Once home to Fry’s, one of the nation’s favourite chocolate brands, The Chocolate Quarter is now a stylish development of spacious, well-appointed retirement apartments, also accommodating a care home within the complex.

As part of the transformation, the grand 1920s buildings in The Chocolate Quarter have been lovingly refurbished to maintain their landmark status. Part of this refurbishment included the construction of five new roof gardens at first and second floor level.

idverde was awarded the contract for the roof gardens package in May 2017 and works were completed in December 2017. Works included:

  • Creation of steel plant beds
  • Soft landscaping works using imported topsoil and plants
  • Installation of pergola features
  • Installation of new furniture
  • Pedestal paving
  • Acoustic fencing
  • Installation of irrigation system
  • Installation of water features
  • Maintenance requirements

Due to the lack of space on site and access restrictions imposed by working on the first and second floor (requiring cranes to move materials) the project team had to carefully plan the schedule of works to manage the flow of materials needed for each of the five garden zones. Consequently, the programme was planned so that the paving on each garden was completed initially to enable the storage of materials for the next phases.

The steel beds were then lifted into place and installed on each roof garden in one phase, with soil installed into all beds during the next phases, completed by planting in one phase of the programme. This approach minimised the use of the crane and any disturbance caused for local stakeholders.

The client requested that the largest roof garden was completed as a matter of priority, and so we delivered this before completing works on the remaining four gardens.

The site was closed to the public during works to ensure safety on the site.

Apart from the usual challenges of working on the roof of a building, the team found that the levels on all of the roof gardens were deeper than initially detailed on the drawings. This required the team to amend the specification of materials, such as the pedestals, to compensate for this unforeseen issue.

It is testament to the team’s hard work that the project was awarded a National Award in the Green Roof Installations and Roof Gardens category in the 2018 British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) Awards.