What Is the Green Roof Construction Process Like?

Posted by Ecogardens

What Is the Green Roof Construction Process Like | With that layer of plants growing on top, it’s hard to tell what’s going on beneath the surface, but green roof construction has many layers and phases.


The green roof construction process follows a standardized design, build, steward process to ensure the best product upfront and maximum success over the long haul.

If you’re interested in helping the environment, doing your part to manage stormwater and enhancing the urban ecology our cities, there’s no better place to start than with green roof construction.

Well, actually, there’s no better place to start than a steaming mug of coffee. But then the green roof thing.

Green roof construction isn’t as simple as throwing some succulents on top of an existing roof and hoping for the best, though. In fact, green roof construction is a highly specialized process that involves deep consideration of a number of factors, a well-executed implementation phase and monitoring period, and long-term stewardship.

So grab your cuppa joe and let’s get started.

Design: Plan the Project from Waterproofing Membrane to the Last Grass Tassel


What Is the Green Roof Construction Process Like | A sound green roof involves several layers to protect the building and nurture the plants.The first step in green roof construction is the design phase. This requires taking into account a huge number of factors, including:

  • Local climate
  • Average rain and snowfall
  • Existing roof construction
  • Weight-bearing abilities
  • Intended use of the green roof, from simple stormwater management systems to entertainment venues
  • Desired plant types
  • Other goals, such as pollinator habitat creation

This initial green roof construction phase will also discuss the long-term goals of the building and roof, as well as any other “green” structures that the owner desires.

Build: Implement the Green Roof Construction Plan and Provide Initial Nurturing


The build phase has several layers … literally. A little soil and a few plants aren’t going to cut it up on a roof, after all. In order to protect the building envelope and keep plants happy, green roofs must include:

  • A waterproofing membrane to protect the roof
  • A root barrier to keep the membrane sound
  • A drainage and water retention mat to catch water that filters through plants
  • A filtration system
  • A growing medium for the plants
  • Plants themselves, specifically chosen for their suitability to the climate, intended use and type of green roof (e.g. intensive, with deeper growing media and a wider plant array, or extensive, with shallower growing matrix and more utilitarian species)

Although some companies will tell you your green roof is “finished” as soon as they roll out that final sedum groundcover or plant the last lavender, that’s usually not the case. A quality green roofing company will then walk the client through the finished project, get approval, make changes as necessary.

But even that's not all. The final part of the build phase is a monitoring period to ensure plants are establishing properly and the roof is overall performing as expected.

From there, it’s time to transition to long-term stewardship.

Steward: Care for the Green Roof Over Time


What Is the Green Roof Construction Process Like | Green roofs are quite self-sustaining, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need care from humans.

Green roofs are capable of lasting 30 to 50 years. But while they’re typically very resilient, especially the low-growing intensive variety, they still need TLC over time.

The stewardship process requires checking on the plants, taking readings on the materials to ensure they stay sound, and adjusting the environment to better accommodate both plants and the animals that live there.

Of course, this requires professional knowledge and help, which is where a company such as Ecogardens comes in.

You can check out samples of our green roofs here and here, or browse through the portfolio of green roof construction projects at your leisure. We’re happy to explain our projects in greater detail or answer questions about your own project.

As always, if you’d like to partner up, get in touch today!



Topics: Green Roofs

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