Secret gardens atop of houses help cities go green

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Secret gardens hidden high above city streets are becoming more and more popular as developers have been using them for a variety of reasons.

Mark Winterer works with Recover Green Roofs, a Somerville business that turns blank spaces into a natural oasis. Winterer tells Boston 25 News reporter Elizabeth Hopkins this new trend of planting gardens above the roofs of buildings is becoming increasingly popular.

"A green roof refers to the good stuff, the plants. So we specialize in putting plants on roofs," Winterer says. "It really transforms an environment."

That transformation can be anything - from a wildflower patch to an herb garden - creativity really sprouts with these types of projects.

Homeowners are using spaces that were previously untouched.

"We see a lot of homeowners who are looking down at a black rubber roof, out of a bedroom window, let's say.  And they'd much rather look out at green space," said Winterer.

Andy O'Brien is the Chief of Operations at Harvard Business School and says there's more to putting plants on roofs than the aesthetic aspect of it.

"It holds the storm water so it doesn't run right out the Charles and it also cleans it too," O'Brien says.

He says the roofs also reduce the cost of cooling buildings and introduce green spaces in areas that lack a view.

"The student's love it. People who come to campus now stand on this roof and talk about (the green ones they can see)," O'Brien says.

At Fenway, Recover Green Roofs created a vegetable garden which is regularly harvested. He says from businesses to residential buildings to single family homes, green roofs are a way to maintain nature around urbanized areas.

"As our cities grow and expand, we lose green space and we gain a lot of roof space so its a much better utilization of that space," says O'Brien.

The cost for setting up a green roof may vary depending on what kind of green you chose to put on your home. These additions can run from $15 dollars a square foot to $100 dollars a square foot, it all depends on how you chose to decorate your garden in the sky.