Believe it or not, many people have started creating gardens on top of roofs aka green roofs.
So what’s this trend actually about?
Have some folks just decided to plant a few trees on a building roof out of fun?
Surely there is a bigger story behind all that… and we’re here to tell it.
“One of the most interesting global
sustainability trends is the appearance
of so-called green roofs, aka gardens
in the sky and by the looks of it,
the trend will continue growing
in a large scale.”
Here you can get a proper insight in the complete concept of green roofs, of their advantages,
popularity, but also their sudden appearance all over the world.
What Is It?
The whole concept of green roofs is actually quite simple – the goal is to transform a roof (or a
part of it) into a living space, covered with vegetation.
Of course, the idea might seem simple and perhaps silly, but its background is actually quite
If you thought that these are just organic lawns with a few plants planted in pots, then you better
Underneath this thriving vegetation exists a growing medium, followed by a filter membrane and
a drainage system, accompanied by a waterproof and repellent layer, a support panel and thermal
After all these cleverly thought out tiers, there comes a vapour control layer and finally the structural
While the idea might strike you as odd, soon you’ll find out that there is a perfect logically reason
behind this comprehensive project.
How It Started?
Some of the most beneficial aspects of #greenroofs are their stormwater management, improved air quality, but also their ability to reduce the UHI effect and reduce the spread of dust.Click To Tweet
There are quite a number of speculations of where the trend has originated.
This is mostly because the concept of green roofs has been present for quite some time, but the
advanced urban architecture projects have appeared quite recently.
A few centuries ago the first signs of green roofs appeared in northern Scandinavia, except they were
called sod roofs and were used to hold the birch bark (a water-tight element of the roof) in place.
Modern green roofs, on the other hand, have appeared in the 60s in Germany, as a way of energy
Since then, many European countries have embraced the trend, but Germany still remains in the lead,
with estimated 10% of all German roofs becoming green.
Benefits of Green Roofs
How these layered green roofs are benefiting both us and the environment around us is surely a
It’s important to note that green roofs have not only environmental advantages, but are also quite
beneficial in the financial department as well.
Some of the most beneficial aspects of green roofs are their stormwater management, improved
air quality, but also their ability to reduce the UHI effect and reduce the spread of dust.
They have been known to increase the biodiversity because of the variety of plant and invertebrate
species found in the gardens.
It’s also important to note that these urban gardens hold many great benefits for homeowners who
wish to embrace the amenity of an eco-friendly home design.
Green roofs are energy-efficient, reduce electromagnetic radiation but also provide great insulation
in terms of heat, noise and other factors.
“Underneath this thriving vegetation
exists a growing medium, followed
by a filter membrane and a drainage
system, accompanied by a waterproof
and repellent layer, a support panel
and thermal insulation.
After all these cleverly thought out
tiers, comes a vapour control layer
and finally the structural support.”
Types of Green Roofs
Depending on the volume of the growing medium in the garden, these roofs can be categorized as
intensive, semi-intensive and extensive.
They’re also classified by the amount of maintenance they require and as such, intensive gardens are in
need of regular maintenance, feeding and irrigation, mostly by an experienced landscaping architect,
while extensive roofs are designed to basically be self-sustaining.
Gardens in the Sky and Over the World
Over the course of years, many countries have decided to embrace the green roof trend.
While they’re becoming increasingly popular in the United States and beyond, it seems as the trend
has sustained itself better in European countries.
A recent research shows that since 2009, the green roof square footage has increased for 115%.
From California and Vancouver up to Singapore, Poland and Japan, the urban architecture project
has rapidly spread across the globe in search for newer, fresher and greener ideas.
Some of these gardens are located in parks and other public spaces, factories and recreational centres,
while others hold their ground on private residences, universities and even hotel chains.
In the last couple of years, the global sustainability trend has spread in various directions, so people
have started creating many green practices all over the world.
One of the most interesting ones is surely the appearance of these so-called green roofs, aka gardens
in the sky and by the looks of it, the trend will continue growing in a large scale.
About the Author
Lana Hawkins is an architecture student and the editor-in-chief at Smooth Decorator. She enjoys writing about interior decoration and landscaping. Lana is very interested in sustainability and green building, and that’s where she gets most of her inspiration.
Have you created or experienced green roofs?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.
Top photo source: By sookie (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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