People have been creating green roofs for thousands of years, with the earliest known examples found in records of ancient Mesopotamia (4,000 – 600 BCE) and the very famous hanging gardens of Babylon (605 – 562 BCE).
A green roof is simply a rooftop covered, entirely or in part, by vegetation and plant life. This can be done on a large scale, as is seen in green city projects, or on a much smaller scale in your own back yard.
Benefits of installing a green roof
- Because a green roof will absorb heat, it makes your room cooler in summer
- A green roof will prevent airborne pollutants from entering your room
- Because they’re protected by an impermeable membrane, vegetated roofs last longer than conventional roofs which will reduce maintenance costs
- Green roofs look beautiful
- Green roofs give all the benefits of nature that boost your wellbeing
- Green roofs can add value to your property
- Plant life reduces the impact of carbon dioxide and produces oxygen – great for your health and the environment
- Ecological architecture is the future – get ahead of the trend!
Where can green roofs be installed in a residential property?
Unless you want to invest in costly stabilisation options, you will want to install your green roof on a flat surface. This still leaves plenty of scope for a green roof project in a residential dwelling, including on:
- Porch roofs
- Flat roof of main dwelling
- Garden rooms
General tips for installing a green roof at home
- Green roof systems come in two main types – extensive and intensive. An extensive green roof is one which has a layer of soil that’s less than six inches. Intensive green roofs have a soil level of more than six inches. An extensive system is likely to be the most appropriate for your home green roof project, but this will depend on your personal preferences and where you will be installing it.
- To not affect the structure or safety of your roofing system, your vegetation should be grown on top of waterproof layers.
- Install your green roof on a flat surface unless you want to invest in costly stabilisation options.
- Lay a waterproof membrane on top of the plastic decking, then lay a plastic sheet over that to create a barrier between the plant roots and the membrane
- Add a suitable foam insulation that will work well with damp soil
- Add a drainage mat on top of the insulation
- Use gutter guards or edging around the perimeter of your flat roof for drainage and to hold everything in place
- Lay down soil (quantity based on the type of system you chose – extensive or intensive)
- Plant your desired vegetation and water!
With the growing urgency of the climate crisis, it’s important that we all do our bit to avoid disaster. That includes simple alterations you can make to your property – many of which will benefit you as well as the environment. Installing a green roof is a fun way to have a positive impact and it’s much simpler than most people think – choose your roof, make it waterproof, lay soil and plant!