Renowned for its natural beauty, Lake Toxaway is the largest private lake in North Carolina. Situated at an elevation of 3,000 feet in the Appalachian Mountains in the western part of the state, Lake Toxaway is adjacent to more than 10,000 acres of wilderness areas.

Studio Name: Living Roofs, Inc.
Design Team: Living Roofs, Inc. and Platt Architecture
Year: 2012
Location: Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, USA
Architect: Platt Architecture
Builder: Holbrook and Nichols
Green Roof System: Xero Flor America
Green Roof Design and Installation: Living Roofs, Inc.
Photography Credits: Living Roofs, Inc., Platt Architecture
Other Credits: Clayton Rugh, Ph.D, Manager and Scientific Director at Xero Flor America

A Green Roof with a Lake View By Living Roofs, Inc - Sheet2
©Living Roofs, Inc., Platt Architecture

The architect of this seasonal residence on the lake set out to design a contemporary home that would be both elegant and casual, and blend into the site. Use of natural materials, stacked stone and wood, complement the setting. But the site itself presented challenges for fitting the home into the natural surroundings.

The lot on which the home is situated is narrow and steep, dropping down sharply from the road to the lake. The floor of the house is 20 feet below the road, making the top of the roof level with the roadway. With the home’s dimensions, a long expanse of roof is visible from the road and driveway entrance. The architect had an inspired solution: a view of a green roof, rather than a plain rooftop, from the road would visually integrate the roof and home into the setting.

A Green Roof with a Lake View By Living Roofs, Inc - Sheet3
©Living Roofs, Inc., Platt Architecture

The 3,959-square-foot green roof harmonizes with the natural materials used in the home’s construction and blends into the beauty of the landscape. By extending the natural landscape at eye level from the road out toward the lake, the green roof serves the desired unification of the house with its setting. The green roof is a natural feature that softens the appearance of the roof and integrates the roof into the landscape. Its high visibility from the road has made the green roof a local landmark.

The roof provides benefits other than just aesthetic, of course. This area receives more than 90 inches of rainfall annually. Given the area’s typical pattern and the retention capacity of the installed green roof assembly, Clayton Rugh, Ph.D of Xero Flor America, estimated that the green roof annually prevents about 99,850 gallons of stormwater from running off into Lake Toxaway, filtering rainwater and providing a buffer against acid rain.

©Living Roofs, Inc., Platt Architecture

The roof of this residential project has a 3:12 slope, requiring special measures to eliminate the potential for sliding, water loss, and soil erosion. A grid system was bolted to fastened-aluminum edging and filled with soil. The extensive, pre-vegetated roof was selected to both instantly green a highly visible roof and reduce overall weight.


Studio profile: Founded in 2006, Living Roofs Inc. is an established expert and leader in the field of Green Roofs and Living Walls. Led by the husband-and-wife duo Emilio Ancaya and landscape architect Kathryn Blatt Ancaya, LRI designs and builds living roofs across the Southeastern United States. Through inspired experimentation, they have identified plants well-suited for living roofs in the varied environmental conditions of this region.

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