Sedum Roofing for Shipping Containers

Sedum roofing on shipping containers provides a number of advantages including disguising the container and attracting more insects and birds. In particular, bees and butterflies are attracted to the sedum and in turn their presence attracts more birds to the area.

Rather than having an industrial looking steel roof, with sedum, you can create a lush green covering that looks nice, disguises your container and is good for the local wildlife.

Green roofs can reduce the negative impact of development while providing numerous environmental, economic, and social benefits.  They can improve stormwater management by reducing runoff and improving water quality, conserve energy, mitigate the urban heat island, increase longevity of roofing membranes, reduce noise and air pollution, sequester carbon, increase urban biodiversity by providing habitat for wildlife, provide space for urban agriculture, provide a more aesthetically pleasing and healthy environment to work and live, and improve return on investment compared to traditional roofs.

Shipping containers are a popular item that are used in many schools for storage but, with the addition of sedum roofing, the container now becomes a focal point for education about local insects and birds who have been attracted to sedum.

In addition to sedum roofing, you could add nesting tubes for insects, including solitary bees. Solitary bees are great pollinators and can help increase the yield from your garden. And with the reduction in the bee and butterfly population, you could do your bit to increase numbers in your area.

Honey bees, in particular, pollinate a wide range of plants that are vital for feeding the population.

Intensive farming techniques coupled with a lack of suitable plants and flowers in urban gardens have contributed to the decline in insect numbers and this is where sedum can help reverse this decline. And, if you plant additional bee friendly shrubs and plants, you’ll create a garden environment that great for bees and other insects.

Sedum roofing is a relatively low-maintenance addition to any garden in any environment. But, in the urban environment, which can be devoid of many succulent and colourful plants, this addition will become a magnet to both butterflies and bees who are looking for nectar.

Trees and shrubs for bees

Pussy willow – ideal source of food for queen bumble bees as they establish no colonies in the spring months.

Lavender – attracts bumblebees, leafcutter bees, flower bees and mason bees a good source of food for the bees in summer.

Abelia – has delicate scented white flowers that attracts bumblebees and honeybees. An ideal source of food in the autumn.

Mahonia – is a nektar-rich shrub with bright yellow flowers that helps support overwintering bumblebees and honeybees.

Flowers for bees

Borage

Lungwort

Mondara

Sedum

Winter aconite

Crocus

Phacelia

Snowdrops

What is Sedum?

Sedum is a genus of the Crassulaceae family of succulent plants with Sedum often being referred to as a leaf succulent because it stores water in its leaves.

So, what is it that makes Sedum so suitable for a green roofing system on shipping containers?

  1. Sedum has very shallow roots meaning the substrate layer the plants live in can be relatively shallow.
  2. It is drought-resistant and requires relatively few nutrients compared to other types of plants.
  3. It is resilient to diseases and insects.
  4. Sedum can survive in extremely dry conditions and it recovers remarkably quickly when water becomes available.
  5. They need very little maintenance. Just an initial water and feed annual feed, followed by an annual feed and the removal of persistent weeds.
  6. In very dry conditions (no rain for 4 – 6 weeks) it’s a good idea to water the Sedum.

Sedum Roofing Systems

You can easily install green Sedum roofing systems on top of shipping containers but, we wouldn’t recommend you lay Sedum directly on to the container roof as moisture could be retained which will accelerate corrosion.

Instead, we’ve come up with a couple of options for you. A quick and simple way to add Sedum roofing to you shipping container is to get some heavy-duty pond liner and lay this on to the container roof and attach using a strong mastic sealant. On top of this you can then add some marine ply and a further layer of the pond-liner leaving sufficient excess to go up the outer frame and then put a frame of about 50 – 60mm all around the bases exterior.

Drainage is important so, drill holes in the frame to drain off excess water. To prevent the holes from becoming blocked, it’s a good idea to have a border of pebbles between the edge of the Sedum and the outside frame.

You then follow the instructions that came with Sedum kit you bought.

The second option is probably the best solution we’ve ever seen on the market and it’s produced and grown right here in England.

This clever design includes an interlocking tray that allows you to start with a modest sedum roof and then scale up as and when you require and is also quick and easy to install, and easy to move if needed and take down Pods for learning sessions built into the lessons.

The tray is made from 100% recycled plastic that’s UV resistant and is designed to aid water drainage with quick and easy installation.

Each tray measures 490 x 460 x 75mm

And best of all, it comes complete ready to pop on to the roof of your shed or shipping container. All you need to do is fit a waterproof membrane to the container.

Each tray consists of:

Sedum (6 – 9 different species)

Coarse substrate and water retaining clay balls (growing medium)

Filter fleece (for water distribution)

Expanding clay (for water retention)

Whilst we are suggesting this as a great addition to shipping containers, this sedum system can be used for creating green roofing systems on sheds, homes, offices, community centres etc.

Our roofing S-pods costs £65.00 per square metre (5 of the 490 x 460 x 75mm pods) plus delivery and VAT.

To cover the roof of an ISO 20ft shipping container will require about 15 of the above units. This option will cost £975.00 + VAT and delivery.

Bee nesting tubes are readily available on the Internet.

Bee nesting tubes are specifically designed for solitary species such as the Red Mason or leafcutter bees and can be used in bundles or on their own. Red Mason Bees are excellent orchard and garden pollinators and are one of the specifies that are under threat and need our help.

If you get nesting tubes or a solitary bee house, place them in a quite area facing south in full sun with the tubes or house pointing slightly downward. The tubes could be active from late March through to late August and used tubes should be placed in a frost-free shed or garage through the winter months.

A simple bee hotel is quite easy to make and you can learn how to do that and learn more about solitary bees at the Foxleas website.

All pictures courtesy of, and copyright Sedum Green Roof.

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