Planning & Development
Parks &
Community Gardens

Parks & Community Gardens

  • Is your neighborhood, business, or organization looking to take on a beautification or landscaping project?
  • Do you have an empty lot that needs attention?
  • Want to build community and go green simultaneously?

You've come to the right place!

Michael McCoy is Center For Neighborhoods' planner and landscape architect extraordinaire!

We have the expertise to help you accomplish the planning and design of all of your landscape, park, and community garden projects.

E-mail Michael:

Phone Michael:

Check out Michael's work on the Algonquin Park Master Plan.

Information & Resources about Community Gardens

Interested in starting a community garden but don't know how to proceed?

Olivia Bourke (Neighborhood Institute Alumni, Spring 2007) has been working with the German-Paristown Neighborhood Association to establish a handicapped accessible raised bed community garden on the corner of East Kentucky and Schiller streets in the vacant lot next to the neighborhood center.

Over the course of a year, Olivia compiled a step-by-step guide to establishing a community garden in your neighborhood. Below, you will find a wealth of information, resources, and articles gathered by Olivia to aid you in the pursuit of greening up your neighborhood and building authentic community.

If you have questions or need advice, feel free to email Olivia for help!

Section 1
I Want a Garden.... What Do I Do?

Article Contents

  1. Partners, Partners, Partners
  2. Planning & Research
  3. Where should your garden grow?
  4. Preparation & Planting on the site
  5. Organization
  6. Time to plant and Enjoy!


Section 2
Community Garden Organizational & Start-Up References

Section Contents

  1. “Starting a Community Garden” by The American Community Gardening Association
    The American Community Gardening Association website is a wealth of information for the beginning community garden or the garden looking to expand! Gardeners can link to other gardens and gardeners in their city, sign up for e newsletters and educate themselves on how to start their very own community garden!
  2. “Urban Community Gardens” by Susan Wells Parham
    Susan Wells Parham created a wonderful online resource for individuals and groups wanting to start their own urban community garden. This site has state and federal funding sources, newsletters and community gardening publications for print as well as references and citations for those interested in researching community gardens. There are also multimedia archives of the Metro Farming Film Project and Community Gardening in New York .
  3. “City Farmer News” by Canada 's Office of Urban Agriculture
    The Canadian Office of Urban Agriculture has a wealth of information about urban gardens all over the world! This site includes great, simple, how to's and fun activities and learning comics for kids (composting, bug gardens and worms). Children and adults will love the comic life link with colorful and simple how to's This site highlights several urban gardening programs in Canada as well as providing links to Urban Agriculture conferences and notes. For those gardeners just getting started there are forums and blogs for assistance and support. This site is a one stop shop for anyone interested in Urban gardening! Also be sure to check out Kid and Adult Friendly How To's and learn Where to Buy Worms.
  4. “Metro Vancouver Recycling and Garbage, Composting and Yard Trimmings” by Metro Vancouver Services
    Metro Vancouver is affiliated with City Farmer News and has a complete knowledge base on green friendly projects for your home such as back yard composting, worm composting, compost bin construction, natural yard care and water conservation.
  5. “Worm Woman” by Mary Appelhof
    Mary Appelhof's website is more of a purchase hub. From this site you can order composting how to's, worms, composting bins, tea composting kits and read articles on worm and tea composting.
  6. “Savvy Gardener” by Kansas City Area Gardeners
    Savvy provides extensive how to's on planting, sowing seeds, home garden care, soil testing concerns, ph levels of your soils, harvesting and planting calendars as well as information on planting and maintaining flowers and vegetables. Savvy Gardener has a weekly email that you can sign up for that has garden tips, tricks and resources for the novice to expert gardener.
  7. “Community Gardens” by Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington
    The MRSC site provides an overview to community gardening and connections between community gardens and food security in communities. The MRSC site also provides links to public community gardens across the US that can be used as models for starting your own community garden and connections to resources such as start up guides, organizational models, funding and project implementation.
  8. “P-Patch Community Gardens” by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
    The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods site is the perfect jumping off point for community gardeners, researchers and neighborhood leaders. The site provides links to regional and national programs and resources related to gardening information, composting and soil, fruit trees, seed suppliers, garden suppliers, fruit companies and suppliers, food related resources and research, community building projects, community level environmental initiatives, youth gardening programs and sustainable building resources. This site also links you to over 35 national community garden programs and their websites.

Section 3
Community Gardening - Evidence & Best Practices

Section Contents

  1. Construction Plan for Home Built Rodent Resistant Single Bin Compost Box (PDF)
    Author: Greater Vancouver Regional District (2002, January)
    Detailed construction plans, diagrams and materials listing for a single bin compost box.
    Note: The single bin will produce 2-5 lbs of compost per harvest.
  2. Construction Plan for a Home-Built Rodent Resistant Three Bin Compost System (PDF)
    Author: Greater Vancouver Regional District
    Detailed construction plans, diagrams and material listing for a three bin compost box.
    Note: The three bin will produce 2-5 lbs of compost per bin, totaling 6-15 lbs per harvest.
  3. Building Wheelchair Accessible Raised Garden Beds (PDF)
    Author: Dowling Community Garden.
    Detailed construction plans, diagrams and photographs for building handicapped accessible raised beds for gardening. This article also includes material recommendations, planting and filling recommendations, special adaptations for seniors and larger adults and children confined to wheelchairs and materials listing.
  4. Accessible Raised Beds (PDF)
    Author: Community Food and Garden Network
    Detailed construction plans, supplies and tool listing, alternative options for raised beds, adapted gardens for handicapped and tour listing of community gardens with handicapped accessible option in the Madison, WI area. Article includes links to plans and building materials for adapted gardening.
  5. Accessible Gardening for Therapeutic Horticulture (PDF)
    Author: University of Minnesota Extension: Larson,J., Hancheck, A., Vollmar, P. (1996)
    This article provides an overview of therapeutic and handicapped accessible gardening along with types of accessible beds, considerations for accessible gardens, issues with water sources, plants, emergencies, surfaces for accessing the garden, paving material suggestions and statistics on landscape and community gardening. This article also includes a detailed resource listing (Bibliography) for further research and planning.
  6. Raised Bed Gardening (PDF)
    Author: University of Missouri Columbia: Starbuck, C., (1994).
    This article provides an overview of advantages of raised bed gardening to traditional gardening, types of raised beds, information and suggestion on building materials for raised beds, design schemes for raised beds, soil mix information and instructions for maintaining raised beds over time. This is the perfect one stop article for anyone interested in a quick read on how to construct, plant and maintain a raised bed garden!
  7. Make the Neighborhood a Better Place (PDF)
    Author: Greater Vancouver Regional District
    This booklet on improving your neighborhood through “natural yard care,” is a wonderful resource for the seasoned gardener or the novice tomato planter! This article is a little lengthy, but it is full of useful information on getting your garden started. It includes information on ph levels for soil, composting, nourishing your soil, choosing plants; native vs. introduced, planning your garden, lawn care and improvement, pests (pets and bugs) and resources for gardeners. This article will serve as a wealth of knowledge for anyone who wants to know the nitty gritty details of gardening.
  8. Community Garden Start Up Guide (PDF)
    Author: Surls, R., Braswell, R., Harris, L., & Savio, Y. (2001).
    This start up guide was tailored for the Los Angeles County area but is still quite informative for other areas interested in starting a community garden. This article outlines the first steps of establishing a community garden, tips for effective community organizing and involvement and even a sample community garden contract for gardeners. The contract alone makes this article a must read for aspiring community gardeners!
  9. Starting a Community Garden (PDF)
    Author: American Community Gardening Association
    This start up guide is a great resource for your community garden and includes more information and resources on creating a community garden organization, obtaining non profit status, organizing your gardeners and resources for development of your gardening or neighborhood association. This article provides succinct bullet points that any gardener can utilize when starting up a gardening project.
  10. Waterwise Gardening (PDF)
    Author: Greater Vancouver Regional District
    This brochure is helpful for any garden, but particularly those gardens who are interested in “going natural,” or developing their garden in an earth friendly, conservatory manner. The Greater Vancouver Regional District provides excellent suggestions on mulch, irrigation, waterwise grasses and turf as well as a listing on draught resistant trees, perennials, shrubs, climbers and plants.
  11. Here’s the Dirt, Worm Composting (PDF)
    Author: Metro Vancouver Sustainable Region Initiative
    The Sustainable Region Initiative provides a simple brochure on how to start your very own worm composting set up at home or in a larger community garden. This brochure covers how to make your first compost bin, what household items you can compost, how to harvest and utilize your homemade compost!

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