7 of my best ideas for a community garden

As a garden designer, I love creating beautiful and productive spaces – not just those that individuals, their families and friends can enjoy, but also spaces that the entire community can enjoy. I have designed a number of community gardens around the world and would like to share some ideas that could inspire you for your own community garden projects.

A good starting point for planning a community garden is to make a list, with the help of the community, of all the main elements that a particular community wants to include. Food production is often at the top of the list. But there are a number of other elements that at least need to be considered – and also practical elements that need to be considered along the way.

Food producing zones

While food production is usually the goal in much of the community garden area, it is important to keep in mind that food production areas can exist in many different forms that look and feel very differently.

In my plans, I usually like to incorporate more traditional, mostly annual, polycultural plantations and perennial food-producing areas, such as forest gardens, orchards and guilds, or other edible forms of landscaping that fit the place. . Other interesting food production methods, such as aquaponics, may also be considered.

Water

Water is a key consideration in gardening and especially in food production. When designing a community garden, water resources, water management and water use should be given priority. Water strategies always depend on a particular location and its location. But wherever and however you garden, be sure to think about collecting rainwater, keeping it nearby, and protecting your water.

Whether you collect water on site with simple water tanks, undertake earthworks and make reasonable planting plans to capture and store more water in the soil, create wild lakes or water elements, or use other strategies – thinking about water is always key to ensuring community the continued success of your project. It is also worth thinking about how the water in the landscape can provide a soothing and relaxing environment.

Composting

The other most important practical element that needs to be incorporated into community gardening is the area required for composting. Of course, there are a number of different composting methods to try – from simple composting bins and worms to hot composting settings and a compost beaker. Whichever composting method suits the site, it is important to provide space for composting in every community garden.

Sensory gardens

Even if food production is the main goal, there is no need to compromise on aesthetics. A good community garden is what binds all our senses. It has planting programs that look wonderful all year round, sound, smell and feel good. With the help of sensory gardens, community gardens can become a space not only for production but also for healing and tranquility.

Space to play

Young or young, we all need space for nature games. Community gardens can be safe, nearby spaces where people of all ages can have fun and connect with nature. Some of the items I often incorporate into community gardens are natural playgrounds, nest building spaces, meadows for running and ball games, as well as outdoor play kitchens and potted / seeding areas.

The number of different zones you can include in a plan depends on the space available. But even in the smallest of spaces, the right planting scheme and layout is fun for all ages.

Wilder, quiet zones

No matter how small the community garden is, I also consider it important to build wild and natural quiet spaces on the edges. A community garden can be a place where people can meet, but a well-designed place can be a place where you can get away from it all and spend some quiet in the company of nature. Native wooded areas, shaded pergolas and many other features of the planting system can skillfully create a small quiet refuge, even in a bustling city.

Meeting and recreation center

Finally, community gardens can often include a community center: a meeting place for relaxation and gatherings. If a community garden can serve as the center of a community, there are a number of features such as space. The building in the communal garden may include:

  • Room for meetings, events, exchanges, local markets, skills sharing and education.
  • A lending library, or even central asset banks, etc.
  • Community kitchen: showroom, cooking and dining area.
  • Composting toilets.
  • A community store … and so on.

Of course, many of the items described above can be made inexpensively using natural and recycled materials.

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