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Click on each of the icons below to find out how to naturalize your neighbourhood for everyone

Rural / Remote

Partner with local schools, libraries, community halls, municipal buildings, Friendship Centres, older adult homes, hospitals, and recreation centres to plant a garden that everyone can access. Municipalities/town councils can help you with some of the activities on public land and often provide the plants and trees.

Residences (Dwellings)

Container gardening is an excellent way to grow flowers, fruits, and vegetables in an apartment building, at a shelter or in housing for older adults. Facilitate a partnership between people living in apartment buildings or shelters and those with yards (houses, parks, etc.) to share their gardens. Apartment buildings can provide a visitor parking spot to host Park(ing) Days.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

Food gardens can provide people with access to fresh, free food. Consider planting a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that appeal to the interests and cultures represented in your neighbourhood. Gather recipes from neighbours from different cultures to show how different fruits and vegetables can be cooked and with low ingredient and cost options.


Place planters on a table or build a raised garden bed that can be accessed by people using a wheelchair. Add wheels to move the table around the neighbourhood. Create a garden in a park, field or other location that features soothing sounds or a water feature that instills feelings of calm.


Choose easy-to-grow plants, place stools around the garden area for either rest or to better access the plants, and supply lightweight gardening tools, including extenders, with foam grips near the garden for use by people of all ages.


Of course, the biggest challenge with gardening in the different seasons is winter! Try growing plants and herbs indoors in the winter and then sharing them with your neighbours. Partner with community organizations, local businesses, and plant stores/nurseries to secure space for planting in the cold weather.


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Turn any patch of dirt on your own or public property into a natural oasis. With a little seed, sun, and water, you can beautify your neighbourhood or grow food for yourself and your neighbours! In Brooks, Alberta, neighbours created an edible garden with a path around it and seating areas. You can play a role in saving the bees by growing a pollinator garden, or help to maintain biodiversity by planting native species, avoid planting plant varieties that are/can be invasive.

Make it active – By its very nature (pun intended), gardening is active. It involves lifting, pulling (strength), moving around (increasing heart rate) and reaching and bending (to help with flexibility). Make it more active by moving plants and soil without the help of a wheelbarrow (for more trips) or by raking and cleaning up without the help of a leaf blower.

Guerilla Gardening

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Find an unused (or unattractive) plot of land and start planting! You could even plant in the potholes! Be aware of the species of plants you are using in order to support the local ecosystem.

Yard Sharing

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Gardening can be active, relaxing, and social, but many people don’t have their own piece of land to cultivate. Consider offering up a portion of your lawn for others to till in an act of “yard sharing”. Maybe you can share the fruits and vegetables by hosting a Salad Sunday on your street. Be sure to put out a sign inviting others to garden in the space and some tools to use. Find out more about yard sharing here.

Make it more active – In sharing your garden, you are helping a friend or neighbour become more active as described in the gardening activity. Boost your activity by joining them in the garden, and helping new gardeners get started.

Create a Community Garden or Plant a Neighbourhood Orchard

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Start a community garden with some of your neighbours! It will give you a chance to socialize and eat the fruits of your labour.

Make it more active – Just like with gardening and yard sharing, helping to maintain a community garden provides a valuable opportunity for movement. Walking, wheeling, or cycling there adds a little extra movement to your day.

Organize a Park(ing) Day


Turn a parking space into an actual park! Many neighbourhoods lack green space but have plentiful parking for cars. Pay the parking or permit fee and follow the steps to host your own Park(ing) Day! Park(ing) Day is typically held every third Friday or Saturday of September depending on where you live, but it can be done at any time of year.

Are you interested in the potential of parking spaces? Check out Learning from community housing movements: Unlocking the social potential of parking spaces.

Make it more active – Although part of the fun is socializing with friends and neighbours in a few parking spots, these spaces are often in downtown and other commercial areas. Take some time to walk around in these areas and perhaps support local retailers by picking up a coffee or other goods you might need. You may discover some places you didn’t know about.

Portable Gardens and Movable Water Trough Gardens

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Use public space temporarily for growing food. These farming water troughs create the perfect recycled area for growing fruits and veggies as you can manage the type of soil and water they receive. Even better, they can easily be transferred to another location when empty for a more mobile set-up.

Make it more active – Rather than using wagons and wheelbarrows to move pots and soil, carry these items to build strength. It is important, however, to know your limits and seek human or mechanical assistance when needed.

Birds, Butterflies and Bees

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Bring wildlife into your neighbourhood by creating a low-cost nest box for birds to find a warm spot to keep warm or a bird feeder to get a quick snack. Be sure to deter other animals (e.g., squirrels) from getting into the feeder and be aware of other animals this may attract. If you’re worried about feeding, the nest box alone is a useful tool to support birds in the neighbourhood.

The Butterflyway Project is a volunteer-led movement that is growing habitat for bees and butterflies in neighbourhoods throughout Canada.

Make it more active – Walk, wheel, cycle, or snowshoe to a nearby trail to place your bird box. A whole community of bird houses will be a visual and artistic delight for others using the trails. Consider creating a map of where they are to encourage exploration to see them all.

Quick Tips and Ideas

  • Work with municipal/town council to start a neighbourhood tree-planting project. Trees provide shade from the sun and beautify the neighbourhood. Plant trees and bushes that produce edible fruit in public areas/trails. Learn more about the 3-30-300 Rule.
  • Leave nature in nature (e.g., land clearing, public works — when trees are fallen, leave them there to use when out walking)— less manicured public spaces. Embrace “messy” natural spaces.
  • Plant herbs and provide recipes for fresh produce.
  • Set up natural, accessible outdoor public playgrounds (not metal).
  • Work with farmers to make their farms open to hikers (in New Ross, NS, residents worked with Christmas tree farms to provide access to the trails through the farms).
  • Create scenes for photoshoots for families/groups/pets, etc. using existing landscape scenery.
  • Work with developers to include natural spaces in development agreements.
  • Add community-based gardens in community park space.
  • Initiate a community flower box initiative.
  • Start a gardening club and share flowers and fruit with your neighbours.
  • Work with low-rise building owners to create individual raised gardens.
  • Help neighbours with gardening tasks. This allows people to maintain their independence while increasing physical activity and social connection.

Note: When you think about naturalizing your neighbourhood, beauty is a large part of it. However, it’s important that we also think about the health of our neighbourhoods from an environmental standpoint. As is part of Indigenous worldviews, we have a responsibility to take care of mother earth the way she takes care of us. Therefore, how do we support the health of the environment (e.g., biodiversity) in our neighbourhoods, while it provides us with a place to be active and social?