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Lesson 1: Assessing the Garden Site and Initial Biodiversity Inventory


The purpose of this lesson is to outline how to conduct a site assessment and biodiversity inventory before planting a garden. It is important to assess what is already at the planting site, especially the existing plants, soil composition, amount of sun and shade exposure, the available space, and the water resources available. These elements are limiting factors that will determine the outcome of the garden. Also vital is a biodiversity inventory of the organisms at the site and those that visit the site by soil, land, and air.

As part of the site assessment, students will create a two-dimension drawing of the site. In addition, a biodiversity inventory will be taken, which will give students a good idea as to what is already there. Both these initial activities will help in the decision-making phase for the type of garden to choose for the site (Lesson 2) and the creation of the vision for the garden (Lesson 3).

This total site assessment and biodiversity inventory will include identifying:

  • Soil composition
  • Type of Habitat
  • Sun and Shade Exposure
  • Weather, Climate, Season
  • Available space
  • Human-made elements
  • Trash and Pollution
  • Water resources / Irrigation system
  • Existing plants
  • Animals (Insects, Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians)