Living Green Roof: What Is It and Can You Make It on Your Own?

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Whether you’re renovating your home or building it from the ground up, it’s essential to choose the right type of roof. Remember that when it comes to the energy efficiency of the home, the most important factor is the insulation of the roof. Heating and cooling depend on the roof because it will provide the insulation needed so that the hot or cold air won’t escape. That’s why a lot of homeowners are mulling the possibility of a living green roof. This type of roof will cool the air and trap the right temperature inside the home.

A living green roof is energy-efficient and earth-friendly. But most of all, it provides benefits such as reduced dependence on food markets and grocery stores. It is a source of healthy fruits, vegetation, and herbs. You need not run to the grocery store when you need some heirloom tomatoes. You can be self-sufficient inside your own compound.

But the problem with a living green roof is many homeowners think that it is expensive to start. They find the steps to doing it complicated and overwhelming. If you think of it this way, you will never be able to start that green roof you want. Or you may have to hire someone to do it for you. The expense of hiring someone is unnecessary. The truth is that you can start a green roof yourself with only the internet as your help. How do you begin?

Gather What You Need

You will need some things first. Gather the garden tools you have and identify what tools and equipment you need. Remember that your roof has to be easily accessible so you can tend to the garden. If it is not easily accessible (which means you can only access it through an external ladder), you may have to rent forklift equipment to bring the tools you need to your roof. This way, you only have yourself and some other small garden tools to bring whenever you have to do some maintenance work on your roof.

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Choose the Right Green Roof

After you are done bringing the supplies and tools you need to your roof, you have to choose the right type of green roof. There are three: intensive, extensive, and semi-intensive or hybrid green roof. You can choose among these three depending on the level of difficulty and the plants and water features you want to have on the roof.

First, the intensive green roof is the hardest to maintain. It usually requires between seven and 24 inches of soil. It is great for medium- to large-sized plants, as well as some complicated water features. An intensive green roof can also be home to shrubs, trees, lawns, and perennials. This kind is perfect for a large flat roof as you can even install a workbench and daybed to have your own little piece of heaven.

Second, the extensive roof is the easiest to plan and execute. It only has between 1.6 to five inches of soil. It is thinner and lighter, making it the perfect option for slightly sloped roofs. You can plant vegetation in an extensive green roof. The best thing about these plants is they’re usually self-sustaining. They are very easy to maintain as long as you choose the right plants, which should be tolerant to droughts, rains, and other weather conditions. The perfect choices would be succulents, sedum, mosses, and grass.

Finally, the hybrid green roof combines the elements of extensive and intensive. Compared to an extensive green roof, the choice of vegetation is wider with a hybrid green roof. It also carries the characteristic of being low-maintenance. Plants such as perennials, herbs, sedum, ornamental grasses, and shrubs grow well in the five to seven inches of soil that a hybrid roof has.

Remember that when building a living green roof, you should be committed to its maintenance today and in the future. If you don’t, you will most likely have problems taking it down because can you only imagine what might grow there without proper maintenance? So think long and hard if you want the kind of living green roof you have in your mind. It’s a long-term commitment.

But if you cannot commit, that doesn’t mean you should forego your plans to have a green roof in your home. Many landscaping and construction companies will offer to do this for you. All you have to do is find the right people who can help you with choosing the type of green roof and the level of maintenance work you can commit to.

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