current obsession: ecoroofs


Before I head back to the east coast this week, I’m trying to take mental (and literal) pictures of my favorite parts of Portland. One of ideas I wish Brooklyn would adopt is Portland’s love of living and edible roof gardens. I’ve seen roof gardens in New York before, but I’ve never seen them used so frequently as I have here in Oregon. They’re on residential homes, commercial buildings and growing naturally on park buildings around town. My favorites are the mossier covers because they remind me of a real-life Tolkien/Hobbit home. I’m going to look into organizations in New York that work on rooftop gardens (and seeing how I can be a part of making them more widespread in Brooklyn), but in the meantime I wanted to share these images from Portland’s Ecoroofs company. They do gorgeous installations across town and these are some of my favorites…xo, grace



  1. That first picture is amazing. The pink sky and flowers. Love.

  2. Gina says:

    I’m so happy that you posted this. I actually talked to my husband last week about doing something like this with a portion of our roof… now to figure out how to do it on our own or find a company around Ohio/Michigan!

    PS. I LOVE PORTLAND!

  3. Katie says:

    So beautiful! I love ecoroofs!

  4. Brigid says:

    Fantastic! I always thought roof gardens were reserved for big, flat roofed buildings, not plain old houses! Love that last little house!

  5. Very cool… we saw some “unintentional” eco-rooftops on our drive to the park the other day… hehe ;)

  6. erin says:

    grace,
    check out alivestructures.com. they are on flatbush ave. in brooklyn and do the most beautiful green roofs and rooftop gardens! they are also very conscious of using plants native to the region.

  7. Lauren says:

    you should check out the musee quai branly in paris. it’s an african/oceanic enthographic museum. the entire front of the building is a “living wall”

  8. Michelle says:

    I love green roofs! There is an empty building here in Raleigh that is available for lease that already has a green roof on it. Can’t wait to see who goes in that space and utilizes /promotes the roof – and then I want to help them tend it! ;)

  9. Izabella says:

    I love this! The first photo is magical. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Holiday says:

    I’m also really surprised to see the little porch roof garden. I always thought there were structural modifications needed to support the roof…at least that’s why the builder says we have 18″ thick concrete walls holding up our green garage roof! Now I only wish I had @Michelle to help me tend it, since it really gets ahead of me…

  11. Laurie Matthews says:

    You’d love Portland’s Noble Rot. They grow a lot of food they serve in the restaurant on their roof! You should take a tour!

  12. Trish says:

    Yay! We are actually doing this to our Cottage roof, using succulents!

  13. Shones says:

    I’ve never seen a roof garden on a “traditional” sloped roof home. That is truly fascinating.

  14. I’ve wanted a planted roof for a good while now… Swoon.

  15. Nadine says:

    We were in Norway last summer to visit friends, and I was amazed to see how many houses still have these eco-roofs. And they are all traditionally sloped roofs! Having plants and flowers on your roof is not only beautiful, but also very good insulation. And in a world where so much green (on ground level) is disappearing, it’s great to see it re-appearing on our rooftops!

  16. Mia says:

    See this blog by Marie Viljoen, a gardener/garden designer in Brooklyn: http://66squarefeet.blogspot.com/ (I don’t know her personally but based on her blog it seems that she does a lot of garden projects around NYC)

  17. Regina says:

    http://brightfarms.com
    This is a company that builds rooftop farms in NYC.
    http://nysunworks.org
    This is a non profit in NYC that works with rooftop gardens to teach kids about sustainability.

    And the following that are both located in Brooklyn:
    http://www.brooklyngreenroof.com
    http://rooftopfarms.org/

  18. Katrina says:

    There are a million reasons to have green roofs. That we have so many in Portland makes me proud to say that I live here. They’re good for the environment. They reduce the greenhouse effect, lower the temperature of big concrete cities (hint hint New York) and saving heating/cooling costs in buildings. Plus it creates space for produce that is otherwise taken by the buildings themselves. Awesome all around.

  19. We can’t wait to visit Portland to see these in person. They are so great!

  20. Katherine says:

    I love these, and all the great links in these comments.

  21. Leah says:

    Fantastic! I’ll be staying in a lakefront cottage for three days during my wedding on Kootenay Lake, BC in Canada. The cottages have sod roofs. And a few goats… :)

    http://www.destinybay.com/Destiny_Bay_Resort/Albums/Pages/The_Cottages.html#0

  22. That would be amazing if you worked to get more eco-roofs, Grace! That first one is beautiful! I love seeing green roofs around here in Switzerland… or anywhere for that matter!

  23. Kevin says:

    Check out http://greengarage.ca/. They are in Toronto, Canada. It started as one guy doing a DIY green roof on his garage, which he blogged about … and now he’s a company doing it for a living! The blog has some great info if you decide to go the DIY route, plus he’ll answer any questions via email if you want tips or pointers to suppliers, etc..

  24. Carla says:

    http://www.LiveRoof.com Company a subsidiary of Hortech, Inc. Spring Lake ,Michigan
    Does a wonderful job!

  25. Serena Waddel says:

    I heard about roof top gardens, I can’t remember the factoid now but it was pretty fasinating. I do know that they are growing in popularity and how could they not! They’re just so beautiful, functional and well, the list could go on, but I’ll save you my rant. :-)

    Bottom line? I’m glad you got inspired to bring rooftop gardens to NYC! Go get ’em!

  26. Anne says:

    Thanks for a great post. We live in Germany where this is quite common on commercial buildings. One of the things I most enjoyed when visiting my last company’s Berlin offices was looking out the windows and seeing all the rooftop gardens. Between their use for energy conservation purposes and for personal enjoyment (living in apartments, this is most people’s only chance to garden), they’re quite widespread.

  27. Rita says:

    I too love rooftop gardens! But I had to laugh when I saw the “garden” on the red house. This is what any house here in WA looks like when you have a shaded roof and you do not clean it for a couple of years. You can have gutter “gardens” here too! :)

  28. Tim says:

    My father is one of America’s leading experts on Green Roofs and has written several books on the topic. Our farm has supplied plants for many projects as well and is the only nursery in the U.S. dedicated solely to the propagation of plants for the green roof industry. I encourage anyone who is interested in this type of sustainable technology to check out our website http://www.greenroofplants.com/
    Thanks!

  29. Manayer says:

    the 1st 1 is so peaceful

  30. Luna says:

    Here’s another image to add into your library. This is my neighbor’s tool shed in the Seattle area.

  31. Sarah says:

    One more resource for green roof plans for the DIY’er– http://www.greenroofplans.com/Home.html.

  32. A recent roof my company completed on the UES. http://tinyurl.com/3gyumch.

    We have a large amount of roofs in BK as well, and I would be happy to set up a tour sometime.

  33. Chandra Thomas says:

    I have a deep affection for Felder Rushing. If you’re not familiar with his garden work, take a look at this green roof he did on his own house.
    http://www.felderrushing.net/GreenRoofEntryArbor_000.htm

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