Guest Post!: Making An Urban Rooftop Paradise

We’re very pleased to have one of our clients for this guest post! Jody McGuire’s client Steffanie Musich has written a wonderful summary of her and her husband Matt’s experiences tranforming their garage roof into an urban paradise. Thank you to Steffanie for allowing us to share your experience, and for having SALA be a part of this fantastic project!

We chose Omni Ecosystems to source our Green Roof materials after I’d read about their approach to the discipline in ASLA‘s August 2015 magazine.┬áThe approach Omni took as soil scientists to create a lightweight green roof system that could support a full prairie landscape was really appealing to me, as I wanted that look and function, but didn’t want to have the expense that a building with an intensive green roof and auxiliary rooftop structure would bring. Our architect, Jody McGuire, did a phenomenal job of translating the hodgepodge of imagery and ideas we brought her into the creation of this garage, which is really so much more than that utilitarian structure typically is. My husband and I lovingly refer to it as the Garagemahal, a built testament to each other, our little rooftop oasis in the city.

One that also allows us to continue the pursuit of our shared hobbies. From environmental stewardship – stormwater runoff from our lot ultimately ends up in Lake Nokomis, and as the founders of the Friends of Lake Nokomis, we’d like to set a good example, to brewing – there’s a small-scale micro brewery in the “garage” space below, to beekeeping – our apiary will be just adjacent to the prairie on the deck above the breezeway between the house and the new structure (see the hive in the lower left-hand corner of the first image?).

Pre-installationSALA Architect Jody McGuire

Planting mediaSALA Architect Jody McGuire

Planting time! Plants sourced from Landscape Alternatives: Palm Sedge, Switchgrass, Indian grass, blue joint grass, columbine, shorts aster, prairie wild onion, common milkweed, whorled milkweed, cream wild indigo, mountain mint, black eyed Susan, prairie tickseeds, butterfly weed (1″ plugs).

The whole space was then overseeded with: prairie oval sedge, plains oval sedge, June grass, prairie dropseed, Heath aster, cream false indigo, hairy penstemon, white yarrow, alfalfa, prairie clover, sand bracted sedge, Canadian wild rye, side oats grama, sky blue aster, bush clover, rough blazing star, mountain mint, goldenrod and Ohio spiderwort.SALA Architect Jody McGuire

PlantingSALA Architect Jody McGuire

More plantingSALA Architect Jody McGuire

Jody‘s expertise at visualizing the built space and its interface to the world that surrounds it pays dividends every time we hit up the sauna. Each seat on the benches provides you with a different view of the surrounding urban forest canopy or of the green roof itself, if I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t know I was in the city at all!SALA Architect Jody McGuire

The finished roof!SALA Architect Jody McGuire

Officially green!SALA Architect Jody McGuire

SALA Architect Jody McGuire