If you’ve been dreaming of topping your home off with a living roof but want to get the job done on your own, we have you covered.
Although homeowners have only recently begun to really understand and celebrate the benefits of having a green roof, it is not a new concept. In fact, it dates back to the 1940s in Germany. Regardless, the green movement has continued to gain momentum, making it an increasingly popular option for homeowners. Here are some helpful tips and step-by-step instructions so you can create your own. Also, learn about sustainable roof systems here
How to choose the right green roof
Green roofs consist of several layers, including a growing medium, which allows plants to grow on the roof. The first step is to consider whether you will be able to keep your roof green frequently or just leave it so nature can take its course. There are three types of green roof systems to choose from. We have described them below.
There are three different types of green roofs
1) Intensive green roof
If you want your roof to function as a garden and have large plants and even water fountains, then the intensive green roof is for you. With this type of roof, the planting media are much deeper, which can be between seven and 24 inches, and can consist of grass, shrubs, trees, and perennials (for example). Make sure the roof is easily accessible, as it will require frequent maintenance. Adding a walkway makes maintenance easier, while adding a few benches and tables can give you a chance to relax in your own personal nature.
2) Extensive green roof
With a sprawling green roof, the vegetation is thinner (1.6 to five inches thick) and lighter, with appropriate plants that will make it low-maintenance and self-sufficient. Any large slope or flat roof that is difficult to access is an excellent area for this type of vegetation, since nature will take care of itself. Plants that are often used with this treatment are those that are drought tolerant, including certain sedums, succulents, some types of grasses, and mosses.
3) Semi-intensive (or hybrid) green roof
With this treatment, the vegetation options are much wider than with a sprawling green roof. Also, it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. This green roof can be described as a combination of an extensive and intensive roof and is therefore also called a hybrid roof. A variety of plants that grow well in a soil depth of five to seven inches are good to use, including certain perennials, ornamental grasses, grasses, shrubs, and sedums. Because irrigation is only needed once in a while and requires a medium amount of maintenance, most roofs can benefit from a semi-intensive green roof.
Step-by-step directions for your DIY green roof
Professionals can examine your roof to make sure it is strong enough for the green roof you choose. Whether you choose to go for extensive or intensive treatment, the primary layers of the green roof will remain the same.
The first layer should consist of a waterproof and root proof membrane. A single sheet can be used to cover the entire area and prevent water and roots from reaching the ceiling. A heavy duty pond liner can be applied from your local garden center with an adhesive. Be sure to mark all outlets to ensure proper drainage.
Cut into the containment frame, which will allow the water to run into the gutter. To keep exits clear, use pebbles and a layer of stones or rocks. This will prevent blockages and unwanted vegetation from building up around the edges of the roof.
The next step is to add a layer of substrate, which is usually between 70 and 200 millimeters thick, but can vary depending on the type of vegetation. By using a substrate mixture of 70 percent inorganic material and 30 percent organic material, it will be light enough and prevent unwanted vegetation growth.
The last layer is what makes your roof green. You can choose from a mix of green roof seeds, potted plants, plant cuttings, or pre-vegetated green roof mats or blankets.