School Garden Ideas

When you're thinking of school garden ideas, no doubt a range of ideas come to mind: ponds, wild areas, bug hotels, vege gardens, flower gardens, fruit trees and more!

Well let's explore each of these ideas and boil the concepts down to the core ingredients for success.

Which plants to choose?

Suzie from Sustainable Play has a great list of the Top 15 plants to grow in the school garden. I like Suzie's criteria for choosing the plants - it's both practical and sensible in that the plants engage the children through the senses and through the opportunities each plant brings (edible raw/tasty/sharable/learning opportunities/space conservative/ sensory). Her top plant - the tangy lemon sorrel, sounds amazing and is definitely a great place to start.

If you purchase products through links on this page I receive a small commission at no cost to you. I was not paid for writing the comments about the books below and I did not receive them as freebies. I am suggesting these best books on climate change for you as I think they are great and I think you will too.

School Garden Ideas : Creating a Vegetable Garden

Making a school garden can be a fun and educational project for students and teachers alike. Here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. Choose a suitable location: Look for an area on the school grounds that gets plenty of sunlight and has access to water. It should also be a space that can be easily accessed by students and teachers.
  2. Gather supplies: You will need gardening tools such as shovels, rakes, and gloves, as well as materials for the garden beds such as soil, compost, and mulch.
  3. Plan the garden layout: Decide what plants you want to grow and how you want to arrange them in the garden. Consider things like the size of the plants, their sun and water requirements, and how much space they need to grow.
  4. Prepare the soil: Clear the area of any grass or weeds and loosen the soil with a tiller or hoe. Mix in compost or other organic matter to enrich the soil.
  5. Build garden beds: Create raised garden beds using wood or other materials. This will help contain the soil and make it easier to maintain the garden.
  6. Plant the garden: Choose plants that are suitable for your climate and soil type. Plant them in the garden beds according to your layout plan.
  7. Maintain the garden: Regularly water the plants, remove any weeds or dead plants, and add mulch to help retain moisture in the soil.
  8. Involve students: Encourage students to participate in all aspects of the garden project, from planning to planting to maintenance. This can help them develop a sense of ownership and pride in the garden.

Remember, creating a school garden is a great way to teach students about science, nutrition, and environmental stewardship while also creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space for the school community to enjoy.

For more info on creating your own 4x8 school vegetable garden click here.

School Garden Ideas : Making a pond

Making a garden pond can be a great way to add a water feature to your outdoor space and create a habitat for aquatic plants and animals. Here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. Choose a suitable location: Look for an area in your garden that is relatively level and has access to an electrical outlet (if you plan to use a pond pump). Avoid areas with tree roots or other obstacles that could make digging difficult.
  2. Determine the size and shape: Decide on the size and shape of your pond based on the available space and your personal preferences. Consider factors such as the amount of sunlight the pond will receive, the type of plants and fish you want to include, and any other design elements you want to incorporate.
  3. Mark the location: Use stakes and string to mark the location and shape of your pond. Double-check that the area is level and adjust the stakes as needed.
  4. Dig the hole: Use a shovel or a garden spade to dig the hole for your pond. The depth and shape of the hole will depend on the size and shape of your pond. Aim for a depth of at least 18 inches to allow for plant growth and fish habitat.
  5. Install a pond liner: Once the hole is dug, line it with a flexible pond liner. Make sure the liner is large enough to extend up and over the edges of the hole by several inches.
  6. Add a pump and filter: If you plan to include fish in your pond, you will need a pump and filter system to keep the water clean and oxygenated. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and placement.
  7. Fill the pond: Once the liner and pump are in place, begin filling the pond with water. Use a de-chlorinator if necessary to remove chlorine and other chemicals from tap water.
  8. Add plants and decorations: Once the pond is filled, you can add aquatic plants and decorations such as rocks, gravel, and statues. Choose plants and decorations that are appropriate for the size and depth of your pond.
  9. Maintain the pond: Regularly test the water quality and make any necessary adjustments to the pump and filter. Remove any debris or dead plants from the pond and add new plants as needed.

A garden pond can be a beautiful and relaxing addition to your outdoor space, but it does require some maintenance to keep it healthy and thriving. With proper care, your pond can provide a natural habitat for plants and animals while also enhancing the beauty of your garden.

The Wildlife Trust's 'How to build a pond' guide is very useful.

The National Gardening Association has lots of straightforward information about all steps of creating a garden. 

Generating your school garden can be fun. For design ideas Matt Jame's book 'How to plant a garden' has oodles of information and these rewriteable signs are a great idea for labelling the different segments of your school garden. 

Explore small wildlife pond ideas

School Garden Ideas: Growing fruit trees

Favourite tastes? which fruit trees to choose?

Ripe 'n ready: when will the fruit be ready for picking?

Understanding the trees' needs: space, fertiliser, support

Integrating planting, pruning and harvesting into the curriculum

Timing: when to plant, harvest, prune

School Garden Ideas: Planting Trees

Free trees for schools and communities are available through the Woodland Trust. The information includes choosing your tree, planting advice, preparation and aftercare, tips for safe planting and tree-planting certificates to make tree planting day a memorable experience. To ensure the children remember the occasion and to link it into the curriculum there are printable resources such as this one: 'What I did on tree planting day'.

Green Tree Schools Award

If you are considering taking things a step further, beyond just planting a single tree, you may like to go for the Green Tree Schools Award, where your children will be encouraged to engage with outdoor learning and become inspired about woodlands and wildlife. A range of fun, hands-on projects engage the children in improving your school grounds. All resources and support is free and children can earn certificates to recognise their achievements. Actions include excursions into woodlands, activities to reduce CO2 emissions and nature activities in your school grounds. points can be collected for each activity completed, enabling achievement of bronze, silver, gold levels all the way up to the prestigious platinum award. This award can contribute to other award schemes such as the Eco-Schools Award