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Creating a green roof for a small shed in shade

Hello! I am a newbie to anything more adventurous than moving the lawn. I would like to create a green roof on a shed which I look out on from the kitchen sink. But it is totally in the shade and never gets the sun. Has anyone got any experience of what might survive in a cold shady Scottish corner?!
Many thanks!


  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 1,721
    First off you need to check your shed roof is strong enough to take the weight of a green roof.
    You will need to make a box frame to take a depth of soil, membrane and drainage.
    Can you post a photo from you kitchen?
  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 1,721
    ......and welcome to the forum 
  • thanks so much for the warm welcome! This is the view from kitchen window. The second shed (further away one) will be going, and it’s the roof of the one directly below the window that I’m looking to change. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    I think that's going to be difficult. It doesn't look like you have room to actually get in there and put anything on the roof, which means it would need to be ready to lift into place. I doubt that would be possible - it would certainly be very tricky and would need careful thought. 

    However, if you manage it, some of the saxifrages will grow in shade -  Saxifraga urbium [London Pride] will grow anywhere, and small ferns will also grow in almost any conditions. It would be a question of finding the right ones. 
    I have a white saxifrage that grows in a fair bit of shade too, as well as lots of other places.
    Even some of the smaller Heucheras would grow - it's surprising how little they will grow in, as long as they're damp enough. I had a piece of Lime Marmalade which was stuck in a pot for weeks - no soil, just wet from the rain. Looks great! 

    You may need to limit it to a few varieties of plants  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,629
    Don't discount a moss roof. I've seen a few nice examples that might not have the same look as flowering plants but look lovely and green nonetheless. I'll see if I can find some photos.
  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 1,721
    If the roof is strong or can be made strong maybe some low lightweight planters would be suitable as that would give you a greater depth for planting. 
    If you can open your kitchen window enough you can water from above or use a spray lance on a hose pipe and a set of steps at ground level.

  • BigladBiglad East LancashirePosts: 1,028
    It does look pretty tricky. Are you able to reach all parts of the shed roof without clambering onto it?
  • thanks so much for all this amazing advice! What an incredible community. You are right that access isnt brilliant. I can stand down one side (the right hand side as you look at the photo) as there is space. The left hand rear side could be accessed by standing on the windowsill that you see in the left handside of the photo. I have a hose for watering (and it rains a lot here!). 

    Would a moss roof potentially weigh less as requires less soil etc? And could you intersperse it with the ferns/other plants suggested by Fairygirl?

    Many thanks again Alison
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    You could certainly put some ferns in there  :)
    To be honest - I hadn't thought of a moss roof, but that would be lovely, and would be lighter. A moss covered wall, for example,  is a real delight.

    Easy to do, easy to maintain - and moss just grows here anyway - as you probably know already  ;)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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