Roof Gardens Slow to Grow in Arkansas

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jun. 1, 2009 12:00 am  

Mark Boyer, interim department head at the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, shows garden atop a UA building.


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Still, there aren't many rooftop gardens in Arkansas.

Steve Wyman, the manager of Good Earth Garden Center & Nurseries
in Little Rock, said his company maintains the green roof at the Clinton Presidential Library, which features native plants and grasses. The University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville also has two green roofs.

"I'm not really sure why it's not as popular here as it is in other parts of the country," said Carl Smith, an assistant professor at the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas.

The ADEQ didn't go forward with its garden roof because "officials at the time determined that the agency didn't have the manpower for the ongoing maintenance of that," ADEQ spokesman Aaron Sadler said. He also said startup costs were an issue.

Sadler said he didn't know what the costs would have been to maintain the roof.

The cost to install a rooftop garden varies, but it can add $10 a SF - or more - to the roof. Robertson said he didn't remember what it would have cost the ADEQ, but figured it was in the $20- to $30-SF range.

Robertson said that he was disappointed when he learned that the ADEQ was scrapping its plans for a rooftop garden. Maintenance would have involved only some weeding and watering if there were a drought, he said.

"But typically after it's established, it's not a big deal," Robertson said. "So [the ADEQ] may have thought they didn't have the maintenance staff to do it, but that was never discussed with us in terms of what maintenance needs would be required."

Robertson said he didn't know what the ADEQ could have saved if it had installed the green roof.




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