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School Garden Theme Ideas

Updated on August 17, 2011

Bring the Love of Gardening to Children

31 Theme Garden Ideas to get kids excited about gardening.

Having a garden theme is a creative way to make gardening a little more fun and exciting. The following themed gardens include fruits, vegetables, and other tasty edibles.

Here is a picture of my son holding a sunflower seed for our sunflower hut. As you can tell, he takes this project very seriously.

How do you make gardening exciting for your kids? I hear they can also be bribed with strawberries!

What are some garden theme ideas for kids?


Alphabet Garden

Include a plant that starts with each letter of the alphabet

A is for Alyssum and Z is for Zinnia. There are 26 planting blocks in the ABC Kinder-Garten, and each one features a plant (usually an annual, but there are also some perennials) that has a name starting with the letters of the alphabet.


Barnyard Garden

The plants grown here provide the food for cows, chickens, beef cattle, buffalo, pigs, and sheep.

Sweet Clover

Crown Vetch

Orchard Grass

Alsike Clover

Red Clover

Whitecolver 'Trefoil'

(Grass Pasture)

Ladino Clover

Kentucky Bluegrass


Reed Canary Grass

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Alternative: Grow a garden with plants whose names relate to a farm.

Colt's Foot, Bee Balm, Cornflowers, Cowslip, Dogwood, Strawberry, Gooseberry, Chickweed, Goose Grass, Hog Apple, Pigsty Daisy, Oxeye Daisy, Milk Maids, Hens-and-chicks, Cowbells, Horseradish, Goats Beard.

Decorate with a scarecrow, wheelbarrow or old water pump.

Photo credit:  Tobyotter
Photo credit: Tobyotter

Butterfly Garden

Start by deciding what types of butterflies you want to attract and then looking at what types of plants they are attracted to.

Your Butterfly Garden needs to include two main types of plants: caterpillar host and nectar source.

A complete list of butterfly host plants and nectar sources are listed below:


Cereal Bowl Garden

Grow plants found in your morning cereal bowl.

corn (corn flakes)

oats (oatmeal)




Crayola Crayon Garden
Crayola Crayon Garden

Crayola Color Garden

Grow plants with names of your favorite Crayola crayons.

Pumpkin 'Autumn Gold'





Strawberry 'Pink Panda'

Variation: See Rainbow Garden below.


Dinosaur Garden

Dig - Dig - Dig

Incorporate prehistoric plants in your landscape to bring the world of the dinosaurs to your own backyard or school garden.

Plant: bald cypress tree, ferns, barberry shrubs, horsetail, spreading yews, gold cypress.

Add: To encourage inquiry and exploration, add a dig site using sand as well as "fossils" imprinted in concrete so students can practice being paleontologists. Add replica dinosaur bones, fern fronds, and shell remnants inserted into cement so the kids can make clay impressions.

Enrichment Activities: Leaf rubbings from the landscape plants.


Enchanted Garden

A magical place where fairies, gnomes, and trolls live.

Zinnia - Thumbelina

Zinnia - Peter Pan

Grass - Bunny Tails

Grass - Fairies Joke

Bells of Ireland (fairy hats)

Cupid's Dart

Rose - The Fairy (careful, very thorny)

Thyme (fairy homes)


Baby's Breath


Beanstalk Tree
Beanstalk Tree

Giant Garden

a.k.a. Jack and the Beanstalk Garden

Giant vegetables include:

Big Moon - pumpkin

Oxheart - tomato

Scarlet Imperial Long - carrot

Giant Perfection - muskmelon

Grey Stripe - sunflower

Scarlet runner beans

Walla Walla - onion

Italian parsley

Lagenaria - summer squash

Zwaan Jumbo - cabbage

Aconcagua -pepper

Armenian - cucumber

Crimson Long - radish


Food Pyramid
Food Pyramid

Healthy Garden

Eight good-health vegetables based on USDA ratings.

Sweet Potato

Brussels Sprouts




Lima Beans



Home State Garden

Plant plants and flowers native to your state.

Pay special attention to your state grass or flower.

This garden could also be called the wild garden and feature some of the flowers you most likely see growing wild along your state highways.


Literature Garden

See Peter Rabbit Garden, Harry Potter Garden, Mother Goose Garden, and Pioneer Garden.


Mary Garden

What's in a name?



Eyes of Mary (Forget-me-nots)

Mary’s Pincushion (Scabiosa)

Mary’s Rose (Peonies)

Mexican Garden

Grow a fresh supply of ingredients for your favorite mexican dishes.

jalapeno plant and/or other mild to hot chili

bell pepper plant

green onions





Moon Garden

Plants that are best at dusk or night.

Petunias (release their scent at night)

Four O'Clocks

Nicotiana (flowering tobacco)

Night-scented Jasmine

Evening-scented Stock

Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)

Daylilies: Ice Dancer, Nautical Nights, or Alaskan Midnight

Moon flower

Angel’s trumpet

Lamb’s ear

Sweet autumn clematis

Mother Goose Garden

"Old fashioned" plants, such as those mentioned in Mother Goose rhymes.

Rose 'Betty Proir'

Daisy 'Miss Muffet'

Speedwell 'Sunny Border Blue'

Coralbells 'Palace Purple'

Silver Lace Vine


Silver Bells and Cockle Shells (Mary, Mary Quite Contrary)

Multi-cultural Garden

Experience different cultures

Grow plants from around the globe.






Chinese cabbage

Trumpet Vine
Trumpet Vine

Musical Plants

Plants with names that mimic musical instruments

Giant Reed

Trumpet Vine

Viola (Johnny Jump Up)


Lyre Pod

Scarlet Bugler (attracts Hummingbirds)

Trumpet Creeper

Desert Trumpet


Native American Garden

Learn about Native American culture.





Performing Plants Garden

Plants do things!

For example, Mimosa leaves collapse when touched and impatiens seed pods explode when touched.

Silver Sage (soft and fuzzy)

Sensitive Plant (leaves collapse when touched)

Globe Thistle (spiny and prickly)

Lovely Leaves (leaves come in all shapes, sizes, colors and textures)

Lady's Mantle (tiny hairs make water droplets shine like jewels)

Love-in-a-Puff (makes a ball shaped puff, and the seeds inside have tiny heart marks)

Evening Primrose ('Tina James' open when the sun sets in 15 seconds!)

Scotch Thistle

Obedient Plant (flowers will stay in place when moved, it's obedient)


Balloon Flower (opening buds look like a balloon)

Gas Plant (flowers release a gas at night that may be lit with a match)

Burdock (the sticking idea for "velcro")

Compass Plant (leaves line up north and south)

Portulaca (opens when the sun shines and closes when it's cloudy)

Chia (forms a gel coat used to cover "Chia" pottery pets)

Cup Plant (leaves trap water where frogs and toads rest)

Day Flower (opens for one day)

Mosquito Plant (may repel mosquitoes)

Source: 4-H Children's Garden at Michigan State University

Perfume Garden

Showcases plants that have been used to make things smell better since time began.

Lemon Mint

Spice Shrub

Mountain Mint

Basil 'Perfume'

Lavender 'Munstead'


Evening Scented Stock

Roses (used to make potpourri)

Clove Pinks

Alternative: Scent Garden (in the S section)

Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit's Garden

Based on the most popular book for children ever published, and the first source of garden impressions in early childhood. The plants growing here are all mentioned in the Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit books.

From The Tales of Peter Rabbit: gooseberries, parsnips, cucumber, and cabbage.

From The Tale of Benjamin Bunny: pear trees, parsley, lettuce, carnations, and antirrhinums.

From The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies: lettuce, roses, pansies, marrows, and French Marigold.

Decorate: Embelish with a little blue coat and a pair of little shoes hanging from a pole. Border with white picket fence.

Enrichment activities: Ask older students to create a garden that directly reflects an illustration from the book. Drink Chamomile tea; Peter was given a cup of chamomile tea to soothe the nerves after his narrow escape from Mrs. McGregor.

Be Inspired -- A Real Beatrix Potter Garden

Come explore a real Peter Rabbit garden designed by Richard Lucas (Chelsea RHS Gold medal winner ). Richard embarked on a nationwide hunt to ‘root out’ the appropriate unusual and traditional varieties of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Richard explains: "I studied Beatrix Potter’s garden illustrations and text to identify different fruit, vegetables and flowers to include in my design and found out which varieties she would have known in her lifetime. It has been painstaking work - but I wanted the garden to capture the very essence of Beatrix Potter’s world from the Cos lettuces that Benjamin Bunny nibbled on to the gooseberries that Peter."

Little House on the Prairie
Little House on the Prairie

Pioneer Garden

Many vegetables introduced from European countries, came over with the settlers.








These vegetables would have been grown by families like the Wilder family in the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Pizza Garden - Pizza is the most popular choice on the school lunch menu in the United States.


Peppers (Sweet or Bell)

Sweet Basil


Marjoram (optional)


Garlic (optional)

Grow plants and herbs in a pizze wedge- or pie-shaped garden. Add Marigold "cheese" along the border.

Throw a pizza pie party with homemade pizza sauce from your harvest.

The University of Tennessee offers a complete Pizza Garden Guide for educators and parents.


Rainbow Garden by nakae
Rainbow Garden by nakae

Rainbow Garden

Build a rainbow garden based on the seven colors of the rainbow

Plant an arch with seven rows of flower varieties which are of equal height: red salvia, orange marigold, yellow marigold, parsley, blue ageratum, and purple petunia. Plant a pot of gold using tiny marigolds, California poppies, or "Gold Coin".

The most fun part of planting a rainbow garden is picking out the seeds to match every color of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. As blue and indigo are fairly similar, you may opt to use just six colors, including one shade of blue.

If your class cannot visit a nursery, let the children flip through catalogs from nurseries, picking out flowering plants that fit with each of the colors.

Students can also pick out colorful vegetables to eat: sugar snap peas, pumpkins, and tomotoes are popular with children. How about blue potatoes or orange tomatoes? The possibilities are endless?

Plant your flowers in arches in your garden. Each arch (row) shuld have its own color. When the flowers bloom, it mimics the look of a rainbow

Alternative: Container gardening

Students plant the rainbow gardens in containers at school and then take them home to water and grow.


Salsa Garden
Salsa Garden

Salsa Garden

Grow a Salsa Garden with limited space.

One of the great thing about a Salse Garden is that you can still have a fantastic salsa garden with limited space! Most of the plants used in salsa will thrive readily in planters on you balcony, deck. Plant in the garden or in containers. You can even grow most of these plants and herbs successfully in a window box.

Red Tomato

Yellow Tomato

Jalapeno Pepper

Sweet Banana Pepper



Large Leaf Italian Basil



Scent Garden

Plants have attractive fragrances that can be eye-opening for kids.

This is also a great garden for a class wiith students who may have tummy issues and are unable to fully enjoy some of the other edible harvests.

Mint (many options are available): spearmint, peppermint, orange mint, pineapple, and even chocolate peppermint (with a tiny hint of chocolate smell).

Agastache: anise or licorice scent. Agastache makes a delicious tea that can remind kids of licorice candy.

Lemon-scented Herbs: lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, and lemongrass are lemon-scented plants you can smell, drink, or eat.

Basil (many options are available): cinnamon basil, lemon basil, Thai basil (anise), holy basil (clove), and lime basil.

Sage: garden sage (used in Thanksgiving dressing), pineapple sage (pineaple scent)

Snacker's Garden

Grow your own healthy snack.





Sunflower Hut Garden

Your sunflower house will be unique due to your available space and the desire of your students. Basically, you will plant your seeds in a large rectangle or circle. When the sunflowers get tall, you will lean them towards each other and tie them together to create a roof-like structure. Don't forget to leave some space unplanted on the perimeter so that the kids can get in and out of the structure. Lay straw or grass in the center of the hut so that the kids will have something nice to walk on.

Encourage the morning glories to grow along the stalks and flowers to make a leafy blue roof for the house.

Sit back and watch the magic begin!


Tea Party Garden
Tea Party Garden

Tea Party Garden

Little girls that love hosting tea parties should get pleasure from a tea party centered garden.


Cinnamon basil



Pineapple sage



Mint (peppermint, orange, pineapple, chocolate)

Grow the plants in old teapots or tea kettles purchased from thrift stores and flea markets. Decorate the center of the garden with a small table for friends.

Tiny Garden by tinyfroglet
Tiny Garden by tinyfroglet

Teeny Tiny Garden

Tabletop Garden Ideas

You will need petite- and dwarf-variety plants for your Teeny Tiny Garden.

Wooly thyme (Thymus Lanuginosus)

Ornamental strawberry (Rosacae)

Irish moss (Sagina suulata)

Blue Star Creeper (Isomtoma)

Baby tears (Soleirolia)

Cranesbill (Erodium reichardi) "Dark Eyes"

Brass Buttons (Leptinella squalida) "Platts Black"




Embellish with small rocks and critters.

What are the benefits of getting kids into the garden?

Youth Gardens are important!

According to, youth gardens:

  1. build an understanding of and respect for nature and our environment;
  2. motivate kids to eat and love fruits and vegetables;
  3. provide opportunities for hands-on learning, inquiry, observation, and


  4. promote physical activity and quality outdoor experiences; and
  5. teach kids to nurture and care for other living things while developing patience.

How do I start a garden at my child's school?

How to Grow a School Garden - pssssst... this is a wonderful volunteer activity for parents.

Growing a school garden can be as small or large of a project as you want it to be. Either way, as with any garden, you will need to developing the concept, plan the garden, organize your supplies, design the space, preparing the site, working with parents/school admnistration/teachers to start the program. Plan to teach in the garden, plant, harvest, and cook with the garden's produce.

Parents and volunteers can prpare the site. Kids and teachers are great resources for planting, watering, and mainiting the garden. Schools with many classrooms can either plant one garden per grade/class or alternate maintenance responsibilities for one school overall school garden.

Act out "Little Brown Seed"

I'm a little brown seed.

Rolled up in a tiny ball.

I'll wait for the rain and sunshine.

To make me big and tall.

Do you have a theme garden? What are your tips for success when gardening with children?

Guestbook - How does your garden grow?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This a wonderful lens with a great theme. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • iijuan12 profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      What fun! I love teaching pre-school using themes and the alphabet. Blessed and liked.

    • GonnaFly profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Fabulous! What about a Water garden with different water plants? Your lens has been blessed and added to my Growing Vegetables and Herbs lens.

    • Rachel Field profile image

      Rachel Field 

      7 years ago

      I love these garden theme ideas :)

    • lemonsqueezy lm profile imageAUTHOR

      lemonsqueezy lm 

      7 years ago

      @KayeSI: You are very welcome. I am hoping to propose a school garden for my child's school next year. I scoured the web for ideas and put them all in one spot for future reference. I hope someone else finds this helpful.

    • KayeSI profile image


      7 years ago

      Oh my - how fun! Not just for kids either. My senior mom would love these for her gardening projects! I'm definitely saving this for future reference. Thank you.

    • trotter2099 lm profile image

      trotter2099 lm 

      7 years ago

      What a great lens! It is a god idea to get kids interested in gardening as it gets them outdoors and teaches them how to grow beautiful plants and food.


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