Sharrow School

Sharrow School is a primary education school located in the Sharrow area of Sheffield. The green roof was factored into the construction of the new school in 2006 as a way of providing space for nature, managing storm water, and offering a learning resource for the children of the school

Sharrow School Green Roof in Summer

Sharrow School Green Roof in Summer


The green roof was designed with different vegetation types to provide a range of habitats for invertebrate and bird species. This was achieved in a number of ways, including the use of a variety of substrates to create varied soil conditions that promote the establishment of different plant communities. Plants were largely allowed to colonise naturally, and some seed mixes were specifically introduced to benefit pollinators in particular.

The green roof was recognised for its contribution to local biodiversity and designated a Local Nature Reserve in 2009, the first of its kind! A management plan was produced to ensure the distinct character of each habitat is maintained through regular maintenance. The habitats on the green roof include:

  • Limestone grassland
  • Urban Brownfield
  • Spontaneous vegetation
  • “Pictorial Meadows’’
  • Wetland/Pond
  • Pioneer woodland
Flowers atop a green roof

Flowers atop a green roof


Green Estate has been undertaking regular ongoing maintenance at Sharrow School for the last six years. Maintenance tasks are carried out with the aim of optimising the health of the vegetation and maintain the individual habitats. The following actions are representative of the tasks undertaken on a typical maintenance visit to Sharrow School’s green roof.

  • Cutting back different vegetation types at specific times to facilitate optimal flowering periods and habitat longevity;
  • Removal of aggressive species from all habitats;
  • Maintain gravel margins where invasion of the surrounding vegetation has become excessive;
  • Monitor and manage woody vegetation in designated areas through coppicing after reaching the specified 2m height limit. Remove woody vegetation in areas where it has not been specified in the green roof’s initial design.
Diverse Planting

Diverse Planting

Green Estate’s skilled workforce undertakes tasks including pruning, strimming and seed sowing in order for the green roof to achieve the objectives specified by the management plan. Our green roof teams are knowledgeable of the specific maintenance requirements of various plant species and this helps to maintain the vigour of the planting scheme. Subsequent to each maintenance visit, a photographic report is written and issued to the school, detailing the roof’s condition at the time, tasks undertaken, changes in vegetation cover, and notable species for both flora and fauna. The photographic reports are a valuable tool in monitoring changes over time, and ensure that the scheme does not deviate from the original aims of the green roof.

Elspeth Yates