For those with smaller gardens it is an opportunity to acquire more space. You could also put a solar panel here, but it won’t look quite as attractive.
Another reason for turfing your shed roof is to support biodiversity in your garden – it’s another surface on which birds, bees and insects can congregate and make out in the sun (or rain in our climate, it would seem).
Kate Bradbury, gardener and editor of Wild London magazine as well as contributor to other national newspapers and gardening magazines, writes in The Guardian about her own miniature green roof. At eye-level on a tiny shed, it allows her to watch the growth of spring plants such as bluebells and all the wildlife that are attracted by them.
You can choose any surface in your garden to develop your green roof. Even a bird table will suffice for starters. You could also build on a garage, carport or summerhouse. It’s even possible on your house.
The main benefit of adopting your green roof is to counteract the continuing loss of wildlife habitats. In the countryside you may not see the ongoing conversion of green land to urban sprawl, but it’s not just the rainforests that are being lost to construction and cultivation. In London the equivalent of two and a half Hyde Parks are still being lost annually. The effect of this is even more risk of flooding – and we have seen enough of that recently. For larger buildings an added benefit is the reduction in need for artificial cooling inside buildings protected by green roofs.
Even if you leave your green roof to nature, and only weeds grow there, you are contributing to support wildlife – the whole food chain will benefit from every little bit.
In developing the roof, your main considerations will be drainage and the effect of the weight of the turf and plants.
There is lots of help online on how to begin. Groundwork Sheffield is using European funding to develop a best practice guide and other helpful documentation and is working with the Environment Agency and other national organisations.
There are also companies specialising in providing materials for a DIY project or who will help you to install your roof. So you’re not alone – why not do a bit of research, take a stroll into your garden and see where your green roof is best placed?
Find out what the RHS has to say about green roofs: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=289
For more tips read: http://www.greenroofguide.co.uk/biodiversity-and-planting/