Greenroofs: a Garden for You and the Earth

Perhaps one of the oddest looking ways to go Green is the Greenroof. But done right and well planned, it can be a perfect way to add a third level to your house and enable you to enjoy the outdoors whenever you like.
Never heard of a Greenroof? You’re not alone, though hopefully something like this will become more of a common thing to see.

What are Greenroofs? Greenroofs are exactly what their name implies: roofs that are environmentally Green. How are they Green? Well, they are made of plants. That’s right, these house and building roofs are made, with a foundation of multi-ply water-proofing material, of dirt and plants. Depending on how much weight it can support, how steep the incline, and how deep the dirt is, it can also support a small pond or gazebo. Therefore, your roof is made of purely natural materials instead of harmful chemicals that could seep into the rainwater that runs off of it.

Are there different kinds of Greenroofs? Yes, actually. It all depends on what you are planning on doing with it. If you just want something to act as a roof, then you should plant an extensive greenroof. However, if you want something more for recreational purposes or aesthetics, then you’ll want an intensive roof.
What is an extensive Greenroof? An extensive greenroof is a basic greenroof, with 2 1/2 to 6 inches of soil and ideally a plant height of 16 to 24 inches. This roof is lower maintenance and therefore a little cheaper. It can thrive on up to a 30 degree incline.
What is an intensive Greenroof? This roof has more soil, more plants, so is therefore heavier. This greenroof needs a flatter surface to thrive, and therefore you can add a pond or picnic table. The soil can get up to 20 inches deep allowing the plant-life to grow fairly tall, and the roof can hold up to 120 lb/sq.feet for any type of greenery. With either type of roof, you will need to water them regularly (though less for an extensive roof). Irrigation systems are an easy way however, especially if you collect rainwater.
Why would you want one? I know planting shrubs and moss on your roof seems like a weird concept, but the results are simply stunning. Not only that, but it keeps your house at a constant temperature. The soil absorbs the sun, keeping the house warm at night, but cool during the day. If your house stays at a more even temperature, your dollars won’t be going to the energy companies for high air conditioning or heating costs. They also keep the noise level down from outside. If you live in a city, near a busy street, or by a train, this could mean you can now sleep at night. I think it’s worth it just for that. But the Greenroofs also create a home for birds and insects. Who wouldn’t want an extra garden?


  1. Greenroofs are so interesting; I’m glad to learn more about the different types. Are intensive or extensive more common? I’m also in love with the look of living walls- indoor and out.

  2. Anonymous

    Interesting thought for sure. Greenroofs are a great idea from what I read here.
    However, how will the planning work with the local council or HOA or building permits is one question that comes to mind.

  3. Kumar

    Yes its nice to have the Green roof,How to tackle the Building Control is a difficult task unless its made as a legislation,Neighbours complain is another matter for planning issue. Kumar

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