Turn Your Garden Shed Green with a Living Roof


Turn Your Garden Shed Green with a Living Roof. I don’t know about you but I love my garden! I find my small but sweet garden has a positive effect on my wellbeing. Just being in my garden for a few minutes a day, while I drink my morning coffee, or water my plants gives me an energy boost that helps get me through my hectic schedule.

Gardens are known to have relaxing properties, with the natural environment of greenery being a contrast from the stresses of modern life. Gardens are often a good way of providing space for buildings for storage, or for extra living space. Sometimes these can seem a bit of an eyesore and you might want to do something to them to stop detracting from your therapeutic green setting. Whether you have a contemporary garden studio or a more modest tool shed, garden buildings can be brightened up to complement your precious green space.

A way of reclaiming the lost space in favour of more green is by using plants on the building itself.

Turn Your Garden Shed Green with a Living Roof 


Making a Living Roof

You can reclaim some of the lost space that your garden building has created by making a living roof. This is a planting area on the roof which can be used to provide growing space for low-growing plants and grass which adds green back in to the garden. You can make the living roof box yourself, or there are companies which can do this for you.

You can make your own wooden living roof box in less than a day.  Here are the steps:

  • Make a square box to the dimension of your roof and around 6” – 8” deep with some wooden planks. Secure with corner brackets.
  • Attach more wooden planks between the edges of the box to support the plywood sheet which will be the base.
  • Cover the plywood sheet in plastic sheeting to protect the shed roof from water damage, and secure the base to the supporting planks.
  • If your roof has an incline, then use struts secured in the ground to raise the lower edge of the box until it is level.
  • Secure to the roof with brackets, and fill with good draining soil and compost.


Check out this great video from Growing Wisdom that shows you how:


Two Key Points of a Living Roof

  1. Grow plants which don’t require a huge amount of soil or too much maintenance – grass and alpines are perfect for living roofs.
  2. Living roofs also provide insulation for your building, which makes them a good option for garden studios, artist studios and offices.

When you turn your garden shed green with a living roof it can help keep your building warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer. The denser the soil and plants on the roof, the more effective the insulating properties, however, this needs to be balanced with what weight your roof is capable of supporting. If you’re unsure, seek specialist advice.


Other Living Roof Options

Sedum Matting

Sedum matting is cut to size and rolled on to the roof. It is lightweight so requires less support, but is less effective as an insulator. It is however, a good option for sloping roofs, and comes pre-planted with plants which are suitable for living roofs. Sedum matting needs to be bought from a specialist but you can install it yourself, though you may need a friend to help.

Pots and Boxes

You can also use plants on the sides of your shed. Window boxes and pots around the base are easy to establish and maintain. Continue the theme from your beds on to your shed and it’ll make the shed look like part of your garden, rather than just being dropped in.


Climbing Plants on a Trellis


Turn Your Garden Shed Green with a Living Roof

  • A trellis is easy to attach to the side of your building and you can pick trellis up cheaply from DIY stores.
  • A trellis can be painted the same color as your shed to disguise it, or in a contrasting color to make it more of a feature.
  • Plant climbing plants in a pot at the base of the trellis. Avoid invasive species such as Ivy as it’ll be hard to control and eat your wooden structure up in a jiffy.
  • Less-invasive climbing species such as Honeysuckle and Clematis require a sunny spot or partly-shady spot and require minimal pruning. Both are relatively easy to grow.

It’s a great project to turn your garden shed green with a living roof. Whether it be window boxes, pots, and climbing plants; there are lots of ways you can reclaim the space that your essential but unattractive garden building has taken and turn it back into the calming and natural green space that you desire.


Thanks to Cheryl for contributing this article.