If you are worried that having a shed in your garden will take up valuable space for wildlife and greenery, the best solution is to add a green roof. They are simple to create, and delightful to look at. A well-made green roof will attract all kinds of wildlife to your garden and will help to play an important role in maintaining the amount of greenery in your local area – an important consideration if you live in a city or town.

The pace of building development has depleted wildlife habitats in urban areas, causing a negative effect on both the potential for flooding – because there is less land to absorb rainfall – and a general increase in the atmospheric temperature in cities: the urban heat island effect. The addition of a green roof will offset the footprint of your garden shed and the fact that such roofs allow plants to grow more freely than on a lawn or flowerbed will help it to attract even greater numbers of birds, butterflies, bees and other insects.

Choosing the right shed

There are a number of factors to consider before adding a green roof to your shed, not the least of which is whether your shed will be strong enough. For plants to flourish on a green roof they will need moisture and drainage, which means soil and a sturdy framework to keep it in place. Check that your shed is strong enough to take such weight, and remember that the walls will also play a large part in bearing the load.

You will also need to make sure that your shed’s roof is waterproof. In terms of drainage, if the roof is pitched more than roughly 25 degrees from the horizontal, you may have a problem with slippages. A standard shed such as the bestselling Overlap Apex Garden Shed (above right) or Overlap Pent Roof Garden Shed is likely to fit the bill.

How to make a green roof

Make a simple frame with the same dimensions as your shed’s roof from pieces of rot-proof timber, using L brackets for the corners. Attach the frame to the roof with metal straps at each corner, to prevent slippages.

Make sure that you leave a waterproof layer such as a plastic sheet between the roof and the frame; this will stop any rooting plants from breaking through your roof. On top of this, add a filter sheet, which will help with drainage. In order to maximise moisture retention, it is a good idea to place old blankets or towels over the filter sheet.

Next, add the soil: starting with a layer of clay pellets, then about three inches of soil/sand mixture. Your green roof is now ready for planting.

Reserved for Nature

Grasses, moss and woodland plants tend to do very well on small-scale roof gardens, but ultimately the best plants for you to choose will be found through a process of trial and error. One of the nice things about green roofs is they tend to look at their most attractive when they are a little untamed. Letting nature take its course and allowing some weeds to grow will help to bring even more wildlife to your garden, which can only be a good thing.

For more detailed information on green roofs, visit www.livingroofs.org

Featured image courtesy of guardian.co.uk