Soil for the planting beds is set to be delivered this month on Section One. In anticipation of soil, the beds are now being lined with layers of the "Living Roof" system.
The first layer to be installed: The drainage panel, a black plastic cell system, provides a critical component for water retention, drainage, and aeration. The panel looks and feels like an expansive plastic egg carton, with small cups that catch and store water as it exits the soil profile. The spaces between these cups help channel excess water toward planting bed drains, while tiny perforations in the cups allow for aeration to the soil from below.
Once in place, the drainage panel is topped with a layer of crushed gravel. The gravel is a buffer, regulating the speed at which water drains. Woven filter fabric goes over the gravel, and the fabric keeps soil particles from clogging the drains. The Living Roof System is especially important in the High Line's above-ground setting, where proper drainage throughout the planting beds is essential to establishing and maintaining healthy root systems.