Green Roof – Municipal Complex

Green Roof

Moorestown Library/Town Hall Municipal Complex

2nd Street, Moorestown NJ

Installation Primer

In December of 2014, a green roof was installed on part of the rooftop of Moorestown’s new library/town hall Municipal Complex.  The green roof, financed through a grant obtained by Sustainable Moorestown from Rutgers University, was installed by a diverse group of volunteers including township employees, elected officials, township committee members, Burlington County Master Gardeners, Exit 4 Bootcampers, STEM members, Mt Laurel Green Teamers, a smattering of spouses, and interested residents from the community-at-large.  Two days, countless flights of steps, and hundreds of heavy, really heavy, plant trays later, a green roof was successfully installed.

The green roof installation was managed by Ragan Design Group (the building’s architect) and is currently being maintained by Sustainable Moorestown.  The garden is periodically open to the public.


Rooftop is Prepped A non-porous barrier is laid down to act as a protective barrier between the plant material and rooftop.  Hazard cones and tape were installed to protect workers.  Additionally, one volunteer had the sole role of “whistleblower” should anyone get too close to these protective barriers aka the rooftop’s edge…yep, they walked around with a whistle and kept us all safe.



Volunteers Start to Assemble  Volunteers are ready to get to work.  Each has already viewed an installation/safety video.  The new carpeting has been protected, instructions are being shared, and the volunteers decide to “bucket brigade” the plant trays to the rooftop.  Did I mention is was cold outside?



Plant Material Arrives Rooftop plant material arrives via a truck from a PA nursery.  Will pull up to back of the town hall complex where volunteers are waiting.



Plant Material Unloaded   Over two days, several hundred containers will be carried to the rooftop where they will be layed-out on top of a protective barrier to form the green roof.



From the delivery truck, located just outside that door in the photo, the plants are carried down a hallway…



…by very happy volunteers.  Each of these trays is roughly 40 pounds.  Didn’t anticipate them being that heavy (these plants were freshly watered) so maybe it’s not the look of “happy”.   See those white things in the plant trays?  Once all the trays are in place, that paper will be removed, revealing soil.  In this way, the plant material will grow together



Plant trays are handed off to the “stair climbers” who are elated to be getting a leg workout while doing something good for their community at the same time.



Onward and upward.  Remember, these are 40 pound trays and by now, we’re just smiling for the camera.



More hallways, much comaraderie, sneak peaks at rooftop storage, and we’re almost at our destination….



…where lots of people are pointing.  Just kidding.  This is where the brains of the operation are hard at work.  We all can’t be supervisors, sweepers, or whistle blowing safety wardens.  Just a great group of volunteers getting the job done!



Creating the Rooftop Garden  Once on the rooftop, volunteers hand-off the plant trays to those who will positioned them appropriately on top of the protective covering.  Laid out next to one another, the trays will eventually form a large square garden.  Note the volunteer sweeping…very important step in the process.  Using a natural bristle broom (this one from the broom maker at the Burlington County Farmers Market), the protective covering is constantly swept of debris before a plant tray is put into place.  This is intended to prevent tears in the covering which may endanger the rooftop.



Rooftop Garden Expands  More sweeping and tray delivery and placement.  The volunteer in the foreground is beginning to remove the previously mentioned white tray papers.  The plants in the trays will now be able to grow into one another and form a dense carpet of plant material.  What kind of plants are they?  A variety of sedums.  As you can see, they are very durable and able to endure foot traffic without adverse effect.



Final Prep and Clean-Up  All the trays have been installed and the last papers are removed from the trays.  Metal edging material is now installed around the perimeter of the garden to keep it contained.



We’re Done!  The garden is complete!  Hundreds of trays, 2 days, and dozens of volunteers.  Just some of us are pictured below but we couldn’t have done it without the involvement of the numerous volunteers not pictured who contributed over the course of the installation.  Thanks, everyone, for a job well done!