Thanks to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and of course the subsequent Peter Jackson three-part epic cinematic saga, most of us now associate green roofs with Middle Earth-esque houses, built for Shire dwelling dwarf-like folk. However, green roofs, or living roofs, can be stylish additions not only to country style properties, but modern and contemporary abodes looking to reduce their carbon-footprint with a sustainable and eco-friendly roof design. Living roofs (or historically ‘sod roofs’) have been used for centuries in Scandinavia—they enjoyed popularity throughout the region and have since become a widespread modern roofing material. Along with apparent benefits of increasing the amount of natural vegetation to an area, living roofs come with many environmental benefits—they reduce cooling and heating costs through insulation, reduce stormwater run-off, filter atmospheric pollutants, as well as water-borne contaminants such as heavy metals.
For more inspiration check out the following wonderful examples of these eco-friendly roofs in action and start planning your domestic green roof renovation.
One of the most wonderful elements of a living roof, is its ability to blend effortlessly and stylishly into the surrounding environment. This boat shed is a perfect example of that fact—the modern timber-clad construction is topped with a lush and thick blend of wild grasses, creating a sense of cohesion with the surrounding landscape. Also unseen, the opposite side of this boat house is replete with solar panels to harness the natural solar energy in this sunny environment
This modern home has incorporated a living roof into its contemporary design—the result is a contemporary ‘bubble’ shaped dwelling that utilises a natural roof to harmonise with the surrounding flora and fauna. A living roof is a hardwearing and resilient accompaniment to any home—in this case the home is surrounded by water, and the roof is able to withstand far greater environmental elements than a simple corrugated steel roof, or tiled roof. The result is a home that not only looks interesting and contemporary, but is in-keeping and considerate to the surrounding landscape.
Living roofs can function in an extremely versatile way. This example demonstrates how a green roof can incorporate a skylight into its construction, allowing a flow of light into the home, whilst making the most of the natural roofing system. A detailed close up of the guttering system can also be seen in this example—it shows the gravel-filled channel that the water run-off travels into, creating a natural drainage system and an easy way to control strong and heavy rainfall.
Now, who says you can’t have a small living roof within your back garden or patio area? Here we see a neat set up that provides space and storage for bicycles, garden accoutrements and other patio related appurtenances, covered with a sustainable and stylish green roof. These roofs needn’t be covered with grasses or wild weeds, a living roof such as this can also grow herbs that are fabulously convenient and provide tasty edible growth.
Classy, elegant and sustainable—this lovely garage is growing a grass topped green roof that provides a sophisticated and attractive home addition, whilst acting in an environmental and eco-friendly way. This design proves that a green or living roof need not be reserved for country living, but can grow in high density residential areas and still propagate, function and act as an efficient and stylish roof.
Not quite a living roof, but a stylish green roof nonetheless, this patio is character-filled and tipped with flowing tendrils of ivy that enhance the space and evoke a sense of charm and quaintness into the rustic outdoor entertaining space.