The book Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls by Nigel Dunnet and Noel Kingsbury is an authoritative book and should be on the shelf of any Brooklyn green roof installer.
I bought it in the hopes it would help improve the Eco Brooklyn living wall technique for Brooklyn brownstones where plants are actually growing on the front of the building, creating a green wall ecosystem.
Unfortunately they only touched on that kind of living wall by mentioning living wall pioneer Patrick Blank. When they say Living Walls, they are mostly talking about hanging walls or climbing walls using trellises and climbers. This is when the plant is on the ground and grows up the wall.
But despite this the book is great. The authors really know their stuff and offer clear information on all aspects of green roofs and walls. They are both from the plant realm so they focus on that. The engineering side is covered thoroughly but more as a foundation for what they consider more important: the plants.
In fact they bemoan how many green roofs are specked by engineers and architects who are very good at the design but know little about plants, resulting in green roofs that are great in terms of load bearing capacity and water tightness yet have scraggly vegetation.
The main attribute of the book is it’s clear writing. Although 300 pages long it is an easy read. And although loaded with information it is presented in a digestible way.
They have a lot of good pictures. The one flaw is that their excellent list and description of plants lacks pictures. What is the use of a list of plants if you can’t see what they look like?
But the rest of the book makes up for it. They have read a lot of the other books out there on the subject of green roofs and have consolidated it into their book.
They are from the UK so their focus is on the UK and Europe. There isn’t much on US green roofs and there definitely isn’t mention of Brooklyn green roofs.
But overall a good reference guide.