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Until someone writes the definitive book on greenroofs, similar to Theodore Osmundson’s Roof Gardens: History, Design & Construction, we will have to do with the following fine How - To’s to assist us.

Remember to also contact the various greenroof manufacturers and suppliers for product literature and design information - see the Greenroof Directory.

Created by environmentally sensitive authors and municipalities, governments, organizations and design professionals currently leading the greenroof charge, these carefully researched books, manuals, and guides are meant to provide background information and act as guidelines of greenroof design, construction and maintenance.  Your best bet is to get hands on experience or take one of the many workshops or classes - check Upcoming Events for dates and locations.

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BUILDING GREENer - Guidance on the use of green roofs, green walls and complementary features on buildings

BUILDING GREENer - Guidance on the use of green roofs, green walls and complementary features on buildings (C644), by Paul Early, Dusty Gedge, John Newton, and Steve Wilson, 2007 from CIRIA, London, England.

Once again from the United Kingdom comes another must-have advice and guide book to be added to our green building reference arsenal.  Published by CIRIA, the Construction Industry Research and Information Association - a not for profit UK organization which "manages collaborative research and produces information aimed at providing best practice solutions to industry problems" - the book is written by well known and respected environmental design leaders.  John Newton hails from Ecology Consultancy, Dusty Gedge and Paul Early from, and Steve Wilson from the Environmental Protection Group (EPG).  Read Linda's Recommended Readings Review.

Stay up to date at the website,, where you can also purchase BUILDING GREENer - Guidance on the use of green roofs, green walls and complementary features on buildings (C644).

The NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association) Green Roof Systems Manual--2007. The NRCA Green Roof Systems Manual--2007 was published in July 2007. It provides in-depth information regarding the design and installation of quality green roof systems. The focus of the manual is waterproofing aspects of green roof systems. NRCA defines a green roof system as plantings/landscaping installed above a waterproofed substrate at any building level that is separated from the ground beneath it by a man-made structure. NRCA divides green roof systems into three primary categories: extensive (shallow), semi-intensive (moderate depth) and intensive (deep).

Read the NRCA's James R. Kirby, AIA, Recommended Readings Guest Review entitled "
A green roofing resource" from April, 2008 here on

For more information about The NRCA Green Roof Systems Manual--2007 or to place an order, visit; fax: 847.299.1183; or call NRCA's InfoExpress at 866.ASK.NRCA (275.6722).

Rain Gardens: Managing water sustainably in the garden and designed landscape, by Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden, 2007 from Timber Press, Portland, OR.

In our changing global climate, water is increasingly becoming a limited world resource, and ecologically-informed designers, government officials and homeowners are imperative in order to promote and protect the health and lasting beauty of our landscapes.  Although large scale planning is necessary, we can also create small scale solutions to slow down, capture, divert, and channel rainfall to meet our needs.  Sustainable design is responsible design, and as we continue exploring ways to lessen our developmental impacts on Earth, it is especially important to celebrate those methods which are relatively low-tech and affordable to maximize their implementation.

Read Linda's Recommended Readings Review.

DIY GREEN ROOFS, The Green Roof Forum.  Part-financed by the European Union European Regional Development Fund, the Green Roof Centre in Sheffield, UK, has produced a very informative and useful leaflet here for do-it-yourselfers.  The Green Roof Centre includes founding members from The University of Sheffield, Groundwork Sheffield, and the Sheffield City Council.

"Green roofs can provide many benefits, including improved views, attracting wildlife, decreasing rainwater run-off during storms and increasing energy efficiency. Whilst large-scale projects should be entrusted to specialised firms, smaller scale domestic projects, such as garage roofs and sheds, are relatively simple as long as they follow certain principles.

"This guide aims to outline some of the principles, directing and assisting you on how to build a simple, light-weight DIY green roof."  Download the DIY GREEN ROOFS, The Green Roof Forum PDF here.

To learn more about the Green Roof Forum, visit Learn more about the Green Roof Centre by visiting; you can also download their Green Roofs Fact Sheet and purchase a Green Roof Pocket Guide in PDF or a printed copy.  Also read the April/May 2007 Guest Feature Article "The Green Roof Centre - Sheffield, UK" by Jeff Sorrill, Project Manager. 


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Green Roof Plants: A Resource and Planting Guide, by Edmund C. Snodgrass and Lucie L. Snodgrass, 2006 from Timber Press, Portland, OR.

Ed and Lucie Snodgrass have successfully taken on the daunting task of researching and compiling a North American climatic-wide palette of proven greenroof plants encompassing USDA hardiness zones 2 - 9, now sharing their expertise with this wonderful compilation from personal experience.  As co-owners of Emory Knoll Farms, a wholesale nursery devoted to none-other than extensive greenroof plants, they speak from a first hand working understanding and through years of species trial and error, with hundreds of greenroof projects specified and planted with their nursery stock.

Read Linda's Recommended Readings Review.

English Nature and have produced LIVING ROOFS IN THE GARDEN:  This new leaflet on Living Roofs may now be downloaded as a 14-page PDF from  The primer on how to do green roofs on sheds and small domestic green roofs has been written by Dusty Gedge, with contributions from Nigel Dunnett, Gary Grant and Richard Jones.

All leaflets are freely available from the English Nature Enquiry Service on 01733 455100/101/ 102 or e-mail:


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 June 2004

Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls, by Nigel Dunnett and Noël Kingsbury.  2004 from Timber Press, Portland, OR.

Greenroof professionals and enthusiasts alike will be delighted with the easy reading and scope of content offered in “Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls” by Nigel Dunnett and Noël Kingsbury.  Very well organized, the book’s forte and major value is as an essential resource - especially in terms of plant description, characteristics and specification.  It’s also a great bargain in that the book is filled with color photos, drawings, charts and reference material.  This indispensable hard cover reference guide contains a truly massive collection of appropriate plant information, and perhaps most importantly, extensive plant directories are provided for both greenroofs and façade greening.

Read Linda's Recommended Readings Review


Goya Ngan, BCSLA - "Green Roof Policy: Tools for Encouraging Sustainable Design," by Goya Ngan, 2004
This report contains detailed information on policies currently being used in Germany to encourage the construction of green roofs. The purpose of the report is to assist Canadian municipalities in incorporating green roofs into their official plans, policies and operating procedures. Partial funding was provided by the Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation.  Read the Report in pdf format (approx. 1.8 MB)



English Nature - Green Roofs: brown is the new green.  Their report "Green roofs: their existing status and potential for conserving biodiversity in urban areas - Report Number 498" was released on July 8, 2003.  Gary Grant of Eco-Schemes Ltd. is the principal author of this very useful 12-page PDF.

Corp. of London et al Green Roof Advice 2003

The British Council for Offices and the Corporation of London jointly published the detailed 12-page PDF "Green Roofs Advice Note," with assistance from the City of London Biodiversity Strategy.

City Of Portland, OR - In 2003, the City of Portland developed this 12-page “Ecoroof Questions and Answers” PDF brochure on greenroofing.



Public Works and Government Services Canada - Compiled in December, 2002 by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, CM, FCSLA, FASLA, Elisabeth Whitelaw, CSLA and Eva Matsuzaki, MAIBC, FRAIC, FAIA, this 37-page PDF Version 1.1 Introductory Manual for Greening Roofs” was commissioned for Public Works and Government Services Canada, and is an excellent greenroof resource.

City Of Portland, OR - For a “Simplified Approach Design Criteria” for ecoroofs and roof gardens, see “The City of Portland's 2002 Stormwater Management Manual’s 71-page PDF Chapter 2” - specifically pages 16-22 for Eco Roofs; and pages 23-24 for Roof Gardens - Adopted July 1, 1999, the manual was revised in September 2002.


City of Chicago, IL – In November, 2001 the City of Chicago produced a 10-page PDF booklet entitled "Chicago's Green Rooftops: A Guide to Rooftop Gardening."

Steven Peck and Monica Kuhn, B.E.S., B. Arch., O.A.A. – Steven Peck of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and Monica Kuhn, Architect, developed this informative 22-page PDF entitled Design Guidelines for Green Roofs.”


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