extensive green roof on a small shed

DIY Green Roof Guide

The online resource for building small scale green roofs on garden sheds, garages, house extensions and other small construction or retrofitting projects

a green roof on a new bike shelter

New Builds

A step by step guide to creating a SAFE and LEAK FREE green roof on a new small scale construction project. Learn from the vastly experienced authors how to accomplish it yourself or provide guidance to your contractors

poppy and harebell as green roof plants

Plant Lists

Planting suggestions focussed on native species that can provide the maximum biodiversity. Separate lists for the UK, Eastern USA & Canada, Mid-West USA

a small green roof on an electrical substation


Even the smallest of roof spaces can provide a small haven of beauty and a wildlife oasis. The retrofitting section advice can be used on garden sheds, cycle & bin shelters, the fundamentals remain the same!

gabion edge details of a green roof


From suggested screw sizes through edge details to drainage suggestions, John & Dusty take you through the process using text, photos, illustrations and videos

A Coast Green Roof

by | Aug 3, 2015

The Coast green roof sits perched above the bay at Sennen, Cornwall. The first and last green roof in England being only a couple of miles from Lands End.

Coast green roof - Thrift

Thrift and other local wildflowers growing on a green roof in Sennen

A Coast Green Roof needs Coastal wildflowers

The roof is a true coast roof, which makes it perfect to celebrate #lovethecoast campaign by National Trust. We know the NT has a few green roofs in Cornwall and elsewhere around the country. At the time we took these pictures, three years ago, the roof was in its first summer. Thrift, common on the cliffs of the British Isles, can be seen thriving on the roof.

We had encouraged the owners to collect seeds (responsibly) along the coast on their walks. So all of the vegetation is local. Local seeds from local substrates will always be resilient to vagaries of the weather along the coast.

biosolar roof

First and last green roof in England

Coast green roofs and the wind

Wind is perceived as a big problem on a green roof. The coast green roof in Cornwall makes use of our gaboon edge detail (fully explained) in the members guide. The kind of soils that are used on green roofs do not generally get blown away by the wind. Wind and green roofs is only an issue when blankets and mats are used. If installed incorrectly wind can get beneath them. If it does they can lift and blow about in the wind. 

Local rock creates local nature

The gabion edge is made of local granite stone. These are quite large as the owner was concerned with the effect of the gales that sweep in from the Atlantic. In keeping with the local character of the landscape, the substrate of the green roof, crushed granite and granite fines, was also sourced from the local quarry. 

Dealing with Intrusions

The roof has both a flue and a solar thermal array. This are essentially intrusions on the general green roof. How to deal with intrusions on a small green roof are covered in detail in the members section of the guide.

solar thermal - green roof

Solar thermal on a green roof

Sennen flue - coast green roof

Flue on a green roof

So the first and last green roof in England is a sustainable beacon on the South West Coast. Local soils and plants bring local wildlife to flourish even on such a small space.

If you want to build your own green roof why not become a member of green roof training