NATS Nursery Ltd. - Native Plants

LiveRoof for Residences

Have you ever wondered if you could have a living roof on your single-family home?

In this post we are going to discuss the benefits of having a LiveRoof modular green roof system and factors to consider when thinking about installing a green roof on your residence!


1. Where might I install a LiveRoof on my house or property?

We have had many inquiries from people who would like to have a living roof on their out-buildings such as sheds, pool houses, and garages. We have also installed LiveRoof on the main roofs of dwellings on elevated or roof top patios and decks, balconies, as well as the roof area of the majority of the whole house! All of these areas are great places to install and see the beauty of a LiveRoof! LiveRoof is ideal for new builds, passive homes, and buildings with solar arrays, and can also be installed on renovated homes with the proper construction specs.

2. What can I have growing in my LiveRoof?

NATS Nursery specializes in growing hardy Sedums and Perennials for LiveRoof in British Columbia. The plant palette options are almost endless! We start with a base of a mix of 6-12 varieties of Sedum species, also known as stonecrops. These plants are drought-tolerant and hardy, providing a base of plant material for your roof!

Then there is the option of adding accent plants such as perennials, bulbs or grasses to your mix. Depending on the size of your project, we recommend having only up to 10 species of accent plants in your roof, and planting at a rate of up to 2 plants per square foot. Click here: LiveRoof Accent Plant Options – Perennials & Grasses for a list of potential accent plants for your LiveRoof!

3. What will my LiveRoof look like?

Design versatility is one of the best aesthetic benefits to having a LiveRoof on your building! Each LiveRoof is custom made, so we can cater to basic designs and complex designs for your LiveRoof. You can use colour and/or texture to design the look of your roof. For the base, you can choose Sedum mixes based on their colours of Green, Green-Blue, Green-Red, and Green-Yellow. Your design can accommodate patterns using 2 to 4 of the different colour palettes. If you want to design with texture, this can be done with different Sedum varieties or with accent plants such as perennials or grasses. Each LiveRoof is uniquely made and is catered to how you would like it to look!

4. Why use LiveRoof for my residential green roof project?

LiveRoof is a hybrid modular green roof system that provides ease of installation and immediate plant coverage upon installation. LiveRoof modules are grown to 95% coverage at our nursery before installation resulting in a green roof that is completely established and instantly green. No special maintenance is required to get your roof established as we do all the work for you. With LiveRoof, all components above the waterproof membrane and root barrier are included in the cost so there are no surprises later on. Although the initial acquisition costs of a LiveRoof can be greater than other green roof systems, the total cost of a LiveRoof is equal or less over time. This is because all of the costs are upfront and the work is all done for you. We assemble the modules, create a special soil mix, plant your roof and grow it to maturity. When your roof is installed, you get a fully grown green roof and the only work left to do is to follow an easy maintenance protocol.

There are also many environmental benefits to installing a LiveRoof on your home. Increasing biodiversity, habitat opportunities for beneficial insects and pollinators, and rainwater management are clear environmental advantages for LiveRoof versus conventional roofing materials. Plant material increases biodiversity and habitat around your home. Flowering plants like Sedums, perennials and bulbs provide a food source for pollinators. Rain water is slowed down and cleaned because it percolates through the plants and soil, some being taken up by the plants, before being discharged into the runoff to the storm sewer. Other environmental benefits include increased cooling on your rooftop by up to 6°C and increased insulation value means your heating energy and costs in winter and cooling energy and costs in summer can be reduced. The LiveRoof advanced green roof system can help you achieve LEED certification in several categories—above and beyond that of just any green roof system.

5. What factors do I need to consider before installing a LiveRoof?

(a) Additional Load Weight Restrictions – Can your project handle a 10cm deep (27-29 lbs/sqft), 15cm deep (40-50 lbs/sqft) or 6cm deep (15-17 lbs/sqft) roof? When you are planning to install a LiveRoof, consider what kind of Load Weight Restrictions your building can handle. LiveRoof load weights are measured on fully vegetated and saturated modules but any snow load weight would be over and above the LiveRoof load weight.

(b) Watering – How will you care for your LiveRoof plants’ water needs? Plants for LiveRoof are selected for their drought-tolerant suitability, but they do still need water in dry seasons to survive and thrive. A permanent irrigation system is ideal but you can water with a hose and sprinkler.  All watering systems should be operated between 2am and 4am to reduce water evaporation.

(c) Accessibility to your Roof – You should be able to access the roof for weeding and watering maintenance. Access can be accomplished by a simple ladder or having a door that opens out to the level of the roof.

(d) Slope of your Roof – LiveRoof can be installed on flat roofs all the way up to an approximately 33% slope or up to 4:12 (rise:run). With greater slopes, reinforcements will be used throughout the system to keep the LiveRoof material in place. With any slope, you should consult a structural engineer to determine suitability of a LiveRoof.

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