learned a lot at last year's CitiesAlive: Green Roof & Wall Conference in Nashville [Tenn.]. It was a great way to get an introduction into the market and to help determine what more we had to learn. And there is a lot! I plan on attending again this year. Crumrine: Green roof construction is a completely different type of landscape construction. The site logistics for staging and receiving materials, lifting to the work site, and keeping workers safe are much more complicated than working on the ground. The only real way to learn how to do it successfully is to hire someone with experience. The only way you can get good at the means and methods to install green roofs is by doing it, or hiring someone who has done it. And the risks associated with the first are daunting. Vlay: There are three keys to success with green roofs. (1) Safety, because you are normally several stories above ground level. (2) Hoisting materials onto the roof and to their final locations. This can be done with cranes, Gradalls, conveyor belts and/or blowers. (3) Maintenance, because soil is usually a lightweight blend that drains rapidly and can be fairly shallow. Special attention must be paid to the watering requirements that can be very different and more demanding than landscaping at ground level. Also, it can be windy several stories up, and there is usually very little shade, which requires a greater level of care for maintenance crews monitoring the irrigation system. Seeger: My advice to landscapers looking to take it to the next level is training. Being on the roof is a lot different than on the ground — fall protection is key. Everyone needs to be trained and understand the hazards. Crane training is also important. Insurance and workers' compensation is a different category on the roof as well, so understand what responsibilities you should take on, and which you shouldn't. Also, plant choices are different on the roof. The hardiest plant on the ground may not have a chance on a roof. Q: How do you set yourself apart from the rest of the green roof market? Herndon: We are really currently focused in our current market and providing full exterior landscape services for our clients. We see this as an extension to that, and our niche is that we are now providing another service that our clients can come to us for and not have to seek additional contractors. Property and facility managers are pressed for time, and know very little about green roofs or walls. If we can be a source of information and service for them in an existing relationship, they love that. The trust is already in place. Seeger: The beginning is very hard; anyone can underbid you and everyone wants to try something new. Selling yourself as the expert when you are just beginning can be tricky. All the classes in the world won't give you the experience you get on the roof, but it will help, so make sure you understand the green roof system before you dive in. Continued maintenance on a roof that you install will make it a success, so try to stay on at least for the first year. I usually tell my clients, you won't be able to get rid of me for a year. Jennifer Foden is a writer and editor based in Toronto. She was previously the editor of the Living Architecture Monitor, North America's green roof and wall magazine. Green roof subsurface irrigation system at Clark Montessori High School in Cincinnati. PHOTO BY GREEN CITY RESOURCES LI

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