luscious green roof on a garden 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 house extension

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

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!

edge details of a garden shed 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

edge details of a garden shed green roof

Planting Ideas

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

Basics of The Small Scale Green Roofs Guide

The Basics for Small Scale Green Roofs

It sounds obvious but a green roof:

The Small Scale Green Roofs Guide provides details on what loadings are possible on what size joists and spans.

The guide goes it detail about what waterproofing can be used and how you can install this safely to ensure that your roof doesn’t leak.

The step-by-step guide for new builds covers:

The Roof Deck

The structural and construction basics for both flat and pitched green roofs

Waterproofing and Edge Detail

Recommended waterproofing materials and how to fit them, especially how to correctly fit at the edges of the roof as well as integrating down pipes if required.


A range of solutions covered, the optimum choice dependant on type and size of the green roof.

The Layers

Whether commercial drainage layers are necessary and alternative approaches to green roof drainage that do not require purchasing commercial products.


An overview of the different substrate types that can be used along with the ideal depths required for the various types of green roofs.


Planting suggestions and suitable native plant lists for various countries and climates. Mostly aimed at those people looking to create an extensive, biodiverse green roof.

Irrigation or not Irrigation

Whether an irrigation system will be needed for your green roof and instructions on making and fitting a cheap, DIY pipe fed system.


Overviews on general maintenance of small green roofs, tied to what type of roof you intend.

And remember this is a detailed construction guide not an overview. If you want to know which screw to use, the guide tells you (metric/imperial conversion may need to be undertaken to meet your situation!).

If you have an existing garden shed, garage, extension etc. the guide provides details of how you can use the above steps and where necessary adjust for a specific retrofit situation.

The basics of building Small Scale Green Roofs

Even very Small Scale Green Roofs are useful!

Why an Online DIY Green Roof Guide rather than another PDF/eBook?

An online resource let’s us be more dynamic. We regularly update the material. We will add more multimedia items such as videos. When new methods are discovered we will add these to the site. It also allows us to provide relevant articles and case studies.

Occasionally there maybe confusion over terms used in the guide. Or perhaps something is not completely clear. If you are struggling with specific details and need further illumination then queries should be addressed via the Members’ Support Form and we will do our best to answer as quickly and accurately as we can.

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