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Outdoor Greening

Sacred Greenspaces

Are you planning to green your sacred outdoor space? Looking for ways to conserve water indoors and out, how to begin a community garden, or share practical tips on tree-planting, landscaping, or pollinator gardens?

Scroll down to learn more about what faith communities are doing and ways to get involved!

We will continue to update this page with new resources, your suggestions and our favourite shining examples of outdoor greening.

  • Planting at Solel Synagogue
  • Close-compost Screening
  • Earth Banner
  • Groundbreaking at Trinity Nazarene
  • Interfaith planting April 2011
  • Muslim Mennonite gardening event
  • Monarch butterfly

Ontario 150 Projects

We are excited to have participated in Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017 through the Ontario 150 Youth Partnership Program. Growing Community: Engaging Diverse Youth to Strengthen Ontario’s Tapestry of Urban Gardens (Growing Community) has engaged young people from diverse faith and cultural backgrounds to design, plant, and… Continue Reading

Community Gardens

Start a community garden! Help provide space for local, healthy food by creating community garden plots on your faith property. It’s a way to show your faith in action through outreach to the community, and can be combined with other programs and community engagement such as seed-saving and seed-swap events, contributions to your local food bank, hosting local food or 100 mile dinners… Continue Reading

Pollinator Gardens

Pollinators are critical for biodiversity and food security; they are also often a powerful symbol of rebirth and spirituality. Adding a pollinator garden to your faith property combines beautification, community outreach, and ecological support for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. They need our help; pollinator populations are in decline… Continue Reading

Tree-planting and Harvesting

Your congregation can contribute to your local community and the climate by planting native trees on your personal or place of worship property, or by participating in local community tree-planting events.Many regions have local initiatives for tree-planting.Here are a few programs we have heard about… Continue Reading


Outdoor Greening Resources

Do you have some keen volunteer gardeners within your faith community?  Are you looking for inspiration to help you decide what to do with your large expanse of suburban lawn?  Does your congregation want to review sustainability and biodiversity considerations in regards to the property landscaping?  Get inspired to take on a Care for Creation outdoor greening project by reading about local garden case studies that include downtown urban community gardens, peaceful meditation gardens and a legacy rooftop garden or review environmental actions that can be taken in your garden with our ten fact sheets that will help you encourage a sustainable approach to your place of worship’s landscaping.


Read how other faith communities are expanding their mission outdoors through various gardens including xeriscape, labyrinth, pollinator, sacred medicine wheel and wildflower gardens. In the following case studies you will find examples of both larger suburban projects along with small urban sites including sidewalks. Some gardens were initiated with very little money, while others sought out grants and other financial support. Find out how your garden team can do the same with a review of our case studies that include lessons learned and keys to success! A special thanks to our funders the Ottawa Community Foundation and the City of Ottawa (CEPGP) and all the faith communities who shared their stories, photos and enthusiasm for their Care for Creation outdoor projects with us!


1.PNGKitchissippi United Church - Depave Project

Kitchissippi United Church transformed a grey asphalt courtyard into a green lush entranceway that parishioners and building tenants benefit from and enjoy. Green landscapes can help soak up rainwater and lessen the burden of local storm water and sewer systems while also cooling down microclimates that add to the heat island effect of cities...Download 

1.PNGTrinity Presbyterian Church (Kanata) - Pollinator Garden

The Trinity Presbyterian pollinator garden in Kanata is home to native plants that provide nectar and pollen to beneficial insects and birds. Native pollinators are an essential component to the ecology of plants, ensuring that flowers are fertilized and food can grow. Supporting a variety of pollinators promotes a strong, biodiverse local ecosystem...Download 

1.PNGTrinity United Church – Wildflower Garden

Trinity United Church’s wildflower garden initially conceived by their Church in Society Committee, was installed in the back lawn of the faith community’s property and has evolved over time.time. Native wildflowers are better able to survive local conditions including temperatures and drought and require less maintenance including pesticides than their more exotic counterparts...Download 

First Unitarian – Meditation Garden

The First Unitarian Meditation Gardens have been designed and maintained by the First Unitarian church over the past twenty years for the benefit of all groups on the sixacre campus plus visitors from the entire city. It was designed to be an urban oasis for “relaxation, restoration, observation and meditation”....Download 

Centretown United Church – Sidewalk Community Garden

At Centretown United Church, raised sidewalk planters that held trees for more than 30 years have been transformed by the installation of a community garden. Something valuable has been created from the derelict empty planters for the church, the community and for Centre 507, a downtown Drop-In...Download 

1.PNGSt. Luke's Anglican – Sidewalk Community Garden

Empty spaces that had once held city shade trees for more than 30 years have been transformed by St. Luke’s Parish through the installation of gardens to grow fresh produce for the local St. Luke’s Table meal program. These gardens are now a valuable community asset and have brought back to life a..Download 

1.PNGThe Anglican Parish of March - St. John's Church - Outdoor Labyrinth

St John’s Church in Kanata provides an outdoor meditation experience for both its congregation and the larger neighbourhood community with their labyrinth garden. An outdoor labyrinth is a versatile addition to a faith community. A labyrinth walk is a spiritual and meditative tool that can be used for various purposes. It’s also a pleasant and unique landscape design that...Download 

Glebe St. James United Church – Medicine Wheel

The Glebe-St. James United Church Sacred Medicine Wheel garden is a visible sign of the faith community’s allyship with First Nation communities. A Medicine Wheel garden represents the cycles of nature and is grown for medicinal purposes and harvested to be used as peace offerings. The First Nation relationship with...Download 

1.PNGKnox United Church – Community Garden

With a large expanse of lawn, support from the City of Ottawa’s Community Garden Network Fund and a generous bequest, Knox United Church has created a wonderful local gardening space that is open to both congregants and community members. Community gardens such as these allow people to grow local healthy fresh produce that doesn’t have to ..Download 

Special Faith Community & Cultural Gardens

This case study shares some of the details of three other special faith community and cultural gardens found in Ottawa. They are an inspiration for their ingenuity, community spirit and cultural significance. Each has a unique focus and approach and have been successful in gathering local support and volunteer dedication....Download 








Let your sacred space be an example for your Care for Creation mission! Learn about sustainable practices for water and energy including xeriscaping, rain gardens and waterwise strategies in the new Outdoor Greening Fact Sheets. Read about the possibilities of turning a section of your faith community property into an ecological haven for wildlife including pollinators such as insects and birds. Get to know more about the benefits of planting native species of grasses, flowers, shrubs and trees for your new meditation or prayer garden or in your memorial grounds. A special thanks to our funders the Ottawa Community Foundation and the City of Ottawa (CEPGP) for supporting the creation of these local resources!

Also included is a Gardening Primer – a great introduction to Outdoor Greening that includes:
Determining Congregational Goals and Resources, Garden Location, Spiritual Symbolism in your Garden, Writing a Great Proposal, Planning for the Garden, Organizing the Planting Day, Planting Techniques, Mulching and General Maintenance.

Fact Sheets:

1. Sustainable Lawns, Groundcovers and Alternatives
2. Landscaping for energy-savings
3. Stormwater Management
4. Water Conservation and Drought-tolerant Landscaping
5. Hedgerows
6. Choosing and planting Native Trees & Shrubs
7. Wildlife-friendly Garden
8. Bird-friendly Garden
9. Urban Meadows
10. Special Purpose Gardens: Healing, Meditation, Medicine Wheel, Labyrinth Gardens
Outdoor Greening Primer

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