Are you hoping to use your vacant lot to welcome passersby to your neighborhood? Do you think your neighborhood could use a little more creative energy and visual interest? Gateway gardens help to draw attention to an area by adding color and texture. They introduce and welcome folks to the neighborhood and can help direct them to a business district by framing the opening into the neighborhood. Gateways can help to bring more attention and business to a neighborhood, ultimately making the community there more visible.
While gateway gardens are useful for beautifying the entrance into a community, they can take some planning. Creating a gateway garden may take the steps listed below:
- Consider overall purpose of the garden.
- Consider potential secondary benefits and build around them (If, in addition to providing a welcome to your neighborhood, you would like your gateway garden to attract pollinators or provide some other environmental function, make sure you choose your plants according to that goal).
- Research online resources for advisable plant cover for the garden. For example, check out the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Plant Database for more information about what plants would be best for your lot.
Suitability and Considerations
To create a gateway garden, the qualities of the vacant lot being used will have to be considered. Check out the lot assessment page to see how different aspects of the lot will affect what plants you should grow, and where you can plant them. Gateway or beautification projects are often found on oddly-shaped vacant lots, often, but not always, on main streets or intersections. These projects serve to smooth the transitions between the public and private realm and in many cases are on lots that are unlikely to redevelop due to their size or shape.
- Contribute to users’ health through increased fresh vegetable consumption
- Community food security and access
- Provide a venue for exercise
- Increased community participation
- Sharing of knowledge and experience with neighbors
- Active communities often experience less crime and vandalism
- Garden beds – nontreated wood