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

Log cabins the original green roofs

by | Jun 27, 2016

Log cabins, in the style of Scandinavian houses, have recently come to the fore in our online community. A number of people have joined, wanting to construct a green roof on these types of buildings.

Log cabins - detail for green roof

Traditional Green Roof – Scandinavia.


The image above features in our training sessions. Quite simply it shows that a roof must be able to hold the soil but it must also allow water to be able to drain off a roof.

Log Cabins – the Traditional Approach

What we can see here in the picture is:

  • pieces of birch bark placed under the roof to provide waterproofing
  • a hooked pole that runs up to the rear of the roof (where there is another hook) to hold
  • the large pole along the from which retains the soils
  • Stone edge detail running along the side of the slope to help retain the soils

In effect green roofs are that simple.

A Modern Approach an interpretation of the Traditional

All modern green roofs are just a re-invention of this approach. Our online guide follows these principles to the letter. Birch bark is replaced with a conventional waterproofing treatment. This is not necessarily natural. All modern waterproofing is petrol based to a lesser or greater extent. There, however, currently waterproofing being developed in Scandinavia that is pine resin based. When this comes onto the mainstream market then green roofs on log cabins can be completely built without using any petrol based products.

Our front and side detailing retains soil and allows the water to egress. We have also develop a gabion edge detail for the front of a green roof, which is more in keeping with the pole along the front in the image above.

Log cabin green roof with trees

Trees on a Turfed Green Roof – Robert Snow


What maybe popular might not be what you want

The picture above is one of the most popular green roof images on the internet. However this traditional turf roof on a log cabin is now uninhabited. One of the reasons is the trees are probably about to overload the roof. The last thing you want a green roof to do is collapse!  So enjoy the picture but make sure your log cabins are designed to take the weight of your green roof.

Of course the guide will help you make the right decisions.