Garden by Organic Roofs

How to up your roof's eco credentials

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton

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Green, or living roofs have exploded onto the housing market in recent years, with eco-friendly and forward thinking architects bringing them into play within their designs. If you don't know what one is, don't worry, as we are going to give you the full lowdown on what they are, why you need one and how you can get one! You won't need to be a gardening expert or an Eco warrior to take an interest in this fantastic trend, so take a look and see if you need to consider your roof's green capabilities a little more carefully!

1. What is a green roof?

 Patios & Decks by Organic Roofs
Organic Roofs

Fulham Roof Terrace

Organic Roofs

A green roof, also known as a living roof, is usually a flat roof that has been covered with a dense layer of insulating plants, succulents or grasses. They will thrive up on the roof in the unimpeded sunshine, while your home will benefit from dramatically reduced heat loss, which directly impacts on heating requirements, household running costs and the environment. 

2. Why do I need one?

 Balconies, verandas & terraces  by Biotecture

RIBA Roof Terrace Living Wall and Water Feature


Even if you don't have a flat roof, you can opt for some green walls, like this one, but the fact that you should have them, remains the same. Not only will you be directly contributing to an improved ecosystem, thanks to contributing more clean oxygen, you will need less heating and spend less money too. Whichever reason sways you the most, it doesn't matter, as long as you are swayed!

3. How do I get started?

Green Roof & Solar Panels:  Houses by ZeroEnergy Design
ZeroEnergy Design

Green Roof & Solar Panels

ZeroEnergy Design

You can consult a green roof expert, but there is so much information on the Internet now about these great installations, that we think you can manage just fine without. First things first, you need to locate a suitable surface to plant your new roof covering on. Ideally, it will be flat and not in the shade. There is no problem with installing a green roof next to solar panels and if anything, it will simply bolster your eco credentials!

4. What plants can I have on my roof?

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Organic Roofs

Artists' studio with green roof

Organic Roofs

This is all taken care of for you, by green roof supply companies that simply deliver rolls of 'turf' that are scattered with germinated seeds. You can choose from float grasses, pretty flowers or even thick, rubbery succulents, but given that this is going up on your roof, aesthetics might play a secondary role while you focus on the potential benefits.

5. What's the kind of maintenance I need to commit to?

With most green roofs, very little! What a treat! Some varieties might need to be watered occasionally, especially if you live in a very hot, dry region, but for the most part, these amazing rood coverings are basically self-sufficient and simply exist to improve your quality of life. How lovely!

6. I don't have a flat roof but want to get involved. What can I do?

 Garden by Organic Roofs
Organic Roofs

Bike and log store with green roof

Organic Roofs

A huge hurrah to you for being so ecologically-minded and thankfully, there are plenty of options available to you! We think that garden sheds, outbuildings or even bicycle storage all make fabulous green roof recipients. OK, so your contribution to the environment will be a little smaller, but it will still be wonderfully appreciated!

For more Eco tips, take a look at this Ideabook: The eco-friendly home of your dreams.

Are you keen to be a little greener? Let us know what you think in the comment section!
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