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Small Green Roofs: Low-Tech Options for Greener Living

By Nigel Dunnett, Dusty Gedge, John Little, and Edmund C. Snodgrass

A real trailblazer.…The only in-depth guide to do it yourself green roofs.

American Horticultural Society

Garages, bicycle shelters, car ports, porches, barns, and home extensions are perfect locations for green roofs. They've been seen on industrial buildings for some time, but in these more personal settings, their benefits are easily enjoyed: even a small green roof will soak up excess rainfall, provide insulation, attract wildlife, and maybe even improve an ugly view. What's more, installing a green roof is a positive, life-enhancing act that benefits the environment as well.

In this inspiring compendium, four green roof pioneers — and the adventurous homeowners whose stories they gather — issue a rousing call to green up our neighborhoods starting right at home.

The first book to focus on small-scale and domestic green roofs, Small Green Roofs contains more than forty profiles of small and domestic-scale projects of all shapes and sizes. For each project, details are given for design, construction, and installation, as well as how-to tips on how the roof was planted and cared for.

Awards for this book: American Horticultural Society Book Award

Media reviews

"A real trailblazer ... the only in-depth guide to do it yourself green roofs. ... A balance of functional how-to with inspirational ideas and solid horticultural information."

American Horticultural Society

"The photographs are more than excellent. Installation instructions and planting designs are appealing enough to inspire all of us gardeners."

—Camilla Clocker, Washington Gardener

"A valuable source book for information on the nuts and bolts of designing and planting a living roof, as well as an inspirational resource for ideas."

—Catriona Tudor Erler, Smith Mountain Laker

"Humble, yet inspirational projects."

Landscape Architecture

"Bountifully illustrated and brimming with stimulating information and ideas. Highly recommended for gardeners and environmentalists and anyone interested in greening up."

—Donna L. Darvey, Library Journal

"This lavishly illustrated book reviews the basics of design and installation. For homeowners, landscape architects, and engineers, this is a great overview of projects that won't break the bank."

Publishers Weekly

""[W]ill spark one's imagination ... Recommended.""


"Full of pictures and easy to read."

E, the Environmental Magazine

"The emphasis on smaller and local is easy to understand."

—Vicky Fellowes, Living Architecture Monitor

About the authors

Nigel Dunnett

Nigel Dunnett is a Reader in Urban Horticulture in the landscape department at the University of Sheffield, where he has developed innovative research programs on naturalistic and ecologically informed planting for gardens and public landscapes. He is director of The Green Roof Centre, Sheffield, and acts widely as a consultant on green roof design and planting, and sustainable garden and landscape design in general.

Read more about Nigel Dunnett

Dusty Gedge

Dusty Gedge is a green-roof campaigner and founder of LivingRoofs.org, an independent green-roofs association that promotes vegetated roof structures in urban and rural areas. In 2004 he was awarded the Andrew Lees Memorial Award at the annual British Environment and Media Awards. He is currently president of the European Federation of Green Roof Associations.

Read more about Dusty Gedge

John Little

John Little is a partner in The Grass Roof Company, an award-winning, eco-friendly landscape design and management company. He has developed a broad reputation for his innovative green-roofed small buildings for schools, gardens, and community use.

Read more about John Little

Edmund C. Snodgrass

Edmund C. Snodgrass started the first green roof nursery in the United States and has collaborated on green roof research with colleges and universities. A fifth-generation farmer and nurseryman, he is owner and president of Emory Knoll Farms Inc. and Green Roof Plants in Street, Maryland, specializing in plants and horticultural consulting for green roofs.

Read more about Edmund C. Snodgrass

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