Types of BIV
Projects may employ one system or combine multiple ones to create
a diversified rooftop environment.
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Habitat Roofs 1



As a means of helping with the wildlife 'homeless' crisis, the vegetative roofing system can be developed to foster regional flora and fauna.


  • Bio-diverse plantings
  • Climate appropriate native plants
  • Ecologically functional non-native plants
  • Low water demand species
  • Pollinator pools
  • Modulating rooftop soil depths
  • Nesting aids for bees & birds
  • Lightweight rocks for invertebrate habitat

Groundcover - Perennial garden


Coverage is the policy with this landscape plan and adaptable groundcover plants take on the challenging living conditions.

Drought tolerant succulents and selected perennials are little but mighty workhorses; long-lived, hardy and known for their resilience.


  • Hardy plantings
  • Succulents and/or perennials mix
  • Thin to medium surface coverage
  • Attractive floral combinations
  • Enhanced water retention components
  • Year round visual interest
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Living Roof mix of ground cover plants
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Sloped living roof

Green Slopes


Sloped roofs allow for the vegetation to become an architectural element.

A living narrative to the traditional gable roof.


  • Attractive landscape design potential
  • Visibility of roofscape from ground level
  • Soil stabilization system
  • High water-retention components
  • Smart irrigation system

Solar Cohabitants


When it comes to sunlight both human and biotic systems benefit from cohabitation.

Plants keep the PV panel cooler and more energy efficient and in return the PV panels provide shade keeping the plants cooler and less thirsty.


  • Bio-diverse plantings
  • Full sun and partial shade adapted species
  • Plants and soil cool underside of PV solar

  • Increase of electrical energy production

  • Reduces irrigation water demand

  • Maximizes utilization of roof area
  • Reduces building heating/cooling loads 
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Living roof integrated with PV solar system
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Farm roof with vegetable beds

Farm Roofs


Food production could happen right where we live.

Roofs provide a viable solution where sun is abundant and free of herbivores, well, except humans.


  • Locally grown fresh food
  • Food crop protection
  • Decrease in transport distances Urban agriculture
  • Food quality control
  • Built raised bed designs
  • Integral planted-in-rows designs
  • Social events and educational potential

Mixed-Use Roofs


Roof gardens have a mutualistic accord. Humans and Nature co-mingle.

Endless possibilities exist on how humans and these landscapes in the sky can dovetail together.


  • Occupiable zones for human accessibility
  • Requires code-height railings or parapets
  • Landscape design can have diverse features
  • Planting types can be varied and mixed- depending on soil depth
  • Ground-cover - habitat - perennials - lawns - shrubs - trees 
  • Hardscape/softscape combinations
  • Decks - patios - pathways - walls - rockscapes 
  • Amenities can be integrated
  • Seating - tables - lighting - arbors - trellises - water elements 
  • Rooftop lounges and garden kitchens to sky parks
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Living roof with rooftop patio

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Living roofs stormwater management

Blue-Green Roofs


Stormwater can be managed to different extents on living roofs. Net-zero runoff is always our goal.  

Whether stormwater is mostly retained on the rooftop or via a mix of roof and on-site ground solutions.


  • Stormwater management
  • Moisture retention systems
  • Runoff limiters for time-released detention
  • Roof to ground integrated designs
  • Net-zero site runoff designs
  • Rain garden basins, bio-swales, etc.
  • Meet regulatory stormwater requirements

Vertical Ascent


Walls contain and define our built world. Greening up a building’s façade or enhancing an indoor environment with a vertical garden hosts a long list of benefits.

Planted out walls can become a canvas full of color, texture, flowers and life.


  • Improves building performance
  • Provides habitat for wildlife
  • Air purifications – cleans the air Space efficient
  • Dampens sound waves
  • Softens the built environment hardscapes
  • Horticultural therapy for humans
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Gateway Living Wall

Building Systems

         Constructing roofs for LIFE requires nothing less than utilizing
high quality and performance based materials.

Built Ecologies

Constructing living environments requires the successful integration of three fields of science: Ecology, Building Technology and Architecture.

We understand the importance of constructing a BIV system that protects the building, optimizes the buildings envelope performance and provides the right conditions for a living ecology to flourish.


  • High performance based
  • Long-term durability
  • Site & building type specific
  • Integral design – contiguous
  • Optimized soil/plant health
  • High quality components
  • Smart irrigation technology management
  • Eco-water sources adaptable (options)
  • Systems for flat, low slope & high slope roofs

Growing Systems

         SYMBIOS soil blends are designed and optimized specifically
for rooftop environments.


Rooftop Soil Mixes


Standard lightweight soil rooftop mix. A high performing mix developed after years of research. Works well with mix plant palettes.


Utlra-lightweight soil rooftop mix. Designed to be 20% lighter in weight than the standard mix.


Carbon garden rooftop soil mix. Biochar is an additive within this mix. Improve carbon sequestration and has other additional benefits, soil structure, moisture retention, etc.


Roof Farm rooftop soil mix. Custom blended for the needs of vegetables and fruit bearing plants. Nutrient rich for nutrient rich and tasty food.

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Soil shoot onto rooftop
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Rooftop soil dispensed

Soil teammates


Plant communities thrive best they are supported when growing in rich biotic soils.

SYM RTS (rooftop soil mixes) are developed to be lightweight growing mediums that incorporate 'living' inoculates of various beneficial microbes and probiotic organic amendments.


  • Healthier plant root systems
  • Higher levels of soil moisture retention
  • Increase absorption of soil nutrients
  • Mycorrhizal fungi benefits
  • Enhanced disease resilience
  • Symbiotic plant-soil biome

Eco-Water Systems

 Integrating eco-water systems in BIV projects creates a sustainable way
to achieve a net-positive outcome for the project and the Planet.  
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Alternative water sources for reuse

Water for life


Irrigation is a requirement for sustaining and optimizing a flourishing vegetative roofscape. In regions with seasonal drought cycles, like the Pacific West Coast irrigation is a critical component. 

Many non-potable water sources are viable for irrigation water. Wise-use of irrigation water keeps the biotic system active and optimizes the system benefits throughout the dry season.


  • Onsite water reuse systems
  • Integrated water management
  • Water conservation
  • Irrigation & other non-potable uses
  • Water security
  • Stormwater management
  • Safe and feasible
  • Design to meet codes & regulations



Harvesting the rain is a great source of non- potable water for BIV landscapes. Building's roofs (whether grey or green) are ready and waiting to collect this resource failing from the sky.

Plants prefer rainwater as it is an ideal pH for dissolving soil based nutrients.

  • Storage tanks
  • Cisterns
  • Vault systems
  • Pool to cistern conversions


  • Irrigation
  • Fire protection
  • Outdoor washing & dust control
  • Toilet flushing
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Rainwater storage tank
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Greywater system



Residential and commercial buildings use potable water and discharge greywater on a regular basis.

'Grey-to-Green' onsite reuse systems captures and treats the water in close proximity to where it was generated.

  • Simple laundry to landscape
  • Basic treatment systems (Filters)
  • Biological treatment systems (BMR)
  • Treatment + disinfection systems (UV & Ozone)
  • Smaller storage tanks compare to rainwater systems


  • Irrigation
  • Fire protection
  • Outdoor washing & dust control
  • Toilet flushing

Hybrid Systems


Many sources of non-potable water can exist at a building site. Matching the onsite water demand to the reuse water supply may require combining different systems.

The project's irrigation demand can utilize many non-potable water sources. 

  • Rainwater
  • Greywater
  • Foundation water
  • AC condensate water
  • Municipal reclaimed/recycled water


  • Irrigation
  • Outdoor washing & dust control
  • Toilet flushing
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Rainwater tank with living roof
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External fire suppression system

Wildland Fire Protection


When your home and landscape are one of the same how do you develop protection against destructive wildland fires?

A properly design external fire sprinkler system can be the superhero that saves the day.

  • Fully automatic operation
  • Infrared sensors detect flame &/or heat
  • Rooftop spray system - 60 ft diameter/pop-up sprayers
  • High pressure and flow rate
  • Independent energy - Solar PV / battery 
  • Non-toxic bio-based fire retardant injection
  • Integrated - concealed within living roof system