What’s Your Garden Type? The 4 Types of Gardens
In my research, I discovered four distinct gardens with four “camps” of people focused on four different themes. Although the themes of the gardens were different, the goal of reconnecting children with nature was the same.
What’s Your Garden Type?
- Gardens That Feed are gardens that can be described as Edible Gardens or Vegetable Gardens. The focus is to teach children about nutrition and where our food comes from. These gardens offer captivating experiences for children to use their senses by looking at and tasting food they have grown themselves.
- Gardens for Art and Beauty bring all ages together. These gardens include sculptures, plantings, and flowers. They contribute to the community and teach us how to integrate music, dance, poetry, storytelling, and painting into the outdoor garden experience.
- Gardens That Attract Wildlife incorporates food, shelter, water, sustainable practice and places to raise young. They are havens for butterflies, bugs, and birds and can be certified by the National Wildlife Federation.
- Gardens as Outdoor Learning Stations are inspired by themes such as a Mud Kitchen, Rock Garden, Miniature Garden, Sensory Garden, Alphabet Garden, Water Wall and so many more. These gardens connect curriculum to the Outdoor Classroom.
Each Garden Type includes different garden elements. Depending on your outdoor space, time, and ability, you may choose one garden theme over another. Exploring each garden type along with all their garden elements is a great place to start.
What if we mixed and matched Garden Types and their elements? Do you like to make ice-cream sundaes? I like to think of The Four Types of Gardens as flavors of ice cream and the garden elements as the toppings. For example, I could create a Garden that Attracts Wildlife with a Butterfly Garden. I would add plants that attract butterflies, a birdbath, and a butterfly house. If I created a Garden as an Outdoor Learning Station next to it, I might add a Word Garden featuring rocks with painted words on them where children could leave messages for their little animal friends. The possibilities are limitless.
- Explore The Four Types of Gardens
- Choose a garden type(s) that best fits your needs.
- Explore gardens elements of each garden type.
- Mix and match your garden elements until the desired outcome is reached.
This is an ideal recipe or making your own one-of-a-kind Outdoor Classroom. Remember, there are no wrong answers. Be prepared to fail a few times. Note: The magic ingredient is PLAYFUL LEARNING!
P.S. Want to play with these ideas? The Seeds of Inspiration Card Deck is an idea generator for your Outdoor Classroom. The deck features photographs from The Four Types of Gardens with each card offering questions as prompts to guide your Outdoor Classroom design and nature-based curriculum outdoors.