Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Building Your School Garden

West Marin Elementary School Garden
West Marin Elementary School Garden



Once your community has agreed on your school garden vision, you’ve defined your goals and objectives, and you’ve received any required approvals, it is time to start building your garden. Here is some information to consider as you start your building process:

Map the garden site and immediate surrounding areas.

-  Consider existing terrain, trees, bushes, ecosystems, wildlife
-  Sun/shade/wind exposure
-  Identify location of beds and paths
-  Determine locations of: compost systems, garden “classroom” area, storage facility for tools, potting area, habitat garden area         
-   Water source
-  Consider future needs: expansion possibilities; nursery/greenhouse; arbors/trellises; food prep area.
*Recommend using a closed system if kitchen scraps will be included; otherwise a three-bin open system if space allows.  Also recommend a worm composting system.

Preparing the Site

-  Build fencing
-  Build storage facility
-  Remove rocks/roots/bushes
-  Eliminate weeds and grasses
-  Evaluate condition of soil; do soil analysis.
(Based on soil evaluation, decide whether to use raised beds, which are preferred).
-  If building raised beds, no toxic materials should be used.
-  Build planting areas OR raised beds and fill with good soil and compost.
-  Install irrigation system
-  Establish pathways using good drainage material
-  Set up compost system(s)

Equipment Needed

-  Fencing                          -  Watering cans (small and large for different ages groups)
-  Irrigation system              -  Hand tools: trowels, shovels, rakes (small and large)
-  Soil and compost              -  Garden gloves (small and large)
-  Wheelbarrow                    -  Pruning shears 
-  Rakes                             -  Potting table
-  Hoes                              -  Stakes, sticks, string
-  Spades                           -  Shade structure (if needed)
-  Hose                              -  Materials for pathways and mulch
-  Buckets

Click here to request a school garden consultation.

Contact: MMG School Gardeners

Webmaster Email: banielsen@ucanr.edu