Jim Mumford and GreenScaped Buildings are experts on green roof construction and installation in San Diego

The green roof is the only building element that improves with age!

Green Roofs

Also known as eco-roofs, vegetated roofs, or living roofs, a green roof is an engineered, lightweight roofing system that supports plants.  A green roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium planted over a waterproofing membrane. Often, it also includes additional layers such as a root barrier, drainage and irrigation system.

Rather than being planter boxes, the roof sits atop a man-made structure. It can be at grade, below grade, or above grade. It can accommodate up to a forty percent slope. Each and every green roof is unique.

Green roofs result in extended life expectancy of a roof. Based on 50-plus years of experience with green roofs in Germany, a green roof can be expected to experience double or triple the life of a standard roof, protecting the waterproofing membrane from wind-blown debris, shielding from UV radiation, and buffering temperature extremes, thereby minimizing damage from daily expansion and contraction. This in turn minimizes construction waste in our landfills.

Benefits of green roofs

Green roofs provide many ecological and aesthetic benefits, including:

  • Controlling stormwater runoff, erosion and pollution.
  • A green roof can hold 60 to 80 percent of a rain event; water released is slowed, delayed and filtered of particulate matter
  • Improving water quality
  • Adds oxygen to the air
  • Mitigates urban heat-island effects, cooling and cleaning the air
  • Conserving energy
  • Reducing sound reflection and transmission
  • Reducing heating and cooling energy costs
  • Creating wildlife habitats and biodiversity
  • Reduces the spread of wildfires
  • Increases the life of the roof, reducing landfill impact
  • Can provide space for a rooftop farm
  • Improving the aesthetic environment in both work and home settings
GreenScaped Buildings customers are pleased with their green roof home designs


Your building’s structural load capacity must be determined when considering a green roof for residential or commercial application. Green roofs weigh more than a standard roof. How much weight will your structure safely hold? Other considerations include access to water and the amount of sun and wind exposure the plants will receive.

Shallow profile green roofs can be installed using a tray system, but this may not always be the best choice. GreenScaped Buildings has several options for modular trays as well as loose laid or plant-in-place systems. Each green roof is evaluated individually so we can recommend the best solution taking into account cost and longevity.

At GreenScaped Buildings, we specialize primarily in extensive green roof systems. This is a roof constructed with about four inches of growing media.

Potential Savings

An extensive green roof system may reduce a building’s cooling needs by 25 percent and prevent heat loss by 26 percent. This can be a substantial energy savings as every one degree Fahrenheit can reduce electricity use for air conditioning by eight percent.

Green roofs also make significant contributions to a building’s LEED rating, with as many as 15 credits available depending upon design and level of integration with other building systems.

While green roofs are the single component of a building that improves with age, remember that maintenance is a critical part of its success.

Jim Mumford and GreenScaped Buildings were part of the award-winning Fallen Star project at UCSD



With a mix of clients ranging from the private home or business owner to architects, landscape architects and general contractors, GreenScaped Building’s consulting services can help determine the feasibility of your project and whether our products and services are right for you.

Our consulting team includes experienced horticulturists, roofers, engineers and architects so you receive the in-depth support you need for an informed decision.

GreenScaped Buildings works with all of the green roof systems components above the waterproofing membrane, including:

  • Protection mats
  • Drainage layer and drain boxes
  • Growing media which is custom blended
  • Plants that are specified, sourced and planted
  • Irrigation including design specifications and installation
  • Maintenance, which is often required for warranty


Each green roof is unique. Notwithstanding similar designs, many variables result in the reality that no one green roof specification or design is sufficient to guarantee a successful project. The most successful projects are implemented as a design/build contract with an experienced green roof team. This is the kind of team we have assembled for you at GreenScaped Buildings.

Design/build installations typically cost about 20% less than arrangements in which design and installation are packaged and bid separately.

Additionally, if the project area is sizable and the design is not complex, we simply include a modest design support fee in the installation price. No separate design consulting package is required.

Design/build projects also allow for easier integration of design changes without costly change orders. Our GreenScaped Buildings design/build package includes:

  • Design consulting
  • Specification of system components
  • Preparation of essential green roof drawings and documents
  • Installation and supervision of the project
  • Good Earth Plant Company’s product warranty

Drawings and documents address all issues involving plant selection, water management (including water conservation), maintenance requirements, and system weight in an effort to match the project’s climactic needs with the client’s desires. Our versatile designs can accommodate unique architectural features, including those involving steep pitches.

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Sharp Hospital Green Roof Progression


The three main areas of concern when installing a green roof are:

  • Structural integrity: the roof must be able to hold the additional weight
  • Waterproofing integrity: leaks are NEVER an option
  • Plant sustainability: green roofs are designed to last decades, and your plants should be selected with this in mind

GreenScaped Buildings assembles a team of experienced green roof experts for your project including a horticulturalist, an architect and a professional roofing company with hands-on expertise in building your green roof. But we never lose sight of the need for a roof that is first and foremost a structurally sound and secure roof for your building, whatever its size or location.

To ensure the long, healthy life of your project, our green roof horticulturalists will plant your rooftop garden with your microclimate, irrigation needs, and maintenance feasibility all in mind.

Peforming maintenance on green roof at private San Diego residence


After the initial installation of a green roof, ongoing maintenance is not only a critical element for success, but is also required for a warranty.

Similar to any garden, the first two years of a green roof are the most important. This initial period is when the plants are establishing themselves and filling in any gaps for complete coverage.

The potential for a weed infestation is greatest during the establishment period but can be kept in control easily with regular inspections. Our maintenance services include:

  • Overhead watering or monitoring and adjusting temporary irrigation during establishment period
  • Monitoring and adjusting your permanent irrigation system for peak performance and efficiency
  • Checking for damage caused by faulty components or careless contractors
  • Pruning and weeding
  • Fertilization as necessary
  • Drain inspections
  • Inspecting for wind erosion
  • Clean up of leaves and debris
  • Documentation of building plans, plant materials, and maintenance recommendations or instructions