New raingarden at Normandale Hills Elementary

Image of people removing sod from a grassy sloped area
Preparing the garden bed for planting by removing sod

Planting a school raingarden

In early spring 2021, students, parents and staff of Normandale Hills Elementary transformed what was a grassy low spot into a beautiful raingarden. This basin had been installed as part of a larger renovation project a few years ago, and all that was needed was some elbow grease to make it bloom.

District staff worked with a small group of teachers, administrators, and a parent volunteer for over a year to plan the layout of the raingarden. Despite the pandemic and the ever-changing landscape of schooling, this partnership persevered.

Image of two girls planting flowers in a mulched garden bed. One is holding empty pots, and one is crouched down, smiling at the camera
Planting native flowers

Parents and student volunteers prepared the shallow basin by removing sod, adding compost, and adding mulch. By doing these things, they were giving the new plants a head start on weeds and lawn grass that might otherwise have invaded the newly exposed soil.

After that, 5th graders helped plant over 400 native flowers and shrubs in this space, and 4th graders helped with the nearby vegetable gardens. All of the plants are pollinator favorites, and will also attract many different bird species. As an added bonus, students made stepping stones in art class that were also installed to create a path through the raingarden. Teachers plan to use this garden in the future as part of their lessons, giving students a real world application for the things they are learning about.

Image of children planting flowers in a mulched rain garden bed
5th graders at Normandale Hills plant the raingarden

Thank you volunteers!

We could not have done this without the help of over 100 volunteers. Thank you all for your time and effort.

Funding partner

The District and Normandale Hills Elementary School are excited to complete this project with the help of a grant from the MN River Valley Audubon Chapter. Visit their webpage here: