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Though homeowners have now begun to really understand and celebrate the benefits of having a green roof, it’s not a new concept. In fact, it can be traced back to the 1940s in Germany. Regardless, the green movement has continued to gain momentum, making it an increasingly popular choice for homeowners. Below, we’ve outlined three different types of green roofs and how to choose the right one for you.
How to choose the right green roof
Green roofs consist of several layers, which include a growing medium—allowing plants to grow on the rooftop. The first step is to take into consideration whether you’ll be able to maintain your green roof frequently or just leave it be so that nature can take its course. There are three types of green roof systems to choose from. We’ve outlined them below.
There are three different types of green roofs
1) Intensive green roof
If you want your roof to function as a garden and have large plants and even water features, then the intensive green roof is for you. With this type of roof, planting mediums are much deeper, which can be between seven and 24 inches, and can consist of lawn, shrubs, trees, and perennials (for example). Make sure the roof is easily accessible, since frequent maintenance will be needed. Adding a walkway makes it easy to maintain, while adding some benches and tables can give you the opportunity to relax in your own personal piece of nature.
2) Extensive green roof
With an extensive green roof, vegetation is thinner (1.6 to five inches thick) and lighter—with appropriate plants that will make them low-maintenance and self-sustaining. Any large slope or flat roof that’s hard to reach makes a great area for this kind of vegetation, as nature will take care of itself. Plants that are used often with this treatment are ones that are tolerant to droughts, including certain sedums, succulents, a few types of grass, and mosses.
3) Semi-intensive (or hybrid) green roof
With this treatment, choices in vegetation are much broader than with an extensive green roof. Plus, not much maintenance is required. This green roof can be described as a combination of an extensive and intensive roof, and therefore is also called a hybrid roof. A variety of plants that grow well in a soil depth of five to seven inches are good to use, including certain perennials, ornamental grasses, herbs, shrubs, and sedums. Because irrigation is only needed from time to time and it requires a medium amount of maintenance, most rooftops can benefit from a semi-intensive green roof.