Design with a Theme in Mind

  • Vegetable

  • Flowers

  • Butterfly

  • Pizza garden: tomatoes, peppers, onions, basil, oregano, etc.

  • Certified natural habitat (NWF)

  • Certified butterfly habitat (NABA)

  • Cracker Jack: peanuts & popcorn

  • Enchanted Gardens: plants associated with mythical creatures

  • Performing plants garden: plants that do things, mimosa leaves folding when touched, burs of burdock the inspired velcro, etc.

  • Wildlife Habitat

  • History Gardens

  • Ecosystem Gardens: what your area looked like before buildings were placed there, the history of your local landscape (prairie garden, chaparral garden, woodland or meadow)

  • Heritage Garden: importance of preserving biodiversity like heirloom vegetables.

  • Nutrition gardens: learn more about where food comes from, eating local, eating seasonally.

  • Rainbow— different flower colors OR collections of plants introduced or used by African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, North American Indians, and early settler

    • ​Three sisters/native american garden: corn, beans, squash are the three sisters. Corn grows up and provides a trellis for the beans and the squash grows beneath the corn protecting the roots from the harsh sun and keeping the ground moist. The nitrogen from the beans aids the corn and the squash. 

    • Salsa garden: peppers, tomatoes, garlic and onions (Mexican culture)

    • Colonial 4-square: fava beans, pumpkins, cabbage and radishes were some of the plants the colonists brought to America.

  • History garden: historically and contemporary significant plants grown in your state: peanuts, potatoes, gourds, corn, cotton.

  • Top & bottom garden: the leaves of plants which grow above the ground and the roots of others hidden below the ground. (Lettuce, swiss chard, collards, spinach, kale) and (carrots, beets, radishes, potatoes, peanuts).

  • Salad bowl garden: easy to grow plants for salads: leaf lettuces, radishes, cherry tomato plant, herbs like basil, dill, parsley

  • Prairie garden

  • Johnny appleseed orchard

  • Zoo garden

  • International smiles garden

  • Weather garden: weather related terms and old wives tales

  • Flag garden

  • Lima bean sand pit (filled with buried treasure)

  • Rabbit chow garden: rabbit-friendly garden, rabbit eating habits, and Peter Rabbit’s world

  • ABC garden: plants that start with the letter A, B, and C or any letter of the alphabet.

  • School days garden

  • Sensory garden

  • Woodland garden

  • Dinosaurs in the garden: plant-eating dinosaurs and the plants in the garden a dinosaur would eat

  • Garden creatures garden: salamanders, spiders, worms, etc.

  • Native American garden: squash, beans, and corn 

  • Secret Garden

  • Fabulous fowl food garden/activity: grow the food of or learn about the feeding habits of birds.


  • Natural/Wildlife Garden Suggestions

  • Use only native plants 

  • Avoid invasive exotic plants

  • Maintain existing vegetation when possible

  • Avoid turf grass

  • Minimize impermeable surfaces

  • Design with child learning in mind

  • Diversify plants

  • Choose plants that require minimal watering and fertilizers

  • Consider stormwater management

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