Plants in the Schoolyard

Close your eyes and visualize a typical schoolyard. What came to mind? Blacktop? Sidewalks?  A lawn with some shrubs along the school building? This is what many students and staff see when they look out a classroom window or enter & exit an average school building.  Adding plants to school grounds can provide exciting opportunities for learning, discovery, health and play!  Whether you’re creating a garden for butterflies or other wildlife, planting an edible or sensory garden, creating bean teepees, sunflower houses or willow tunnels for outdoor fun, planting shade trees or just having students garden in containers, plants can truly enrich the school day for children and adults.

Tip:  Have a question about plants for your schoolyard? Is it a good choice? Is it poisonous? How to care for it? There are experts at your local extension office who will be happy to answer your questions and provide planting tips and resources: Find Your County & State Extension Office.

Native & Invasive Plants
Chesapeake Region Native Plants
Identify & Manage Invasive Species

Planting at School:
10 Tips for Schoolyard Habitat Plantings (Eco Schools)
Selecting, Installing & Managing Plants: Natural Learning Initiative
Gardening for Wildlife at School
Edible Gardens
Outdoor Classroom Users Guide (Boston Schoolyard Initiative)
Planting Beds: Outdoor Classrooms Design Guide (Boston Schoolyard Initiative)
Landscaping: Schoolyard Design Guide (Boston Schoolyard Initiative)

Plants for Play
Plants for Play & Learning: Robin Moore
Plants for Play: A Plant Selection Guide for Children’s Outdoor Environments