Everything you need to know about creating a green roof

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  • Thinking about going green? Discover how a green roof can benefit your home

    Green roofs are one of the more visible signs that you have built a sustainable home. They’re eco-friendly, insulating and a striking alternative to traditional styles.

    What is a green roof?

    Also known as a ‘living roof’, a green roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation, which is most often sedum. They have become a popular way to add another dimension of green space to a garden, particularly urban gardens and new-builds that aim to blend with the surrounding environment.

    Benefits of green roofs

    Living roofs offer several benefits, including increasing a roof’s lifespan by protecting it from the elements, combating heat loss and saving on energy, improving the local air quality, creating water attenuation, minimising maintenance, reducing sound transfer through buildings and providing an aesthetic appeal.

    Things to consider

    As many roof structures haven’t been designed to bear a heavy load, it’s important to ask a structural engineer to design your green roof so load capacity is taken into consideration. You’ll also need to consider waterproofing, a root barrier, protection mat, drainage layer, filter sheet and planting.

    Which green roof is right for you?

    Before you begin, you need to determine what kind of green roof you want, there are three main types:

    • Extensive: generally a shallow layer of stress-tolerant grasses, mosses and sedum; these require little maintenance and are nearly self-sufficient
    • Semi-Extensive: slightly deeper, but similar to extensive green roofs; these also require low maintenance
    • Intensive: a thick layer of soil with a variety of grasses, herbs, flowers and shrubs; these require a lot of care

    Choosing plants for your green roof

    Have a think about the purpose of your living roof. If you want to provide a safe haven for bees, insects and other wildlife, then plant flowering species. Or if you’re concerned about the surround eco-systems and habitats, consider native plantings instead.

    Love this? Find more design ideas and practical advice at 25 Beautiful Homes.

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