Detroit Film Fatales

A spreading plant design that creates a unique ground coverings in place of the traditional lawn.


$2,500 to $5,500


Volunteer + Professional








Part Shade

Detroit Film Fatales wanted to create a space that would accommodate monthly meet-ups and film screenings. They chose the paisley patch because it is a simple, customizable design that offers fragrant plant mixes that are ideal for a novice gardener.  
Lot Type
Special Lot Condition
Project Name
Film Fatales Detroit Basecamp

Detroit Film Fatales

A spreading plant design that creates a unique ground coverings in place of the traditional lawn.


Detroit Film Fatales


$2,500 to $5,500

Project Timeline


Project Leader(s):

Mandy Moran


Volunteer + Professional

Who Else Was Involved:

Several community leaders and volunteers: Deanna from Detroit Mushroom Factory, Brian from Detroit Farm & Garden, Brad Elling, Mark Mullins, Anthony Iamurri, Steven Pivalsky, Josh Budd, Detroit Water Department, Ed from General Hardwood, Theresa Zajac, and community members

Lot Design:

Paisley Patch

Lot Type


Lot Size

Single Lot

Lot Address

1761 18th St. Detroit, MI 48216

Describe the overall process for transforming your lot.

I chose the Paisley Patch because it was easy to customize, fragrant, and ideal for a novice gardener. First, I cleaned up the lot with Mark Mullins. Next, I upcycled some dresser drawers into raised beds by using the tools at TechShop as well as planted directly into various bald spots around the front of the lot. I had three mature trees planted along the neighbor's property line to serve as part of the friendly privacy fence design after a volunteer removed the part of the back fence so the delivery truck could fit onto the lot. I also bought seven used oak benches and sanded/sealed three of them. I used the metal sander at TechShop to sand some steel table legs to hold some of the planters. With the help of a volunteer, we took down the chain-link fence in front and painted over the graffiti across the street. Two other volunteers unloaded eight bundles of recycled hardwood delivered from General Hardwood for the side fence. I had the hardware store reverse-engineer a hydrant hose hookup after paying for one month of water from the water department. I still haven't been able to get water, but the neighbors generously volunteered to water my plants in the meantime. The next ongoing phase is to have fence post holes dug, install the fence posts and then proceeded building the fence from the wood provided. I will also plant more herbs once the water situation is more secure.

How were community members involved in the process?

Community members helped out at most of the critical stages to lend an extra hand, share valuable advice and encourage the progress.

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

The nature of the lot design was customizable, so I will continue to adapt to my space through trial and error since so many of the necessary skills and knowledge are new to me. While the diverse challenges have been ongoing, the breadth of experience this project has encouraged has been extremely rewarding.

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


Purpose of the Project:

Beautification, Meet-up Space

Lessons Learned
Land Acquisition

Already owned the lot.

Skill Building

I learned more practical skills in the past couple months than I probably ever have. Everything from the basics of gardening to using woodworking tools, metal tools, acquiring deconstruction skills and fence-building techniques. I also learned a ton of information about the minutiae of building codes and other legalities involved with owning and maintaining land in Detroit. I also became more comfortable communicating with skilled tradespeople and asking for help.

Community Engagement

My film group has already met up at the lot and were enthusiastic about the progress and growth potential of this space. I'd like to consider additional uses for the space as it grows, and encourage other creative and leadership-oriented groups to use the space as a meeting ground to organize cultural gatherings.


I received I will continue to build out my space by consistently applying to other fundraising opportunities such as fellowships and grants.



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

The wide range of skills needed to implement my ever-evolving design centered on upcycled materials was consistently challenging. However, Detroit proved rich in knowledgeable people with resourceful ideas once I found the right places to look for help.

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

I plan to water the lot every week besides the winter months. Within a year, I plan to install plumbing for a secure water connection, but will use the hydrant in the meantime. I will also add plants as my gardening skills ideally progress, and access to water becomes easier.