Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

The Evolution of LiveRoof: Dave MacKenzie

on March 17, 2023 at 1:28 pm under , , , , ,
Photo: LiveRoof

The Evolution of LiveRoof: Dave MacKenzie

To start off our theme, Doni Burton went straight to the source of it all, Dave Mackenzie – founder and owner of LiveRoof. She wanted to find out more about what makes LiveRoof stand head and shoulders above the rest, and to hear LiveRoof’s origin story. Here is what he had to say…

“LiveRoof evolved from Hortech, our parent company, which is a grower of perennial plants, that has specialized in ground cover plants for most of our 39-year history. Somewhere around 2005, we began to see some of our Sedum ground cover plants being used on rooftops, mostly small green roof projects, but also Ford Motor Company’s 10-acre green roof (for which we did some of the growing). As things progressed, landscape contractors and designers turned to us for advice on green roof plant selection and to address this, we put together a line of plants called “LiveRoof Plants”, specific to green roof applications (plants that resist wind, cold, heat and drought).”

“With calls coming in from all over, and realizing that we couldn’t service all of North America from Michigan, I turned to some of my horticultural colleagues, owners of other nurseries, and invited them to come on board as LiveRoof growers in their regions of the U.S. and Canada. We formed a team, all dedicated to common goals and committed to high standards of growing, service and quality.
Dave MacKenzie
founder of LiveRoof Global, LLC.

Portrait photo of Dave MacKenzie, LiveRoof founder

“That was our beginning, and soon the phone rang with Walsh Landscaping, from Chicago asking for a meeting. They were seeking a “better mousetrap” and explained that they were installing three types of green roofs; carpet systems, modular systems, and plant-in-place systems… but had frustrations with each. They asked for a “better mousetrap,” one which had all the benefits and none of the drawbacks. They were seeking a “hybrid solution.” So, based on their list, and with a review of how modular soccer fields were constructed (fostered by one of the managers at Walsh Landscaping), I had the “ah-ha” moment where it became clear how to create the better mousetrap. Within a day I made a prototype and within 3 days we had a manufacturable concept and a committed manufacturer. Soon, the word got out and we began fielding calls from all over North America.”

This is the first in the series The Evolution of LiveRoof: Its People, Products, Processes and Plants. We hope you enjoy the series throughout this year. The next interview will focus on Sedums and will publish the end of April. I’m Doni Burton, Business Development Specialist for LiveRoof Global. I can be reached via email at

Read more: The Evolution of LiveRoof: Dave MacKenzie


Leave a Reply

Our Sponsors