Gallery: Beautiful Norwegian Foliage-Covered Green Roofs



Green roofs have become a long-standing tradition in Norway, and it’s not common to see them dotting the country’s landscape—or in this case, essentially melding with the landscape. During the Viking and Middle Ages most houses had sod roofs, and they were almost universal until the beginning of the 18th century. Tile roofs, which appeared much earlier in towns and manor homes, gradually superseded sod roofs during the 19th century, except in remote inland areas.

While the tradition declined and almost became extinct with the introduction of corrugated iron and other industrial materials, steadfast national romantics revived the older tradition. The renaissance of green roofs was also boosted by a growing interest in open-air museums, mountain retreats, vacation homes, and the preservation movement. In turn, many cultural and commercial institutions have integrated these roofs into the core of their design as an alternative to modern materials.

Every year, since 2000, the board of the Scandinavian Green Roof Association has granted an award to the best green roof project in the region.

Via Gizfactory via Amusing Planet


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  1. annouschka November 28, 2014 at 6:14 am


  2. c.kopiwoda May 26, 2012 at 6:04 am

    should I construct a ramp to get my mower up there every week? Or jus’ adopt a good goat that can climb—and when he’s done I’ll deal with the sh-t rolling off the roof on top of my enterprising head in the morning while I take my first sip of coffee.!? Hmmmmm
    I beleive this is a ‘proximity’ OR nn contingency matter of how much sh– we can put up with. whoops! ended a sentence with a preposition AGAIN!

  3. sankar August 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Nice idea to reduce heat inside our home.

  4. jimmyjohn August 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Those trees look like they’ve grown through the roof, not on it.

  5. ingy March 25, 2011 at 4:22 am

    Norway has a specific sod roof standard that defines how to put a sod roof with respect to security, weight load, climatic condition (amount of snow for instance), termites etc … The sod roof isolates well and looks indeed pretty. It is definitely the green alternative. And to the picture of the run-down home: The roof it self is not a problem, but lack of maintenance is …

  6. inkirbrown March 24, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I am by no means an expert on sod roofs, but I am Norwegian and I assisted my dad in putting a sod roof on our old family homestead last summer, so I know a lot more about the process than I did a year ago!

    I can confirm that yes, you do have to plan for the roof to weigh more than a regular roof, so the supports will have to be extra strong. At least for modern roofs, you put several layers of waterproof and insectproof material in place, so termites etc should not be a problem.

    And yes, you should make sure that plants don’t get too big, those trees in the picture on top do not look right! In some cases in the old days, I know they kept goats grazing on top of the houses, but those must have been some pretty low houses…

    I took a series of pictures to show the process last summer, feel free to have a look:

  7. karenwil March 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    “Norwegians have been planting greenery atop their houses for hundreds of years” – who knew not me!
    Lazyreader has a good point about pests, termites. The home shown in picture featured in the article doesn’t look safe to live in!
    trope have green solutions.

  8. tmeadows March 22, 2011 at 10:37 am

    While in the Lofoten Islands we saw some houses with sod only on 1/2 of the roof. Is there a reason for that?

  9. lazyreader March 22, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Good point? What about pests, insects, termites!. The house in the first picture looks like it’s gonna sag and fall in on itself. Do green roofs have insurance. We choose this because it looks good. But these are heavy capital investments and if it’s done wrong, you’ll be looking at a new roof you’re gonna have to pay for.

  10. lordelisah March 22, 2011 at 7:23 am

    May I be assured that insects will never disturb me from atop?

  11. lazyreader March 21, 2011 at 7:51 am

    I know sod roof homes are typical to some Scandinavian homes. Whether old or modern? How well does the roof hold up to the weight. What about the weight of precipitation, snows, heavy rain. Some types of green roofs do have more demanding structural standards especially in seismic regions of the world. Some existing buildings cannot be retrofitted with certain kinds of green roof because of the weight load of the substrate and vegetation exceeds permitted static loading. And lets not forget those poorly planned ones.

  12. evaone March 21, 2011 at 4:27 am

    it was nice seeing a house with plants on the top,for me it’s not common to see a house like that.very earth friendly

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