Holiday Ideas: Top 10 List of Greenroof Gifts

December 19, 2008 at 8:06 pm

With the holidays right around the corner, are you like me, a world renown procrastinator, still looking for last minute gift ideas for your loved ones?   If so, here are my favorites for all you greenroof aficionados out there.   The best part is that they can all be ordered online  with a quick click of  your mouse,  they’re all in stock – and  without any  traffic or long lines!   You might be familiar with Haven Kiers‘ and my annual Top 10 List of Hot Greenroof Design Trends, where we compile the not to be missed, new, noteworthy and exciting  projects from around the world, so in that spirit…

Some are new offerings, and some are “old” favorites – in our relatively young industry it’s pretty funny to refer to something as old, but so be it  – and each is all about vegetated roof projects.   Without further ado, here we go:

My Top Ten List of Greenroof Gifts

1) The 2009 Greenroofs of the World Calendar!   At just $12.95 each, including shipping & handling, (less if you buy more), it’s also the least expensive item on our list, via

An exclusive of, we’re now in our second year of publishing the “Greenroofs of the World” 12-Month Wall Calendar series which combines two of our most popular destinations:   The Greenroof Projects Database and Upcoming Events.   2009 is filled with beautiful living roof projects  from municipal applications  to recreational areas to private homes  and beyond, and there’s even more green building events from around the world than last year’s.      This year we have greenroofs from Spain, Germany and Canada alongside the U.S.  cities of Portland, Chicago, Birmingham, Northbrook, Steamboat Springs, Newport, Pittsburgh, Port Townsend, and Washington, D.C., ranging from 350 to 765,000 sf.

The Calendar  will make a great inexpensive last minute gift or stocking stuffer (well, if you have a really wide stocking) for friends, family, colleagues, and even you!

2)  Green Roofs in Sustainable Landscape Design, 2008, by Steven L. Cantor.   $44.07, via   Wow – after years of hard work from this talented landscape architect and former university professor, what an amazing compilation and final product!   I’m currently reading and writing a Recommending Reading for this absolutely invaluable must-have.  

It’s truly spectacular in scope and breadth with approximately 70 detailed case studies alongside terms and definitions; issues; the design process; plant materials, irrigation and specifications; trends; and numerous appendices –  I (obviously!) highly recommend this for everyone.   I beleive this is the true reference manual for living roofs that we have all been waiting for since Ted Osmundson’s initial offering – see  below at #6.

3)   Green Roof Plants: A Resource and Planting Guide, 2006, by Edmund C. Snodgrass  and Lucie L. Snodgrass.   $19.77,  via   Although plants are the obvious focus, it’s comprehensive in scope and a considerable amount of effort has been placed on examining greenroof fundamentals.   The book serves as an insightful and practical design resource as well as greenroof planting guide for beginners and experts alike.

Their research and compilation of a North American climatic-wide palette of proven greenroof plants encompassing USDA hardiness zones 2 – 9 is a testament to their expertise and years of species trial and error on Emory Knoll Farms.   Read my Recommended Readings  Review.

4)   Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls, 2004, revised and updated 2008, by Nigel Dunnett and Noël Kingsbury.   $23.07, via   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.   Here is another indispensable   reference guide containing a truly massive collection of extensive plant directories for both greenroofs and façade greening.   Read my Review.

5)   The DIY Guide to Green & Living Roofs, 2008, by John Little and Dusty Gedge.   £11.65, via   John Little of The Grassroof Company and Dusty Gedge of Livingroofs of the UK have joined forces to provide a practical guide to creating small scale greenroofs.  

On my to-do list for upcoming Recommended Readings, it’s really a highly informative, hands-on design and construction reference for Do-It-Yourselfers.   Full of photos, details and diagrams, the guide includes terms and considerations for both the UK and North American markets. Available in various eBook formats.

6)   Roof Gardens: History, Design, and Construction, 1999, by Theodore H. Osmundson.   $47.25, via   Ted Osmundson has enjoyed a long and productive career in landscape architecture, and has been a true pioneer in the field of roof gardens.    This reference standard is appropriate for roof garden  fans and design professionals alike and has been considered THE bible of traditional rooftop design, and really, the title says it all.

Roof Gardens is a classic even if it’s just (almost) ten years old and certainly a must have in your  library of design books.   Read my Review.

7)   Green Roof: A Case Study: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates’ Design For the Headquarters of the American Society of Landscape Architects, 2007, by   Christian Werthmann.   $45.00, via   The ASLA Headquarters greenroof is a living  representation of the Society’s ideals regarding sustainable design – in other words, they’ve put their money where their mouth is with their own living roof!  

And it’s not only highly educational and functional, it’s  beautiful, too, so much so that we featured it in the August spot in our 2009 Greenroofs of the World Calendar.

8)   BUILDING GREENer – Guidance on the use of green roofs, green walls and complementary features on buildings (C644), 2007, by Paul Early, Dusty Gedge, John Newton, and Steve Wilson.   £90.00  via CIRIA.   Although intended for UK readership, this book is expertly written by well known and respected environmental design leaders whose message is clear that this guidance can be applied universally.

A comprehensive assessment of published research and information on living roofs and walls, BUILDING GREENer shows us  ecological designers how such low tech features as nesting boxes can easily be incorporated to encourage greater biodiversity in our building construction practices.   Read my Review.

9)  Green Roofs: Ecological Design and Construction, 2004, by Earth Pledge Foundation; contributing authors include Leslie Hoffman, William McDonough, Katrin Scholz-Barth, Tom Liptan, Ed Snodgrass, Dusty Gedge, Steven Peck, Manfred Koehler, Takehiko Mikami, Colin Cheney, Mathew Frith, Melissa Keeley and Joel Towers.   $26.37, via

Forty-seven spectacular international case studies are highlighted, organized based on three major factors in sustainable design: economy, social value and ecology.   Appendices and  endnotes are particularly detailed and extremely useful.

10)   Last, but certainly not least, is Award-winning Green Roof Designs, 2008, by Steven W. Peck, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.  $39.99, via   The first five years of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ Awards of Excellence North American-winning projects and designers  have been  chronicled in the categories of: Residential, Institutional, and  Institutional/Commercial, totalling 30 in-depth case studies.  

Outstanding individuals are also featured, highlighting the first  five recipients of the Civic Awards of Excellence and the first Research Award of Excellence, going to the late Dr. David Beattie.

I  trust  you’ll enjoy these selections and  hopefully you can carve out  some down time in the next couple of weeks after the hustle and bustle of the festivities, to slow down, enjoy your family,  and perhaps even catch up on some  reading in the New Year.  

Warm wishes throughout your holiday season, and Season’s Greetings to all!

~ Linda V.