How to Make a Living Roof (Even in a Hot, Dry Climate)


| 3/3/2016 9:07:00 AM


Tags: living roofs, roofs, natural building, Mediterranean, Atulya K Bingham, Turkey,

The first time I saw a living roof, I wanted one. A meadow on the top of your house? Who wouldn’t want that? I discussed with friends how I’d grow fruit up there, and imagined myself laying in the lush green grass plucking strawberries. I forgot of course I was living on Turkey’s Mediterranean where it doesn’t rain for five months a year. Green roofs are perfect for cool, wet climates. But for the hot and the dry?

Unfortunately, I’m a stubborn sort, notorious for paying zero attention to advice or practicalities. The benefit of such a character is that occasionally you come up with new ways of doing things. My living/dead roof is one of them.

My roof is constructed the same way as a conventional living roof, with one small adjustment. Half of the year it’s dead.

 

How to Make a Living Roof

Before you do anything at all, make sure your joists are strong enough. Earth roofs are heavy, and depending on how much soil, water, plants and what type of membrane you’ve used, it could weigh anywhere between 100-250 kg/square metre. You can check these figures in more detail here.

Also make sure you have the correct incline, (mine is 10 cm from front to back on a roof about 7 metres diameter, and I’d say that’s perfect). If there’s no incline, the water can’t drain away leaving you with a pond sitting on your roof. If the incline is too steep, you may have erosion issues.




mother earth news fair

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!

LEARN MORE