[Skip to Content]

Integrative Design Process

Share non government site opens in new window

A planted roof is a system just like mechanical or plumbing, and should be thought about in the larger context of the holistic building.  As it is rare for an owner to have excess funds dedicated to beautifying a roof, the design team must think about all the benefits and how they relate to the overall systems of the building.  A successful and cost effective planted roof is best achieved through an integrative design process.

This design process brings key players to the table to think about and integrate the planted roof system with the architecture and other systems of the buildings.


The Owner determines the project scope, provides the budget,  and takes over the project and on-going maintenance at completion. The Owner should be informed of all roofing decision rationale and brought up to speed on the system benefits and considerations.


The Architect leads the planted roof design team. Since the roofing system is integrated into the building as a whole, the Architect should design the roofing system with overall building goals and properties in mind. Working with the Landscape Architect and Structural Engineer, the Architect can provide drawings and building specifications early in the design process to help predict the future impacts.

Landscape Architect

The Landscape Architect is responsible for site analysis and can provide the design, layout, plant, and growing medium selection for the planted roof. The Landscape Architect should also share proper maintenance plan activities with the team about these selections.

Structural Engineer

The Structural Engineer, in collaboration with the Landscape Architect, determines structural loads associated with planted roof renovation and ensures that the structure is safe for installation. The Structural Engineer’s top priority is the structural stability of the overall building, not only through to planted roof project completion but also throughout the indefinite future. The Structural Engineer must consider all future roof applications, including plant growth, in his/her analysis.

Civil Engineer

The Civil Engineer determines the drainage capacity of the roof and its impact on stormwater. The Civil Engineer should work with the Architect to determine planted roof design alternatives that minimize stormwater runoff and improve community drainage systems as a result. 

Mechanical Engineer

The Mechanical Engineer conducts energy modeling and optimizes the HVAC system. The Mechanical Engineer’s perspective is important at the planted roof integrative design table in order to optimize overall building energy performance. 

Planted Roof Professional

Planted Roof Professionals can offer unique insights into the the best practices for optimizing planted roof benefits according to project goals. The Planted Roof Professional coordinates all aspects of the planted roof design, installation and operation and provides quality control.

Roofing or Waterproofing Consultant

The Roofing or Waterproofing Consultant determines the best waterproofing system and strategy for the design of the planted roof. These Consultants provide unique insights that drive overall planted roof design and installation, and should be brought into the conversation early as a result. Ensuring the integrity of the roofing system is imperative.

Growing Medium Consultant

The Growing Medium Consultant reviews the design, site, and plant selection of the project team to provide recommendations for a growing medium. The Growing Medium Consultant should regularly exchange ideas with the Structural Engineer, Mechanical Engineer and Architect as the growing medium effects each of their roles.

Accessibility Consultant

The Accessibility Consultant is an expert at understanding how people move and interact with spaces. The Accessibility Consultant makes recommendations on roof access for all persons, and should work with the Architect as a result.

Owner Architect Landscape Architect Structural Engineer Civil Engineer Mechanical Engineer Planted Roof Professional Roofing or Waterproofing Consultant Growing Medium Consultant Accessibility Consultant


Is your role in the integrative process not shown?

Let us know what you do to promote whole building sustainability.