Install a Green Roof

Environmentally-friendly green roofs attract wildlife and help insulate buildings in winter and keep them cool in summer. The easiest way to install one is with sedum matting, which you can buy by the yard.

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Lay Your Sedum Matting

Place your sedum matting on the roof and trim with a sharp knife. The matting has an extra flap of material at each side. To butt up two sections of matting, unfold this flap on the first piece, and lay the second on top of it. This creates a perfect seam and anchors the matting. Don’t use small pieces of matting at the edge of the roof because they will dry out quickly and the plants may die.


To ensure that the plants thrive, don’t walk or kneel on them when installing the matting. Water plants during dry spells until they are fully established. After the first year they will require extra irrigation only during severe droughts. Apply a slow-release granular fertilizer each spring, and replant any bald patches with young plants. Some green roof suppliers offer specialist fertilizers, but one formulated for succulents and drought-tolerant plants will also do the job. Most weeds find it difficult to survive in the thin, dry soil, but remove any that do appear as soon as you see them.

Roof Plants

Although sedum mats come already planted up, you can add plants of your own as bald patches appear. Choose from the following to create a sea of color throughout the year.

Image 1: Thymus 'Doone Valley'; 5 inches high, 14 inches wide
Image 2: Sedum acre 2 inches high, 24 inches wide
Image 3: Scabiosa lucida; 8 inches high, 12 inches wide

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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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