Build It Detroit

Four season gardens designed to transform a debris ridden space to a community sanctuary.


$2,500 to $5,500


Volunteer + Professional








Part Shade

Build It Detroit, has worked to create an aesthetic area that also looks to engage and empower community members. They installed the Four Seasons lot design to revitalize the community they serve, which had been ridden with blight and disinvestment due to vacancy and demolitions. The installation of this lot design was their first step to ensuring that attention is given to the vacant land, with an overall goal that includes creating an environment that brings community wellness.  

Lot Type
Special Lot Condition
Project Name
Lenore Avenue Family Park

Build It Detroit

Four season gardens designed to transform a debris ridden space to a community sanctuary.


Build It Detroit


$2,500 to $5,500

Project Timeline


Project Leader(s):

Art Whitefield, Robin Hurley, David Hurley, and Art Whitefield


Volunteer + Professional

Who Else Was Involved:

Members of Harvest Christian Church and community residents

Lot Design:

Four SeasonsClean + Green

Lot Type


Lot Size

Double Lot

Lot Address

19230 Lenore Ave., Detroit, MI 48219

Describe the overall process for transforming your lot.

The first step to transforming the lot was to remove an existing abandoned house that was beyond rehabilitation. That house and several trees on the lot were removed with separate funding. The next step: a small back hoe was used to prepare the soil. This involved removing the existing debris, grass and brush, etc. The soil was then tilled. After the soil was tilled, we had to bring in piles of dirt and compost to enrich the existing soil. Finally, trees and plants were added using the Field Guide instructions and the area was mulched to deter weeds and cut down on water loss.

Did you customize your lot design? If so, how?

Because some plants and trees were more expensive than anticipated, and because of the unavailability of key plants, some plant substitutions were made. There were certain plants we couldn’t find when planting due to seasonable availability. We couldn’t find tulips, for example, because they weren’t in

Is your current project part of a larger plan, goal, or initiative within your community?


Purpose of the Project:

Beautification, Public Open Space, Other: Recreation-Physical Fitness and Family Time

Lessons Learned
Land Acquisition

Build It Detroit already owned four adjacent lots prior to submitting our application.

Skill Building

Our project managers had the required skills since this is their profession. Skills that they taught our volunteers were: proper site preparation, planting, spacing, and watering.

Community Engagement

Unfortunately, the neighborhood residents who volunteered to assist were unavailable when it was time to plant. Church volunteers filled the gap.


We were able to obtain funding from Detroit Future City for the Working with Lots Mini-Grant program. No other fundraising specific to this project was done. We are funded by Harvest Christian Church and through contributions made by congregation members.



What was challenging about this process, and how did you adapt?

We encountered many challenges, but not with the funding, DFC Staff, or the Field Guide.  The inability to begin the demolition, the need to substitute the varieties of plants, and a car being stolen in the midst of the project were some of the challenges we faced. But we proudly completed the project.

What is the maintenance plan for this project after its first year?

A large part of Build It Detroit’s focus is on the rehabilitation of houses and providing suitable low- income housing for area residents. Many of these people gladly volunteered their services. We enlist these volunteers monthly to spruce up vacant lots that have been beautified in our neighborhood, particularly the Four Seasons Lot Design. Residents adjacent to the park where that lot design was implemented are responsible for watering plants on the lot on an as needed basis. We plan to install benches or a seating area so people can more easily gather there and enjoy the beauty that the lot design brings to the neighborhood. Our plan is to never abandon our vision and mission!