Building your own green roof

A DIY green roof is much easier to obtain than you might think! You don’t need a builder or installation specialist, just a few basic tools and an easy-to-install system like our GrufeKit green roof system. In this article, you’ll learn all about the preparation, installation, and maintenance of a green roof using the GrufeKit system. If you have any further queries, make sure to check out our green roof FAQs.

A green roof can be installed on any flat roof that has a slope of less than ten degrees.  If you really want to install a green roof on a steeper surface, it may still be possible but it’s best to consult a professional first.

Secondly, you need to make sure that your roof can hold the weight of the green roof, if your existing structure is strong enough and if you need to add additional supports. When calculating this, make sure that you find the weight of the green roof not when it’s dry, but when it’s saturated by rain or snow. For example, our GrufeTiles weigh between 20 and 22kg per module when saturated. Lightweight green roofs range from 60-150kg per square metre, making GrufeKit one of the most versatile options. You’ll also want to make sure that you can access your green roof if you choose a style that requires regular maintenance. That said, most green roof styles require little more than a check-up once a year or after extreme weather, so accessibility doesn’t need to be a major consideration.

Every ANS GrufeKit comes with four things:

  • A mix of between eight and twelve varieties of sedum, a type of succulent that grows at a low level and requires little maintenance
  • A soil mix that has been specifically designed for the plants your GrufeKit contains so they can flourish with as little maintenance as possible
  • A carrier made from recycled HDPE plastic that holds the natural material and provides structure and drainage so your green roof lasts for years
  • A layer of protection fleece that you lay between the roof and GrufeTiles in order to create a waterproof layer

You won’t need to buy any additional soil or plants to use these items; all you need are the necessary tools for installing the tiles. We recommend you use the following tools:

  • Hacksaw
  • Pliers
  • Handsaw
  • Tape measure
  • Protective gloves
  • Utility blade

If you want to give your green roof an extra level of safety and finished appearance, there are green roof accessories that we offer with the system. The GrufeGuard is an aluminium guard that can be cut to fit the perimeter of your green roof. It isn’t necessary for every project, but adds an extra level of security, particularly if your roof doesn’t have a parapet. Some local authorities require a stone margin on green roofs, so our Scottish pebbles are a handy way to comply with this and create a useful walkway through the installation.

Our green roofs are easy to install without experience, professional assistance, or lots of expensive tools.  Take a look at this video which takes you through the entire process, or below is a step-by-step guide.

Step one

Check that your roof can support the weight of a green roof.  If it can’t, add supports as necessary. You also need to ensure that your roof is water-tight.

Step two

Clear your roof of any debris and lay down the protective fleece layer you received with your GrufeKit, making sure to cut it to size.

Step three

Unpack your GrufeTiles and place one on each corner of the protective fleece to prevent it from moving while you work. Place the GrufeTiles on the roof, connecting them using our easy-to-use double-action coupling system.

Step four

If you have spaces along the edge where you can’t fit a full GrufeTile, simply cut a tile to shape with a handsaw and place alongside the rest of the green roof tiles. We recommend facing the cut side of the GrufeTile inward whenever possible.

Step five (optional)

If your roof doesn’t have a parapet, we recommend installing a GrufeGuard along the edge of your green roof. Simply clip the pieces together and slot them against the edge of the tiles. For a final flourish, add a border of white Scottish pebbles.

That’s all it takes! A few simple steps and you’ll have a beautiful green roof that provides maximum impact with minimal maintenance.

ANS GrufeKits are made up of sedum and wildflower seeds specifically chosen to create a low-maintenance system. You can choose between sedum, sedum and wildflower, and brown wildflower GrufeKits according to your maintenance and aesthetic preferences. No matter which style you choose, there are just a few basic things to maintain when it comes to your green roof.

Regular maintenance

It’s best to check on your green roof once or twice a year, just to check that everything’s as it should be. You may take this opportunity to remove any debris or check that nothing is loose. If you notice any bare patches, this can be a good time to plant additional seeds or fertilise where necessary.

After extreme weather conditions

You should always check your green roof after extreme weather conditions, whether that’s a storm or a period of unusually wet or dry weather. After a storm, check that all the tiles and borders are still secure to avoid future damage. It’s important to check that your drainage isn’t blocked after wet weather and that your sedum isn’t dying after a dry spell.

Sedum may go a reddish colour when stressed through dry or cold weather and sometimes when it is low on organic nutrients.  This is nothing to worry about!  You can either wait for the rain to come, or irrigate your roof once a week for about an hour for it to return to its original lush green colour.

Green roofs are a great way to boost the appearance and reduce the carbon footprint of a building, along with other benefits like the additional insulation they provide. Our ANS GrufeKits are particularly easy to install because they’re delivered to you pre-grown in modules that easily slot together. You can install your own green roof with minimal supplies and no previous experience. Once you have your green roof ready, maintenance is so minimal that you only really need to check on it after extreme weather. Now you know how simple the process is, take the chance to create your own living roof top!