Intensive green roofs – parks and gardens in the sky – green roof types

Intensive green roofs are the heavy-weights, literally, of the green roof world. In essence, they are parks or gardens on roofs.

Garden green roof - Paris
Le Jardin de toit – Paris

Intensive green roofs – maintenance

Rooftop garden - London
Rooftop garden, Allen & Overy – London

The word ‘intensive’ actually refers to the amount of input required to maintain a green roof. As parks and gardens, they need frequent maintenance, just as a park or garden needs to be tended on a regular basis. The degree of maintenance for intensive green roofs depends on what has been planted. A simple lawn will need regular mowing and irrigation during summer, whilst a green roof with plenty of trees and shrubs may also need irrigation and attendance to the vegetation.

Deep soils – heavy-weight green roofs

Intensive green roof - Linz Austria
Green roof garden – Linz, Austria

Because these types of intensive green roofs have deeper soils, they are heavier than extensive green roofs. They therefore need to be installed on a much stronger structure.

Urban Roof Top Farms

Climate risk - green infrastructure
Food growing on Eversheds’ green roof – London


Urban agriculture on green roofs would be considered an intensive green roof, as they need regular maintenance, relatively deep soils and a certain amount of irrigation.

Gardens and parks on roofs can store a great deal of water and are therefore good Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) for stormwater management. They also provide a good thermal barrier and depending on the planting can also be good for biodiversity. Furthermore, they provide visual and physical amenity for residents and the people who overlook them. This can improve people’s general sense of health and well-being, as well as overall neighbourhood quality.