Come grow with us!

Design Considerations

Overall site dimensions What is the size and orientation of the garden site?  Remember to plan with the power of beauty in mind!


Garden plots How many will you have? Consider height, width, depth and orientation (facing north - south or east - west).  We provide more info on garden beds here.


Shared gardens Perennial flower beds, fruit shrubs, pumpkin, corn or potato crop areas, Tasting Gardens, food sharing gardens growing food to give away.


Footpaths Think about placement, dimensions and materials as well as how you'll incorporate existing footpaths or sidewalks.  Learn more about footpath mulch.


Accessibility  Design with an eye for allowing people with mobility challenges to have easy access to garden beds and  water sources, compost bins and tool sheds. (1.5 metre pathways and 22 - 24 inch high garden beds are best)


Water access details Where will hoses, taps, closed rain barrels be placed and will you conserve water through simple in-bed irrigation sysems? Please read our note on water barrels.


Compost bin system Consider how you can construct and place the bins so that it is both practical for gardeners to use and discreet enough that it does not affect the view for nearby residents.


Curb appeal Remember that a good looking garden will decrease resistance from nearby residents.  Plan for three-season beauty such as  daffodils in spring, floral perennials for early, mid and late summer and late blooming flowers such as chrysanthemums for fall.


Personal security Plan for clear sightlines in all directions.


Fencing details Black chain fencing keeps out wildlife, is unobtrusive, allows sunlight through and makes a great support for vertical growing. Fencing that is meant to keep out people is not permitted on public land.


Seating Gardeners will appreciate somewhere to take a break.  Benches will encourage community members to enjoy the garden too.  Look for sturdy garden seating, preferably with a back and ones that can be anchored into the ground.  Seating areas in both shade and sun are best.


Recycling and garbage bins Residents will prefer it is out of sight, but gardeners will want it somewhere convenient. Decide what arrangements need to be made in order to dispose of the contents.  Have a team of 4 Compost "Earth Maker" managers to be keeping up with the compost management.  Compost well maintained does not smell bad.


Storage for large garden tools You'll need a secure shed or chest for storing large shared tools.  Consider accessibility but also try to be considerate of nearby neighbors. You'll need permission from the City to erect a vertical structure or any kind.  If it is a greenhouse you will need to purchase and seek approval for a development permit.. 


Gardener communication Plan to include a changeable weatherproof notice board.  A sandwich board style garden sign will likely be available from City of Calgary Parks.


Soil Next to people cooperating to maintain the garden, soil development is the most important ingredient for a sustainable garden.  Focus on soil health first and food crops second. Learn how to ensure healthy, contaminant free soil.


Toilets The City asks that all portable toilets be positioned outside of the garden's perimeter. Once installed, the garden is responsible for the care of the toilet.  You'll need approval from the District Foreman at the City of Calgary. 


Footpath mulch Mulching footpaths can cut down on muddiness and weeding and improve drainage.   Learn more about footpath mulch.