Garden Installation at York Center Elementary

On September 10, 2022, KidsGardening and PT Holdings hosted a garden installation event at York Center Elementary in Lombard, Illinois, transforming an unused grassy space into a school garden and outdoor classroom. 

The garden build included constructing eight raised beds, four benches, four picnic tables, two bean forts, two large sun sails, two trellised entries, a garden shed, a compost tumbler, and a pollinator garden expansion that included a rain barrel stand, edging, and a lattice for vertical gardening. 

Two image of the same space, one before a garden was installed and one after.

Before and after at York Center Elementary School

York Center Elementary was selected for a garden build installation in 2020, but COVID-19 postponed the event until just a few weeks ago.

Over the years, KidsGardening and PT Holdings have installed school gardens across Addison County, IL, with projects ranging from pollinator gardens and themed raised beds to weather stations and storage sheds.

Ready, Set…

To take on a project of this size, we needed a lot of wood, mulch, soil, plants, and supplies! Over the course of three days, the school received all the garden materials, and team members from KidsGardening, PT Holdings, and the school helped organize and ready everything for the volunteer day on Saturday.

A person pushing a wheelbarrow full of soil


On Saturday, more than 75 volunteers from KidsGardening, PT Holdings, and York Center Elementary gathered to build the school garden. Fueled by delicious donuts, fruit, and coffee, the volunteers were ready for action! To coordinate the build, volunteers were split into ten groups, each with a specific focus and a team leader.

Team leaders reviewed the plans with their group and got to work! All of a sudden, the garden took shape.

Of course, a build project isn’t complete without a few hiccups! One of which was when we realized that digging the holes for our sun sail posts was challenging since the soil was full of clay. Instead of using post-hole diggers, we rented a two-person auger and were quickly back on track. 
Two people working a gas-powered auger to drill holes

As teams finished their projects, they transitioned to lay out fresh wood chip mulch in the outdoor classroom area and started to fill the raised beds with soil. 

Around the corner in the pollinator garden section, started by students in Conservation Club, volunteers weeded, constructed a vertical lattice, and installed a stone edging to help create a designated Monarch Waystation. Volunteers planted a lot of varieties of pollinator plants to create habitats for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. 

As the morning turned to afternoon, we all stopped for lunch to fuel up before finishing up the final projects. After lunch, volunteers planted sensory, edible, and pollinator plants in the new raised garden beds, poured concrete for the sun sail posts, and cleaned up all the tools and materials. Around 1:30 pm, with everything packed up, we stopped to celebrate the garden space and admire the transformation!

School Garden Unveiled

When students returned to school on Monday, they ran to see their new garden space. Then, the weekend after the build, the school installed the sun sails to add shade to the outdoor classroom. Teachers and staff are excited to teach in the garden space and create opportunities for hands-on learning, ecology in action, stewardship of the planet, observation of plants and animals, teamwork, and sharing fruits and vegetables.

Kids sitting at a picnic table outside under a covering

Want to Host a Garden Build?

KidsGardening offers a robust range of garden installation services. From organizations looking to make an impact in their community through a one-time event to corporations interested in annual volunteer initiatives, we can design and project manage a garden installation at the location of your choosing. Our expertise includes gardens for youth of all ages, from preschool to high school. Learn more about corporate garden build opportunities.

Check out some of our other garden builds:

Building a “Fairy Tail” Garden - Dreamworks Animation Gabby’s Dollhouse Garden Installation at the Caring Center, Philadelphia, PA

Carson Daly and Plant a Garden in Brooklyn - TODAY Show Garden Installation with Carson Daly for the Brooklyn Arts and Science Elementary School and Exceed Charter, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY