• Designing Your Garden
    Selecting a site, designing your beds, and choosing plants are all important. Find resources to aid you in planning your growing space.
    student with seeds

    Gardens can be as simple as a tray of seedlings on a windowsill or as complex as outdoor classrooms. If planting indoors, you should consider sunlight, water access, and temperature. If planting outdoors, you will need to evaluate sunlight, water access, soil condition, types of garden beds, integration with existing landscape design, and utility line locations.

    Soil condition is an important consideration in planning your garden. The previous uses of the land may have left it contaminated, compacted, or full of rubble. Talk to long-standing community members to find out if your garden space had any previous uses, or use the Google Earth History tool to investigate yourself (this can be a great classroom lesson). Every site should conduct a soil test to determine if lead or other contaminants are present, and to evaluate soil conditions. 

    If contamination is not a problem, your soil test report will provide recommendations for improving your soil. If you have compacted, poor, or contaminated soil, your gardening options may be limited. Your soil test will provide recommendations for whether you and your students can safely plant or work in the area. If not, explore creating a container garden.

    The following links include ideas for designing your indoor or outdoor garden, contacts to request assistance with your project, and other information for use during your design phase.
    • Miss Utility will mark utility line locations. If you are planning a garden that will require digging, have utilities marked during the design phase to ensure your plans can be carried out safely.
    • Green Pattern Book from the Baltimore Office of Sustainability provides ideas on how to use vacant land in the city and determining the best use of the your school’s available space.
    • Blue Water Baltimore provides free site assessments to help you integrate rain barrels, rain gardens, tree planting, pavement reduction and/or conservation landscaping into your design.