The Value of a Community Garden: 7 Hacks to Start an Urban Garden

If you’re a city dweller, do you wish you had enough room for a garden? Do you want to bring the people of your local neighborhood together by digging in the dirt?

Then you might want to start a community garden. You can ask your neighbors to rent a garden plot or raise funds to start your urban garden. Whatever way you fund the park, you need others to grow a community garden work.

What Are Community Gardens?

A community garden is set up on a vacant lot or on land that someone has donated to set up a neighborhood garden.

As mentioned above, you can rent plots to everyone who wants to participate or set up fundraisers to buy a vacant lot to put up your urban garden.

Other folks join you by bringing shovels, hoes, trowels, seeds, mulch, compost, and other gardening basics to start their garden. You can host Master Gardeners to teach gardening basics. You and your neighborhood make the garden area your own.

7 Hacks You Need to Know Before Starting a Community Garden

While life would be simpler if there weren’t any ordinances or other roadblocks to starting a community garden, you still need to know which roadblocks to prepare for before starting your neighborhood garden.

Here are seven hacks you need to know before starting a community garden:

  1. Know your local city’s ordinances. Find out what you’re allowed and not allowed to plant. Are there ordinances concerning weeds and turfgrass height? Can you put up fences and hedges?

Learn more: How to Grow a Home Vegetable Garden

  1. If you’re buying a vacant lot in Richmond, know the property’s history. You can find that information through Sanborn Maps and by talking with others in the neighborhood.


  1. Test the soil before you start any garden plots. The USDA can guide you with soil testing. You don’t want to plant lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, and other produce in soil that’s contaminated with arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals.


  1. If you think the soil may be contaminated or you want to be on the safe side, build raised garden beds instead. You can still use that abandoned plot, but don’t plant anything in the soil that you would eat.


  1. Check your water sources. Will you need to bring water in, or are there places to hook up a garden hose and refill watering cans?


  1. Who will be invited to participate in the neighborhood garden? Is it only for people living in a specific section, or is an entire subdivision allowed to participate?


  1. If you’ll include kids in the community garden, will you have a section that’s dedicated to them? For example, will parts of the garden be cut into a maze? Will there be themed gardens, such as a pizza garden?

Now that you know the basic information about starting a community garden, you also need to know the benefits of engaging in urban gardening.

7 Pluses of Starting a Community Garden

The benefits of starting a community garden outweigh the roadblocks you may encounter when starting a neighborhood garden from scratch. Here are seven pluses of creating a community garden:

  1. Community gardens bring people together: You can promote peace among your neighbors when you work together digging in the dirt and growing food.


  1. Kids and others learn about food, nutrition, and keeping it local: Younger folks learn a lot while working in the garden, such as science, math, environmental concerns, climate, social studies, and language arts. There is so much that gardening teaches younger people.


  1. Gardening is exercising: A community garden encourages people to get outside and move their bodies. Pulling weeds, digging, and planting use different muscle groups and get the heart pounding.


Read more: Create a Home for Bees, Butterflies, and Birds with a Pollinator Garden


  1. Gardening promotes mental and physical well-being: Studies have shown that staying inside and staring at a screen for long hours increases mental health issues, such as depression, loneliness, and purposelessness.


However, studies have also shown that going outside promotes well-being and hope.


  1. Gardening helps reduce food costs and provides fresh produce for the local community: Right now, there’s a lot of talk about food insecurity. One way to increase food security is by gardening—you’re empowering your neighbors to grow healthy food for their families.


  1. Gardening improves the neighborhood’s landscape: Did you know that adding greenspaces can reduce crime in a community? Studies have shown that the community becomes safer with more plants and trees.


  1. Anyone can participate in a community garden: Gardening is for everyone, regardless of social status. You help your neighbors participate in the outdoors when you provide a community garden for them to go to every day.

Contact Us at BCLS Landscape Services to Dig Garden Plots for You

If you found the perfect place to start a community garden, you need us at BCLS Landscape Services to dig the garden plots for you.

BCLS Landscape Service’s headquarters is in Ashland, VA; we also have offices in Fredericksburg and Hampton Roads, VA. You can contact us by calling 804-752-0052 or filling out our contact form.

BCLS Landscape Services provides property care to residential and commercial properties throughout Richmond and Central Virginia.

Sources:, About Us: Community Gardening Benefits., Contaminated Soil Treatment: Managing Contaminated Soil in City Gardens.

Ibid, Gardening Lawns and Ordinances—Common Garden Laws., Benefits of a Community Garden., 7 Benefits of Community Gardening.