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

First and last green roof

by | Aug 16, 2019

The First and Last green roof in England is developing into a lovely coastal habitat. A few years ago I posted a blog about the roof at Sennen in Cornwall. I had used pictures from back in 2011 when I visited. The owner just happened to send me a few images of the roof a few days later.

coastal green roof - First and last green roof in England

First and Last green roof in England – Geoff Haslam

One can see in late summer that the vegetation has developed to cover most of the roof. There are still a few bare areas for basking butterflies. The photo also shows the edge detail nice. The large granite boulders held in place by wire to protect from the wind.

First and Last ‘Wildlife’ Green Roof in England

Technically this is not quite the first and last green roof in England. Literally next-door, nearer the coast, is another smaller green roof. This one, however. is a conventional sedum blanket green roof.

But the roof built using our guide is vegetated with local wildflowers. This makes it better for local biodiversity and changes, like the local cliff vegetation, with the seasons.

First and last green roof in England

Coastal Green roof – detail – Geoff Haslam

Biodiversity and Solar Energy

I can see a few interesting plants growing here, especially birdsfoot trefoil. This lovely plant is a food plant for a number of butterflies. There also looks as if there is kidney vetch, another good source of nectar and pollen for pollinators. Obviously the roof will change with the season and earlier in the year, the thrift that was planted would have been in flower.

First and last - green roof England

View of the roof – Geoff Haslam

‘This year there is wild carrot and evening primrose on the roof. We had teasels last year,’ the Geoff Haslam the designer and owner told me in an email. ‘The other green roof is ‘weeded’ a lot. We let the wildflowers come.’

The solar thermal tubes that incorporated into the green roof help reduce heating costs. During sunny spells the owners don’t need the immersion heater. The Land’s End area of  Cornwall is the sunniest place in the UK.

Building green roofs is all about confidence

Green roofs can seem complicated when viewing commercial sites. Such companies for good reason need to satisfy clients about guarantees and other liability issues. The point, though about green roofs, is the plants. This are hard to guarantee and will change with year on year depending on the climate. So it is about confidence and we know our guide will give you confidence to build the green roof you want.