Make a normal flat or sloped roof into a beautiful living garden.

While redeveloping our house we decided to install a living roof on our kitchen roof, why you ask.. well..:
1. I liked the idea of having a bit more greenery in the property (we live in central London)
2. We wanted somewhere for some wildlife to have (bees etc)
3. Insulation - green roofs are brilliant at insulating, both keeping heat in and cold out

Read on for how we did this

* As usual and mentioned millions of times on here - I take no responsibility for anyone following this and any maiming, death or damage which follows; nor world war or anything else :)

Step 1: Getting Started

After doing quite a bit of reading on the Internet, ok well an afternoon or so, I soon realised that there isn't a step by step instruction for building a roof garden, just lots of greenies saying how good they are, and lots of companies trying to sell you expensive stuff to do it - so i thought I'd give it a go myself.

Before putting anything on a roof you need to make sure its strong, very strong.
As we'd just had this roof made we ensured we'd had is strengthened - there are 10 joists under the roof, each bolted next to another joist and supported by a steel frame at either end - so its super strong just to be sure. 

I found online is that living roofs can weight anything up to 150KG per SqM, so I asked our builder and engineer to work to a dead weight of 150KG - whats a 'dead weight' I hear you ask - well.. thats the weight it'll be when there is just itself up there, a live weight is stuff like water (rain), snow or the bloke on a ladder trying to install a satellite dish.

All set? Roof ready, then read on!
<p>Hi, it very nice looks.</p><p>Extend it...</p>
<p>Wish there were more of these around, it looks awesome.</p>
<p>Great job. Love the layering. Soon you'll be weed-free! </p>
<p>how much did this cost you in total?</p>
<p>It was a long time ago, but probably &pound;2k if you phase in the extra engineering in the roof</p>
<p>Awesome instructable! now I just need to find somewhere to try it :D </p>
<p>Hey thats great job! Can you tell me the break up of the cost that is needed for different stuff needed for the same.</p>
<p>I have built a shed from scratch (to fit in a garden space that a usual sized shed wouldn't fit - 3450mm x 950mm) and I am installing a DIY green roof. It is sloping and I am finding difficulty to source a way of trapping the water - any ideas please?</p>
thanx for the information i like the practical experiments and be happy with your garden ^___^
Love it! How long is it since you made the living roof? How are the plants progressing? We are (one day) going to extend and rebuild our back porch (verandah enclosed with screen material to keep out Texas-sized insect life). I would love to make a living roof there, as it faces east, and catches the sun until mid-afternoon. I grew up in Norfolk with the stable roof covered with yellow stone crop, and have dreamt of something similar ever since. Do you live in Islington?
Wonderful project. This would be very good on porch roofs. Not surprised that the sedums did well. Very good instructions. Thank you.
do you think this would be an option for a chicken coop roof? i think that would be awesome if it was.
Absolutely, as long as its strong enough
Cool roof. But being from Minnesota ,USA where winter temps can get to -30f. I have to ask how cold it gets there, that you feel you don't need the insulation? My roof is insulated to R50.<br><br>For the moisture blanket (I think you called it) you could have recycled some old used carpeting. The synthetic fibers won't rot away, and anybody that has had a water leak knows how much water carpet can hold ;-)
Hi Gordyh,<br><br>it gets pretty cold here these days with snow for a few weeks at least.<br><br>The reason for not needing it is because the garden itself is such a good insulator. The local government officer could not work out the BTU figure for the living roof so insisted on the additional protection that he was able to calculate for.<br><br>Below the garden is the 2inch thick foam, then a roof void which is also stuffed with fibre glass. In winter its nice and toasty :)
Just plant you some kudzu, your roof will be green in no time...<br><br>http://www.jjanthony.com/kudzu/images/kudzucabin-h.jpg<br><br>
Looks more or less like every other felt roof after a few years.<br>Only joking, well done, I am sure it will look great in a few years!
....That roof is SUPER strong!! I was just wondering if it could be paved over so you could park your SUV on it? Bahhahahhahha!!! <br>(this was a joke) (I love bees, my Aunt was a bee-I miss her)
You should also be well aware of the plants that you want to be there on your roof. Some flowering plants like zinnias, roses, button roses, and some kind of creepers would look good on your roof. Especially if you are planning for a <a href="http://www.centrallondonloft.co.uk">loft conversion</a>, make sure you plan a roof top garden so that you can feel the aura of the flora from the outside too..I suggest having some flowering plants on the roof rather than just greenery will do the magic!!
Hi catherinetia,<br><br>thanks for the comment! I did think about a number of alternative plants for the roof however as the substrate is pretty thin (because of the weight) and also it needs to be as maintenance free as possible (ie no weeding, no turning, no compost ) which was the reason we went with more rocky/hardy plants. <br><br>Creepers would look cool but would likely start to invade the building, this is why there are stones around the edge to really keep the garden in its place<br><br>tx<br><br>Will
Here's a simple way to green your roof. ;) For info.<br>http://www.uglgrads.com/corpsr_greenroofsystem.php
i like this it awsome view from out the window
Nice design. Have you any idea how much weight load it adds per square meter with the soil saturated by rain? The steel beams make me wonder.
Hi,<br><br>I budgeted for twice the dead load for rain and also snow, that was why the original beams were doubled and bolted together to make sure it was super super strong! <br><br>The wood and time was pretty cheap so I went overkill for safteys sake<br><br>
This is crazy, but I was in London in July and I saw your house and thought it was the coolest thing ever. Well done.
Great stuff, were you in one of the flats behind?
I am so happy to see this!! I'm glad that you're aware of the bees too. Thank you for making more green space. We need all we can get!<br> <br> There are likely some local wildflower seed varieties you might be able to obtain from your local nursery. If not, hop online and find a seed share and connect with them for local, indigenous seeds.
Great documentation and good job mentioning the roof construction and growing medium, very detailed!
Very good idea, It should be beautiful if can make a green roof while making the <a href="http://www.centrallondonloft.co.uk">loft conversion</a>
great build and well done &quot;ible&quot; thank you for sharing
Awesome, I love the idea of a green roof. It looks great.

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