Help nature recover

Green Roof Planting Options

We specialise in green roofs that are designed to last. You can plant almost anything on one of our green roofs. You just need to make sure that the plants have what they need to thrive: enough material to grow in, access to water, and a plant-appropriate care regime.

Shingle roofs

We think the extended weather patterns caused by climate breakdown are rendering the national GRO guidelines for green roofs somewhat insufficient. Wet mild winters are increasingly followed by drier Springs, which are causing longer periods of stress to sedum and meadow roofs alike. This is making robust design and mindful installation more important that ever. Our respone to climage change is to encourage clients where possible to move away from thinking about ‘systems’ – our Shingle roof eschews full coverage and evenly laid growing medium in favour of deeper mounds (to the load limit of the structure) and more generous shingle channels. These are not standard green roofs but they are more resilient and the naturalist stone channels provide a) an aesthetically-pleasing counterpoint to the planted areas b) visual interest and form during the times of year when the plants are not in flower and c) functional habitat for invertbrates like solitary bees and butterflies.

Pros: more climate resilient without significant extra cost, although where possible its preferable to increase the structural load limits

Cons: heavier; its undulating appearance makes this unsuitable where even coverage is a design requirement; shingle can require care to keep free of invasives (all green roofs should have be cared for however)

Sedum roofs

Succulents which grow in around 60mm of substrate  (growing medium). Usually supplied in pre-grown rolls but also available in plugs, cuttings. Sedum roofs are good nectar sources during their flowering season but this tends to be quite short. Can be augmented with wildflowers. 

Pros: great for clients who want low-growing plants with year-round colour

Cons: needs feeding annually, which can create ideal conditions for weeds


Pregrown wildflower roofs

Native UK wildflowers often make great green roof plants and are particularly good for providing food sources for invertebrates for longer periods of the year. Flowering from March till November, these roofs require deeper substrate, which is undulated to encourage diversity. Usually tolerant of shade and longer dry periods, these plants will brown off in extended drought conditions but will revive again when the rains return.

Pros: supports greater ecological diversity, needs no fertiliser, gives colour from Spring to Autumn

Cons: Slightly heavier and natural appearance varies in winter months not as  its annual cut

Lightweight wildflower (HayBase)

With support from Regional Development Fund we have completed a research collaboration with University of Brighton to measure a Swiss-style lightweight meadow which provides low-maintenance viable green roofs at less than the cost and weight of viable sedum.

Pros: ideal for retrofit roofs and projects where weight and/or budget is an issue

Cons: Tends to experience mossy encroachment in extended wet periods which can retard meadow growth, but also grassy over time than other types of roof. We don’t think this is suitable for locations where consistent appearance is a key design imperative

Aesthetic benefits

Nothing expresses your principles quite like a green roof. Instead of an expanse of mineral felt, the view is one of native wildflowers, grasses and sedum and the bees, butterflies and birds that will make it home. Designing-in a green roof will transform the feel of your home and garden.

Environmental benefits

We specialise in roofs designed to be ecologically-significant habitats that make a meaningful contribution to urban improvement. Organic Roofs can advise on local biodiversity priorities and help you design your roof to emulate the habitats of target species in your area.

Financial benefits

As well as providing a stunning visual statement of your environmental principles, they can also save you money by trebling the lifespan of your waterproofing, adding thermal mass to the building which can reduce energy inputs. And green roofs are brilliant for improving the efficiency of any photovoltaic panels (PV) as research in Europe and the USA has shown.