Checking Out Awesome Row House Roof Decks Vol. 2

green roof_after 1

My husband and I purchased a Columbia Heights row house in 2009 that came with a detached garage but no green space, so we applied for a green roof rebate from the District Department of the Environment and worked with DC Greenworks to design and install a living roof deck on top of our garage. See the attached photos for a look at the garage before and after the roof deck installation.

The 600 square foot living roof deck includes a flagstone seating area (perfect for coffee and mojitos), 300 square feet of perennial beds, an herb garden, extensive sedum ground cover, and a LOT of happy wildlife. This once unused and ugly garage roof is now actively employed as our back yard, while at the same time reducing storm water runoff by nearly 400 gallons in a typical rain storm.

Apply for a green roof rebate from the District Department of the Environment here.

Learn more about DC Greenworks’ green roof design and installation services here.

green roof_after 2

16 Comment

  • Awesome. Any trouble with leaks? Is there a way to grow a vegetable garden on the green roof or would planters be necessary for plants with more significant roots? We have a two car garage with a flat roof that is all decking, but this would be so much better.

    • No leaks so far. We have about 3-4 inches of soil on half of the roof and about 6-7 on the rest, so there are limits to what you can grow. We’ve been able to grow fairly large plants with no problems. You can get deeper soil, though that adds to the cost because of the need for additional material and labor and typically additional need for structural reinforcement. You could also do above-ground planters to have more soil depth in certain spots.

  • Did you have to beef up the structure to carry the additional weight? Did the process require engineering and drawings? (I have a flat garage roof too…)

    • I’m the OP’s husband. Yes, we worked with a structural engineer, who determined that all that was needed was nailing an additional piece of lumber lengthwise (sistering) to the middle portion of each of the existing joists. That process probably cost us $1000-1500, about evenly divided between the structural engineer, the lumber, and the labor, though you could do the labor on your own if you wanted to. It would be quite a bit more expensive and challenging if the joists weren’t exposed from the underside – luckily ours were because this was our garage.

      The all-inclusive cost for the project, including a large galvanized metal spiral staircase (~$3500), design and material for ~600 sq ft of green roof, plants, all installation labor (we did some of the easy stuff ourselves), the railing, the pergola, structural reinforcement, paver rocks, and a new TPO roof on the garage (which we needed anyway because the old one was leaking) came out to about $25,000. The rebate from the city offset about 10% of that.

  • This is gorgeous– your own private oasis in the middle of the city. Wish I could do something like this!

  • i love it.

  • This is great. Do you mind if I ask (ballpark) how much it cost?

  • How much did it cost? I’ve gotten quotes for $30-40k, with most of the money going to reinforce the roof.

  • whoa – jelly!

  • That is really, really cool. Great job.

  • This is so awesome! I wonder how much a regular old roof deck costs in comparison to something like this. I really want to add a roof deck to my house since I have great a great view of the Capitol, but a green roof would be so much sweeter!

  • Congratulations – and thank you. Nice work!

  • Thank you for sharing your experience with the community. It has been a pleasure working with the homeowners over the years with the project!! I am the Program Director for DC Greenworks, and manage all of our rooftop garden projects.

    I would delighted to assist with any questions that you may have regarding green roofs and the process, costs, and financial incentives that are associated with them. We have designed and installed 68 green roofs in the region ranging from 70 square foot front porches to 15,000 square foot federal office buildings.

    Please feel free to contact me via email (andrew@dcgreenworks.org) or call (202.518.6195) with any questions that you may have.

    Together we can make our city greener and more sustainable!

  • Awesome. Can we get some more photos?

  • Please email me at andrew@dcgreenworks.org and I can provide additional green roof photos! Thanks.

Comments are closed.