A green roof is a fantastic addition to any garden, though it is particularly beneficial for those who don’t have enough space to grow and garden as much as they’d like. Although you can install a green roof on any roof if you’re looking to start one right in your garden, why not transform your shed? Whether you use your shed as an extension of your indoor living space or simply keep all your tools and garden furniture locked up safe and sound, you can put your shed to even better use with a green roof. Here’s how to build a green roof on a shed and the many reasons why you should do so.
What Is A Green Roof?
Before we go into finding out how to build a green on a shed, it’s important that you know what one is! A green roof, also known as a living roof, is a roof, or part of one, that is completely covered with vegetation and a corresponding growing medium. Green roofs serve several purposes for the building they are attached to, including providing insulation, absorbing rainwater and providing an extra habitat in a wildlife garden. A living roof is also a fantastic addition to a garden to promote relaxation and calm.
There are two main types of green roofs, and these are extensive and intensive.
- Extensive Green Roof – An extensive green roof is a common choice since it is lightweight enough to hold several layers without too much additional maintenance and watering. Usually, extensive green roofs have a low layer of attractive vegetation, such as moss, sedum and small flowers.
- Intensive Green Roof – Intensive green roofs are intended to withstand much more weight and so can hold heavier items such as bushes, small trees and a wide selection of plants. Also known as rooftop gardens, gardeners often introduce an intensive living roof to community projects as they require a lot more maintenance and care than the extensive alternative.
What Are The Benefits Of A Green Roof?
Introducing a green roof into your garden can bring many benefits. From an improved drainage system to a longer-lasting roof, there are many reasons why a living roof can make all the difference in your garden.
Here are just some benefits of learning how to build a green roof on a shed in your garden:
- Improved Drainage System – A green roof helps promote good drainage in any building, countering flooding and releasing water naturally back into the environment. A shocking 80% of waste water is lost down the drain, and the improved drainage that a living roof can provide will help combat this. Learn more here.
- Longer-lasting Roof – A living roof can double or even triple the lifespan of your roof since it helps to protect it from outdoor elements that would usually weather it. Wind, rain and UV light will all be absorbed and dealt with by a green roof, keeping your shed standing for longer.
- Provides Support To Wildlife – Green roofs create the perfect healthy habitat for many species of wildlife, and you can include even more of the right plants to ensure that you help more species. For example, if you want to create the perfect natural habitat for bees, you can plant plenty of native wildflowers on your green roof.
- Benefits The Environment – Carbon dioxide emissions are the leading cause of global warming, but green roofs can contribute to reducing the amount of carbon dioxide you emit on your property. As plants photosynthesise, they convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, helping to clear the environment.
- Boosts Air Quality – In a similar vein, installing a green roof can help reduce air pollution. They help to reduce the number of polluting air particles as they photosynthesise, with a decrease of harmful substances such as sulfur dioxide and nitrous acid.
- Improved Thermal Performance – One of the most significant benefits of a green roof is the improved insulation. As roofs often aren’t built with good insulation, a green roof can help balance the temperatures for a cooler building in summer and a warmer one in winter. This is perfect for your shed, as it will keep all your belongings safe and undamaged.
What Plants To Use On A Living Roof For Sheds
There are plenty of plants that you can include on a living roof for your shed. From beneficial weeds to wildlife favourites, there are plenty of plants for you to choose from. Some of our favourites for a living roof include:
- Widow’s cross
- White stonecrop
- Gold sedum
- Birdsfoot trefoil
- Sea thrift
How To Build A Green Roof On A Shed
Now we’ve explored the benefits of a green roof, and you have some ideas of what to plant up, it’s time to find out how to build a green roof on a shed! No matter the size of your shed, you will be able to build a green roof that is perfect for you and your surroundings. If you need the suitable materials, take a look at our selection of raised bed kits, which will provide you with the right materials to make a safe green roof on your shed.
Here’s how to build a green roof on a shed in 7 steps!
You Will Need The Following:
- Waterproof sheeting
- Thick, treated timber, about 5 – 6 inches in width
- Small blocks of wood
- Weed matting
- Exterior wood screws
- Chosen plants
How To Build A Green Roof On A Shed
- First, cover the roof of your shed with the waterproof sheeting, cutting it to size with a slight overhang. Use the nails or tacks to fasten it to the shed with the hammer.
- Next, make the frame. Saw the timber into four lengths to match the dimensions of your shed. Screw these to the sides of your shed, and then and then drill drainage holes about 2 cm in width at the lower end.
- Now, screw a block of wood into each corner, ensuring that you screw through the frame to keep them secure. This will give the structure strength.
- Then, add a layer of gravel into the frame. You want it to be about 2 – 3 cm deep. Gravel will help improve the drainage of your green roof, reducing soil erosion and aerating the plants of your green roof.
- Once you have placed your gravel, lay over a cut piece of weed matting big enough to cover the whole roof and the inside of your frame. Use tacks to attach the weed matting to the frame.
- Now you can start planting! Fill your green roof with compost and plant up your chosen plants, then maintain the roof as you would a regular flower bed. They will need watering, feeding and fertilising regularly, and soon you will have a thriving green roof!
- Alternatively, if you’re worried that soil may be too heavy for the roof of your shed, you could plant up your plants in pots and place them on top of the gravel instead. Surround your potted plants with woodchip to give it a stylish touch and reduce the weight on your roof.
Building A Green Roof On A Shed
Now you know how to build a green roof on a shed, it’s all over to you! A living roof is entirely changeable depending on your wants and needs, so you can create the perfect green roof for your garden. Whether you want a relaxing addition to promote calm, want to encourage more wildlife into your garden or feel that your shed could do with better insulation, a green roof is the perfect solution.
Sean Barker is the MD of First Tunnels, and is enthusiastic about providing quality gardening supplies to gardeners across the UK