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Grassy roof garden, flowering walls...built into the house.

Grassy roof garden, flowering walls . . . built into the house

Vegetation atop and along this house softens its hard-edged lines and helps anchor it visually to its hilltop site. Decorative grass in a first-story roof planter greets guests. The shiplapped mahogany siding, which emphasizes the strong horizontal mass of the house, has detailing that helps train shading vines up onto a trellis.

Designed by architect Robert G. Zinkhan of Santa Rosa, California, the house has a second floor that steps back from the lower floor. The rooftop garden directs views from second-story windows and keeps the owner from looking out on the tar-and-gravel rooftop.

The 14-foot-wide, L-shaped planter sits above the groundfloor living room, dining room, and kitchen. Its 18-foot-long shorter leg runs above the entry; the 48-foot-long side extends along the south elevation. Resting on angled joists that slope to the outside, the 12-inch-deep planter was sealed with hot-mopped tar. The roof below was engineered for the load of the soil. A mesh soil separator along the outer edge keeps the built-in drain line from clogging. A drip system waters the plants.

To create deeper areas for larger plants, Zinkhan contoured the soil with mounds. Most of the year, a low-growing ground cover, Myoporum parvifolium, and the distinctive clumps of fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) dominate the planter. For spring color the owner plants bulbs.

Photo: Puffy grasses atop first-floor roof (left) contrast with the house's massive rock walls and rectilinear design. L-shaped planter (above) sits between second-floor bedrooms and tar-and-gravel roof; wood trellis at far right extends over dining patio

Photo: Trellis covers outdoor dining area; vines grow up columns and onto top. For summer shading, planter leg above kitchen overhangs windows

Photo: To train bougainvillea, every fourth course of siding on rectangular columns juts out
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jun 1, 1986
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