I had admired from afar the green roof shed I saw my neighbors, Melissa and Bruni, build by hand a couple of years ago. When DIY Del Ray came into being, I leapt at the chance to interview them. I met with Melissa and we admired the finished shed and talked about how she and Bruni designed and built it.
Melissa and Bruni wanted a green roof on their shed because “they’re adorable and effective for retaining stormwater runoff,” Melissa said.
A green roof is also known as a “living roof,” and, in addition to reducing stormwater runoff, the plants can create a habitat for wildlife, lower urban air temperatures, filter pollutants and carbon dioxide from the air and insulate buildings from sound. The Alexandria Duncan Library had the first green roof in Alexandria. It was sown in 2005 with a variety of sedum, the same landscaping you can see on the grounds.
Melissa and Bruni started by defining the needs for their green roof shed. They wanted a shed large enough for bikes and lumber from their various DIY projects.
They finalized the shed design using "The DIY Guide to Green and Living Roofs" by Dusty Gedge and John Little, which Melissa found online from Living Roofs.
With help from Melissa’s carpenter sister in Texas (over the phone), they built the entire structure by hand. They followed Alexandria code for the total volume and height of the structure. The city did not include the height of the plants in the required height of the shed. Therefore, since Melissa and Bruni planned to use grasses and wildflowers, they didn’t have to make the roof any lower than the basic height requirement.
When they were done building the structure, they added dirt from the yard and planted wildflowers. Now, Melissa says they get better grass growing on the roof than they manage to grow in their yard. Plus, they have a lovely view of the colorful shed and wildflower garden from their kitchen window.
For a list of materials and costs for the green roof shed and to see more photos, go to DIY Del Ray.