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Mobile Schoolyard Gardens

San Luis Obispo County, CA | 2018

collaborators: Bret Brown, mural artist; Purlieu Design + Build


Transforming asphalt school yards into living gardens, the Mobile Schoolyard Garden is a permanent installation across seven elementary schools in San Luis Obispo County. The installation creates gardens in schools that have limited or no access to garden space. All elements of the installation (planters and benches) are on wheels, allowing staff and students to rearrange the gardens for teaching and social needs, and to customize the installation based on available space. With limited budget, and a mission to grow the School Garden Sustainability program in the County, the project creates flexible pocket gardens for educational programming, and allows students to influence their own social areas on campus. In collaboration with a local artist, mural panels further enliven these pocket gardens with illustrations of fantastical creatures and plants. The Mobile Schoolyard Garden project was conceived as a result of an intensive community outreach project. Its design rejects notions of conformity and rigid organization in school yard gardens, encouraging a playful attitude towards design, and questioning why spaces for children to learn and grow so often lack imagination.

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Raised planter boxes on wheels allow for rearrangement of the garden to suit the school's future needs. Mural panels by artist Bret Brown feature whimsical animal characters he originally invented for his ten-year old's bedtime stories.

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Faculty and students at each school participated in the installation of the gardens, determining organizations and patterns that met their individual school's needs and culture

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