ASLA’s Award-Winning Green Roof


It was recently announced that Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has selected the green roof at the headquarters of the American Society of Landscape Architects in downtown DC to win an Award of Excellence, so congratulations are in order to everyone involved.  That includes not just ASLA but the design team and the plant supplier, Ed Snodgrass, who didn't just deliver the plants and drive back to rural Maryland and forget them.  He visits often, fussing over the plants like we all would if they were in our front yard.

Seems he's typical of everyone who visits the green roof – you just want to hang out here, maybe take a yoga class here, like ASLA's staff does in good weather.  Or socialize with cocktails on a Friday night.  I got to visit during ASLA's annual meeting and snapped some photos but before gtting to them, DO check out the extremely cool website about the roof, a screen shot of which you see below.  (Love the 360-degree tour!) And you'll see gobs of data on that link because this is a serious research project involving not just ASLA but the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the city's water department.  

Just one question:  Can the green roof world please come up with better terms to distinguish the two types than intensive and extensive, which I can never, ever keep straight? This one, for instance, won in the "intensive"category, referring to green roofs with deep soil beds and generally taller plants, as opposed to shorter, shallower "extensive" green roofs.  But I wish they just said "shallow" or "deep" types – both of which this particular roof seems to have.

Okay, now for my shots from mid-September.

Above, a close-up of those prickly pears, and of the removable grate that makes it possible to walk on such a large area that's still vegetated.  Cool.

And here's a close-up of some gorgeous sedums.  Turns out these low-growers are my number one pick for replacing lawn in sunny locations.  I have my own little research project going about that, with the help of some green-roof experts (especially Ed Snodgrass).

For lots more photos of this fabulous aerial garden, click here.


  1. I’m curious about the structural load such roofs can bear, in particular when it snows. Last Winter the DC area got a couple of feet of snow, which must have put a load on that roof. I’m sure they figured on an amount the structure could bear, but that would be my concern about these roofs.

  2. It would have been a surprise if they didn’t win an award, really. It’s not like it isn’t the ASLA HQ.

    Congrats anyway.

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