If possible, once design ideas have been generated, it is wise to have a professional garden designer draw a final map of the garden to scale, especially if there are modifications to the landscape. You can find a designer at a local landscape firm or nursery.

Tip: Most landscape architects and landscape designers have not worked specifically with school gardens or educational spaces for children. Designing such gardens is a very different task than creating a pleasing residential landscape.

Remember, learning is the point of it all
School gardens are meant to address educational goals first and foremost, and while we strongly believe that beauty happens anyway, the primary goal is not a picture perfect landscape. For example, open soil is a good thing, as it means there is a place for students to replant each year, and a few weeds mean they have maintenance tasks to do.

Seek advice
While it may be tempting to take advantage of a willing parent who is a landscape architect or designer, we encourage you to also seek advice from your local environmental education institution, whether a botanic garden or nature museum, and speak to someone in the education department.

Before you hire…
  • Keep in mind that designing school gardens is a specialized set of skills
  • Be sure to ask to see projects the designer has done for other schools
  • Make sure you have the designer create a garden that is supportive of your educational goals, under your direction
  • Make sure the designer is approachable, receptive to the team’s ideas, and someone with whom the garden team is comfortable working