Living Roof Systems

Living roof systems offer a modular system of creating a simple and easy to build living roofs. These are ideal for home owners who aren’t set on specific plant choices and don’t need a complex custom layout. The plant options and soil depth and composition are carefully designed to provide modules that are easy to install, look good right away, and meet most home owners needs.

More On This Topics
Living Roof Design

“Living roof systems can give a home owner an easy option when they aren’t interested in custom options.”

Basics Of Living Roof Systems

Designing a living roof can be a daunting process. Choosing the plants that will be included is only the first step. Soil depth and composition have to be designed to keep the plants healthy. The layout is determined based on several factors, including the intended use of the roof space and the plants chosen. Once the roof is designed, the custom build can be expensive and time consuming. Even when that is done it can take quite some time for the plants to began to look good. A modular system can make it a much simpler process, which is more appealing to many home owners.

Types of Living Roof Systems


Cost – $20 per square foot installed
A grid system are most suited for low-sloped or flat roofs. The roof is simply covered with a system of boxes, usually plastic or metal. Each box comes pre-filled with soil and plants. They provide quick and easy access to the underlying roof structure when repairs are needed. They can also be replaced easily if they become damaged Some people claim that they don’t provide the same quality of drainage that some other types can.


Cost – $10 per square foot

Tiles consist of a base layer covered with a thin layer of soil. Like grid systems, these are best on low-sloped roof. They can be used on steeper roofs but may need a retention system. The installation is fairly simple but they are a little more fragile than grid systems.


Cost – $25 per square foot installed

Mats look and feel a lot like sod. Usually a longer strip instead of square, they are perhaps the easiest to install. Mats end up with a more uniform appearance than other styles. They can be used on any roof but sometimes need a retention system on steeper roofs. It’s important to keep them watered, especially when new. If they get too dry, not only can the plants die but the mats can actually shrink and leave the waterproofing exposed and vulnerable.