Green roofs play a significant role in sustainable drainage systems. They form absorbent surfaces for rainwater, which they retain with the aid of profile and plants. Such roofs therefore take an active part in improving the climatic conditions of a city and, more broadly, the water balance of urbanized areas. One of the factors influencing the hydrological efficiency of green roofs is the drainage layer. In the article, column studies were carried out under field conditions involving the comparison of the retention abilities of two aggregates serving as the drainage layer of green roofs, i.e. Leca® and quartzite grit. The average retention of the substrate was 48%; for a 5 cm drainage layer of Leca® retention was 57%, for a 10 cm layer of Leca average retention was 61%. For a 5 cm layer of quartzite grit average retention was 50%, for 10 cm layer of quartzite grit 53%. The highest retention was obtained for the column with the substrate and 10-centimeter layer of Leca®. At the same time, it was shown that Leca® is a better retention material than quartzite grit. The initial state of substrate moisture content from a green roof appears to be a significant factor in reducing rainfall runoff from a green roof; the obtained values of initial moisture content made for a higher correlation than the antecedent dry weather period.