What is a green roof?

A green roof or living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with a growing medium and vegetation, planted over a waterproofing membrane. It may also include additional layers such as a root barrier and drainage mats and an irrigation system.

An extensive green roof is a basic green roof installed for insulation and ecological purposes while an intensive green roof is planted over a thicker layer of growing medium and allows for a much wider array of plants including vegetables and possibly trees.

Why install a green roof?

When you get a green roof you are converting a concrete surface into a living oasis. Not only will you create an oasis for yourself but be providing badly needed natural habitat for birds, migrating butterflies, honeybees, ladybugs and other pollinators.

Green Roofs can now provide up to 14 points in LEED (Leadership in Environment and Energy Design) certification.

A green roof will protect your waterproof membrane from the elements and from thermal shock thus multiplying its life expectancy by 2 or 3 fold.

A green roof will lower your energy bill by better insulating your home.

Green roofs reduce stormwater runoff, urban heat island affect, and improve air and water quality.

What is the approximate cost of a green roof?

A green roof costs around $30 per square foot. The larger the green roof the cheaper it becomes. Here in NYC there are logistic costs that drive the price up a little bit. Depending on the building situation and roof access the cost may vary by a few dollars per square foot.

How much does a green roof weigh?

The average Extensive Green Roof weighs 30 lbs per square foot fully saturated. This is with 3"-4" of soil medium. An Intensive Green Roof can weigh up to 100 lbs per square foot depending on how deep the soil goes.
The first step when deciding you want a green roof is to have a structural engineer determine the roof weigh baring capacity. You may already have this information or we can help you with finding the right engineer.

Does a green roof need to be irrigated?

Extensive green roofs with at least 4 inches of soil and mostly planted with sedum do not need an irrigation system.
However the roof will need to be watered occasionally during the first year of establishment and in extreme periods of drought.
If you want to reduce the initial watering needs the best time to plant a green roof is early fall and second best early spring.

Intensive green roofs with at least 8 inches of soil need to be irrigated as they can accommodate a large variety of plants, shrubs and trees because their watering requirements are higher than succulents. Intensive green roofs generally have an irrigation system installed.

For additional information about green roofs please visit greenroofs.com

What is a green wall?

A green wall is an indoor or outdoor wall partially or completely covered with vegetation that includes a growing medium, such as soil.
There are 3 basic types of green walls modular, layered or cabled.
In modular systems the plants are pre-grown in trays before being installed on a frame.
In layered systems the plants are grown into pockets made out of stretch fabric.
In cabled systems the plants grow along a latticework of cables similar to that of a trellis.

Why get a green wall?

It improves air quality and mitigate stormwater runoff.
It reduces your energy cost by better insulating your home or by evapotranspiration inside your home.
It reduces noise levels by acting as a sound barrier.
It is aesthetically pleasing.
It deters graffiti.
They are a beautiful, lush expression of a business or homeowner's commitment to the environment.

What is the approximate cost of a green wall?

Green walls cost can vary greatly depending on the materials and system used. Starting price is about $20 a square foot.

Does a green wall need to be irrigated?

Because of their vertical nature, which affect the amount of growing medium that can be used, most green walls will need an to be irrigated either by hand or using an irrigation system.

For additional information about green roofs please visit greenroofs.com


Terraces are treasured outdoor spaces in New York City. They serve as a place to find refuge from the city while also providing a view of the city's many buildings and streets. They are spaces used for special events, big parties, or a quiet space used every morning for breakfast. Some of NYC's finest gardens are on terraces. Often with exposed and harsh conditions, they are a challenging but exciting space to landscape. They can also be a stopping ground for the thousands of migratory birds and butterflies that fly through our city every year.

Ecological Gardens

An ecological garden seeks to mimic natural ecosystems with increased abundance, beauty, and diversity. It provides habitat for birds, beneficial insects, and other wildlife, while also growing flowers, herbs, and agriculture for human consumption.

Alive Structures stresses the importance of working with native plants which require less irrigation and also represent the geographical history of the area. Alive Structures never uses pesticides, and we use all natural fertilizers. We also install rain barrels, compost bins, and use sustainably harvested or recycled materials for walkways and edging.