If you love plants and animals, here’s a way to combine both interests: make a mini green roof on top of your pet’s kennel.
A green roof refers to a building’s roof that is partially or wholly covered with plants. Besides prettying up the building facade, these plants help cool the roof, and reduce the need for air conditioning in the building below. Green roofs also attract wildlife, and increase biodiversity in an urban setting.
A miniaturised green roof can easily be a conversation piece with your guests. It can also be a unique focal point in a corner of your garden. Follow the steps below to make your very own DIY mini green roof. Have fun!
Materials needed (these can be found at most large plant nurseries)
- Chicken wire
- Black shade cloth
- Cable ties or a roll of metal wire
- Coconut fibre
- Expanded clay pebbles (brown clay pebbles commonly called ‘LECA’)
- Sphagnum moss
Tools needed (these can be found at hardware stores)
- Hand drill
- Nylon string
- Gunny Bag Needle
Measure and cut out a sheet of chicken wire that is twice as long as the kennel roof and give an allowance of 2 inches all round.
Spread the shredded coconut husk, expanded clay pebbles and sphagnum moss on one half of the chicken wire (this corresponds roughly to the size of the roof).
Fold over the other half of the chicken wire to cover the portion with shredded coconut husk, expanded clay pebbles and sphagnum moss. Carefully fold over the chicken wire along the sides.
Cut a piece of shade cloth that is large enough to wrap over the entire chicken wire ‘sandwich’. Fold over the excess of the shade cloth and sew the edges together.
Place the chicken wire ‘sandwich’ over the roof of the kennel. Drill some holes at regular intervals along the edge of the kennel’s roof. Secure the chicken wire ‘sandwich’ onto the roof by using cable ties or metal wires.
Cut holes into the chicken wire ‘sandwich’. Insert plants of your choice into the planting hole, making sure that the root ball of the plant is well embedded in the planting media found inside the chicken wire ‘sandwich’.
Continue planting until the entire roof is covered with plants. Do remember to give plants ample space between each other.
The Completed Product
Once the roof is fully planted, the roof garden for your pet’s kennel is almost complete!
Now, spray some water from a bottle so that the roof stays moist. Wash off any soil debris that may be found on your plants.
To ensure that your roof garden looks good at all times, remember to prune overgrown plants and remove dead leaves.
For this DIY project, it is vital to choose plants that are safe for pets. You can also use plants that are not palatable to them.
Do select plants that can thrive where the kennel is displayed. For example, pick semi-shade plants if the kennel is located in a sheltered corner of your house or garden.
As most semi-shade plants are foliage plants, play with leaf colour, shape and texture, to create a visually appealing combination. Here’s a tip: use trailing plants to mask the hard edges of the kennel’s roof.
From top left, Rhizomatous Begonia (Begonia rex cultivar), Nerve Plant (Fittonia cultivar), Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina), Flame Violet (Episcia cultivar) and Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum).
By Lim Choon Boon & Wilson Wong