Landscape contracting is a great service to find in-kind through parents or local contractors who are willing to support community-based projects. However, building school gardens requires a specialized approach.

Built to last!
School gardens take much more intense use and foot traffic than traditional landscapes, and construction techniques must yield super tough, durable features.

While a raised bed made of 2' x 6' lumber may work in your backyard, it will not withstand hundreds of little visitors over years of traffic in a school garden. Anchoring 6" x 6" beams with 30-inch rebar stakes may seem like overkill, but not when there may well be thousands of little feet walking along them.

Safety and universal access
The garden should be built with the appropriate safety measures and accessibility standards in place. Work closely with your contractor to ensure these elements are included in the overall design.

Before you hire…
  • Area: Approximate square foot area the garden will cover
  • Teachers: # of participating teachers
  • Contributions: Financial and in-kind contributions you know are available to support the project
Make sure you ask to see other projects the contractor has done in your area.

Talk to previous clients to inquire about the service and communication. Did the contractor show up when they said they would?

Provide specific directions about how, and from what materials, you want the garden features to be built.

Get several estimates from reputable local businesses so that you have a basis for comparison, even though you may be seeking donated services.