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Lifehouse Preschool

From a single grassy campus to a landscape that connects students to nature. Lifehouse Preschool is creating spaces that help connect students to nature.



Sometimes efficiency overlooks possibility. A school landscape with mowed grass and trimmed edges may be manageable, but does it best serve children? Leaders at Lifehouse Preschool desire every part of their campus to communicate their intentions to provide healthy child development experiences. They asked us: How can we landscape our school entry in a way that adds beauty, excites children and parents when they arrive, and also communicates our commitment to providing nature-based experiences?

PLANTS USED: Plains oval sedge, fox sedge, bicknells sedge, prairie dropseed

PLANTS USED: Aromatic aster, black-eyed Susan


After listening closely to their philosophy and vision, and in collaboration with local child development specialist, Joe Pounds, we created a garden that welcomes birds, butterflies and children alike.

A winding path invites the children to wander and wonder among the native prairie grasses, sedges, and flowers. Boulders and stumps welcome the children to be still for a moment and notice the beauty that surrounds them. Not far away, we also designed spaces to include a dry creek bed, an underground tunnel, and large logs to climb under, over, and through. It all serves as a place that allows children to safely engage in critical thinking, strengthening activities, and even teamwork. Ultimately, the nature-based focus helps children realize they are part of something bigger than themselves.

“Teachers use this beautiful space as an outdoor classroom and children love it! It is attractive but also engaging for children as they develop skills and discover their place in the world.”

Shannon GraceDirector of Lifehouse Preschool

Slide to see the transformation