In Germany

In Germany even humble locals are passionate about urban greening. Ralf’s cousin welcomed us for lunch at his home which had been recently renovated to include various green roofs. A green roof takes up rainwater and diminishes the amount of water that leaves the site. Old school planning policies designed urban landscapes that would ensure rainwater would move quickly off urban streets and homes and into storm water drains, creeks and rivers. As populations in cities have grown and paved areas have increased the amount of water discharged into urban waterways has also vastly grown. In response to this, a new wave of thinking has been introduced: water sensitive urban design (WSUD). The aim of which is to capture water on site in a rainwater tank, or in the form of an ornamental or productive vegetable garden, or as a rain garden bed with aquatic plant species. Urban planning is now geared towards reducing paved areas so as to allow rainwater to enter the soil on our properties. The soil profile, rich with soil microbes, also acts as a cleaner. Bacteria use the nutrients in the water (nutrients washed off roads, gardens etc) to reproduce and hence diminish the nutrient loads entering our waterways. By designing our homes to capture rainwater for reuse on our gardens we also help to cool cities through evaporation and transpiration. Gardens help to cool our homes and collectively our cities. Roof top gardens are excellent insulators that stabilise indoor air temperatures. I loved visiting this German home and have developed such huge admiration for the German people and their endless innovative green practices.

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New garage rooftop doubles as an outdoor living area.

A small roof above a walkway is also planted out.

A small roof above a walkway is also planted out.

Permeable paving along a small residential drive allows storm water to filter through and diminishes storm water run off that swells our rivers and creeks beyond capacity.

Permeable paving along a small residential drive allows storm water to filter through and diminishes storm water run off that swells our rivers and creeks beyond capacity.