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Green Roof Terrace

Dish Garden.
‘Dishgarden’ on Mt. Arabia

The Chattahoochee Nature Center’s roof top garden is a unique display of plants native to granite rock outcrops in the Piedmont region of Georgia. With over 90% of granite outcrops in the southeast located in the state of Georgia, this landscape is a signature part of the local landscape. Most people are familiar with Stone Mountain, but they are not aware of the unique assemblages of plants that have adapted to the extreme environments of granite outcrops. Many of the species found on these granite outcrops are found nowhere else in the world. Several endangered plants grow on these outcrops. The thin soils, limited water, and extreme temperatures of granite outcrops are remarkably similar to the conditions on green roofs. The plants found on granite outcrops are well suited to thrive on a green roof like the Chattahoochee Nature Center’s Discovery Center.

Diamorpha Smallii.
Small’s Stonecrop
Diamorpha smallii

A green roof featuring these granite outcrop plants celebrates the local landscape by showcasing plants unique to the Piedmont region. Some of the plants featured include: Little Blue Stem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Confederate Daisy (Helianthus porterii) Cottony Groundsel (Senecio tomentosa), Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia compressa), Appalachian Fameflower (Talinum teretifolium) and Small’s Stonecrop (Diamorpha smallii). These plants are massed together to form a colorful tapestry with interest in all seasons. Over 80% of the green roof features a granite outcrop plant palette, and the rest of the roof consists of sedums and other more conventional plants for green roofs. These plants are included in order to extend the seasonal interest of the green roof and to serve as a counterpoint to the granite rock outcrop plants. Visitors are able to compare and contrast the granite outcrop plants with the conventional green roof plants. The green roof has a valuable environmental educational role in two key areas: 1) exposing the public and visitors to a plant palette not currently used in the green roof industry and 2) educating visitors about the underappreciated landscape of granite rock outcrops.

Home Depot.The green roof is made possible by a generous grant from The Home Depot Foundation.




Hydrotech Garden Roof Systems. A green roof is composed of many different layers, each designed to make the roof system last for many years. In order, from top to bottom these are:

  • Native plants
  • Light weight soil mix
  • Soil retention mat
  • Water drainage and retention material
  • Root barrier mat
  • Foam insulation
  • Hot applied asphalt and sheets of asphalt
  • Concrete

Plant Identification Guide to CNC’s Green Rooftop Garden

Sandwort (February-May)
Minuartia uniflora
Large Flowered Tickseed
Coreopsis grandiflora
Bluestem Grass.
Little Bluestem Grass
Schizachyrium scoparium
Hairy Lip Fern.
Hairy Lip Fern
Cheilanthes lanosa
Pine Weed.
Pine Weed
Hypericum gentinioides
Tradescantia ohiensis
Stone Mountain Daisy.
Stone Mountain Daisy
Helianthus porteri
Prickly Pear Cactus
Prickly Pear Cactus
Opuntia humifusa
Georgia Rush.
Georgia Rush
Juncus georgianus