How To Plant Trees, Shrubs and Community Gardens

Difficulty: Easy  |  Estimated time: Varies hours  |  Help needed: Varies volunteers

Plant trees and shrubs, or add a pizza garden, butterfly garden, or custom garden to your playspace! The pizza garden is easy to create and provides a place where kids can watch different plants grow, seeing the similarities and differences in each. The butterfly garden encourages exploration, offers a sensory experience and can be the setting for many science lessons. The custom garden is specifically designed for the needs of the community.

Download Instructions

Materials and tools

Quantity:Materials:
Adjust as needed Plants/seeds/bulbs
Adjust as needed Peat moss/fill material
Optional Garden edging
Adjust as needed Landscape fabric
Adjust as needed Mulch
Tools needed:
Shovels
Rakes
Sod cutter (optional)
Garden hose
Tamp (optional)
String line and/or marking paint
Utility knife

Preparation instructions


Build instructions

  1. Sort all materials into piles by like items to ensure you have materials needed to complete project.

  2. Every landscaping project will have a different look and feel depending on the site and region. These are some popular examples:

    • Pizza Garden: The Pizza Garden is easy to create and provides a place where kids can watch different plants grow, seeing the similarities and differences in each. Add circular stepping stones for pepperoni and different mulches for cheese and crust.
    • Butterfly Garden: The Butterfly Garden encourages exploration, offers a sensory experience, and can be the setting for many science lessons. Select a variety of nectar-producing plants to encourage butterfly visits.
  3. To begin your garden, mark the perimeter of the area with string line or marking paint.

  4. Remove all weeds in the landscaping area and loosen up the soil with a rake.

  5. Mix in peat moss and cover the entire area with landscaping fabric to prevent future growth of weeds.

  6. Install edging around the perimeter. Edging can be plastic, metal, wood, stone, or brick. Note: Don't use pressure-treated wood around your landscape feature if you intend to grow edible plants.

  7. Place your plants on top of the landscape fabric in the arrangement that you wish. Once you decide on an arrangement, use the utility knife to cut a hole in the landscaping fabric for each plant and begin planting. Start with the largest pots and work your way down to the smallest.

  8. For trees: dig a hole that is slightly larger than the pot or burlap sack, and deep enough so that the top of the pot or sack sits slightly above ground level. For potted trees, remove from the pot and loosen up the soil around the roots before planting. For trees balled in burlap, loosen the burlap once the tree is in the hole and cut away as much as possible. When the tree is straight, fill the hole ⅓ of the way with soil and tamp down around the roots. Repeat twice more until the hole is filled. Make a shallow collar of soil around the tree to hold water near the root zone.

  9. For shrubs: dig a hole that is slightly larger than twice the diameter of the pot or root ball. Plant so that the top of the root ball sticks up a bit above ground level. Back fill with soil and tamp around the base.

  10. For perennials and annuals: Plant at the same level that they were in the pot. Firm the soil around the plant with your hands.

  11. Water thoroughly after planting. Trees need about 30 minutes of watering, and shrubs need about 20 minutes.

  12. Place mulch around the perimeter of each plant. A 3" layer of mulch saves water by insulating and protecting the soil, reducing the evaporation caused by sun and wind. It also suppresses existing weeds and makes new ones easy to pull out.