How Do You Make A Living Roof

Tips to Constructing a Green Roof

How Do You Make A Living Roof-a-roof-with-turf
A roof with turf

The world of gardening provides many opportunities to express oneself by letting our imagination run wild as we embark upon an adventure with those creative style or work which is our signature. There are no set rules except for the basic or the foundation in which to build, from there we are free to let those creative juices flow.

One such garden we will be discussing is a living roof or green roof garden, these garden types have gained much popularity in urban areas because of aesthetics and other benefits that are involved. Constructing a green roof is a great way to connect with nature while helping to bring balance to our ecosystem.

If you are a garden enthusiast who is looking for ways in taking your garden experience to the next level then come go with me on this journey as we discuss how to make a living roof? This method of gardening is great as you garden above the ground, with that said let’s get started.

3 types of green roof

1. Lightweight- this method is very simple because of low-maintenance sedum plants.

2. Extensive – this method helps in the support of wildlife by incorporating both wildflower and sedum.

3. Semi-intensive this style of creating a living roof is high maintenance and involves a combination of plants such as herbs, small shrubs, and ornamental plants.

6 Steps to make a living roof

1. Safety First

The first step in the right direction is safety, sure you want a living roof but what you also want is to ensure that your roof can support the weight, therefore it’s good to check the soundness of the structure. Rain and snow can add to the weight also so take this into consideration. If you’re not too sure about the structural soundness seek the assistance of your architect or a structural engineer.

2. What’s the angle of your roof

Every house is not the same, no matter how big or how small each house has a different style, which brings me to the next point which is the roof. Some house roofs are sloped at a different angle and then there are those that are flat, according to the style of your house roof will determine the difficulty or ease as far as installation and maintenance are concerned. A-frame should be installed especially if your living roof is on a slop to prevent it from slipping. When working from a roof that has a slop ensure that you’re safe because when working from a sloping roof it’s easier to lose your grip or footing.

3. Waterproof

The first layer should consist of water – and roof-proof membrane to keep the water and roots from reaching the roof. Use a single sheet to cover the entire area. A pond liner that’s heavy-duty with an adhesive can be used, to ensure proper drainage mark all outlets.

4. The frame

Cutting into a containment frame will direct water runoff into the gutter, the use of rocks, stones, or pebbles will help in unwanted vegetation from gathering around the roof edges along with preventing blockage.

5. Adding a substrate layer

The next step is adding a substrate layer which can vary depending on the type of vegetation, a substrate mixture of 70% inorganic material and 30% organic material is ideal because besides its lightness will discourage unwanted vegetation.

6. The final step

The final step in your living roof project is the installation of plants, there are several choices from which to choose which include plant cuttings, seed mixture, pre-vegetated roof mats/blankets, or plant plugs.

Maintaining a green or living roof

Maintaining your living roof requires some weeding of weed seeds that are carried by the wind along with applying fertilizers several times a year. You may need to apply water during the dry season where there is no rainfall. Some light pruning may be needed also.

The benefits of  a living roof

  • Purifies the air
  • Helps to regulate indoor temperatures
  • Provides a rainwater buffer
  • Reduces ambient noise both out and indoors
  • Encourage biodiversity
  • Save energy
  • Adds value to the building
  • Increase the feeling of well-being
  • Is believed to extend the roof life
  • Insulates the building
  • Reduce and slows stormwater runoff
  • Have been known to reduce urban heat
  • Support wildlife habitat

The final word on how do you make a living roof

Creating a living or green roof has these benefits, this garden type is a great way to get creative along with the many benefits that are involved. Installing a living roof is a winner as you get the best of both worlds, why miss out on the fun when you can have a garden like this of your own. Let your living roof become the talk of the town or should I say neighborhood as family, neighbors, and friends admire your work. Why not give this garden type a try and see for yourself. By following this guide you will be well on your way to constructing and enjoying your very own living roof. Let’s get started you will be so happy that you did.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

6 thoughts on “How Do You Make A Living Roof”

  1. A very interesting topic ad article. I love the fact that green roofs beautify buildings and neighborhoods. They are act as an insulation against heat and cold, which is another advantage – and the building remains pleasantly cool in summer and warm in winter. The lower energy consumption and requirement is also noticeable on your energy bill.

    I will definitely join you in this journey!

    • These gardens are really amazing along with the benefits they offer. So good to know you are joining me on this adventure. All the best to you and please let me how it goes!!

  2. WOw! what a great article, I love the outdoors and anything when it comes to building as I have a carpentry background myself with framing houses, and after reading your article on building a safe roof from these materials I have learned a lot. I cant wait to share this with some of the guys I work with as there a lot of great points in here that many people don’t know. Thank you for your article! I will for sure be passing it along.

  3. Since I was a kid, I have always wanted a living roof. And now that my husband and I are moving to the countryside, it;s the perfect time to incorporate a living roof into the house we are building. I like the list you have provided. And I agree with you that safety always comes first. It’s good to always consider rain and snow as an additional weight.

    • Hello Ann so good to see you and I am happy to help as always. This style of gardening is really amazing. Wishing you much success with your living roof garden project.


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