Small Green Roofs (Paperback)

Low-Tech Options for Greener Living

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

Timber Press, 9781604690590, 256pp.

Publication Date: April 27, 2011

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Until now, the green roof movement has been limited to large-scale, professional endeavors and public buildings. But homeowners everywhere are catching onto the benefits of a green roof—water conservation, energy savings, and storm water management. In Small Green Roofs authors Dunnett, Gedge, Little, and Snodgrass profile ordinary homeowners who scaled green roofs down to the domestic level.

Small Green Roofs is the first book to focus on small-scale and domestic green roofs. More than forty profiles of small and domestic-scale projects of all shapes and sizes include green roofs on sheds, garden offices, studios, garages, houses, bicycle sheds, and other small structures, as well as several community projects. 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.

For readers looking for inspiration when hiring a contractor or taking the adventurous step of building their own, Small Green Roofs provides the knowledge and encouragement to make it possible.

About the Author

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.

He writes regularly for landscape and garden publications, including Gardens Illustrated and The Garden. With Noël Kingsbury he wrote Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls; with Andy Clayden, Rain Gardens: Managing Water Sustainably in the Garden and Designed Landscape.

Dusty Gedge is a green roof campaigner and founder of, an independent green roofs association that promotes vegetated roof structures in urban and rural areas. With a background in community theatre, he is passionate about nature conservation and birdwatching.

A frequent television and conference presenter on green roofs and biodiversity, he is particularly interested in teaching amateurs how to make green roofs. 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.

John Little is a partner in The Grass Roof Company, an award-winning, eco-friendly landscape design and management company that designs and builds green-roof buildings, designs and maintains school grounds and undertakes grounds maintenance work on behalf of local authorities. He has developed a broad reputation for his innovative green-roofed small buildings for schools, gardens and community use. His turf-roofed house won Daily Telegraph self-build house of the year in 1996.

Edmund C. Snodgrass is president and founder of Emory Knoll Farms, Inc. and Green Roof Plants, North America’s first nursery specializing in green roof plants and horticultural consulting. Snodgrass collaborates on green roof research with academic institutions including Penn State University, University of Melbourne, University of Maryland, University of Auckland, and Sheffield University. A popular speaker and published author, he lectures widely and has been featured in The New York Times and on the Sundance Channel’s Ecobiz documentary series. 

Praise For Small Green Roofs: Low-Tech Options for Greener Living

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

“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.” —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.” —Smith Mountain Laker

“Humble, yet inspirational projects.” —Landscape Architecture

“Will spark one’s imagination. . . . Recommended.” —Choice

“Full of pictures and easy to read.” —Environmental Magazine

“The emphasis on smaller and local is easy to understand.” —Living Architecture Monitor