Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation

A rain garden and living fence that will deter unsafe activities




Volunteer + Professional








Part Sun

The Stahelin Ave. Project was a result of years of volunteerism, and the demolition of numerous homes on the street. In total, 10 parcels were targeted for beautification. The Friendly Fence lot design was selected because it was a beautiful way to add aesthetic to the block on a parcel that sat between two homes.  
Lot Type
Special Lot Condition
Project Name
The First Friendly Fence

Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation

A rain garden and living fence that will deter unsafe activities



Project Timeline


Project Leader(s):

Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation, Chelsea Neblett Stahelin Avenue Project, Beverly Frederick and Clarenda Webb


Volunteer + Professional

Who Else Was Involved:

North Rosedale Park, Classic Landscape, many, many volunteers

Lot Design:

Friendly Fence

Lot Type


Lot Size

Single Lot

Lot Address

16786 Stahelin, Detroit, MI 48219

Describe the overall process for transforming your lot.

The Friendly Fence implementation on Stahelin was a part of a larger resident-led vision for the street. Stahelin Ave. had a very active community of engagement surrounding the street to help maintain vacant homes, and advocate for the demolition of dangerous properties. Volunteers in North Rosedale Park had been active on the street doing almost weekly cleanup and beautification events for a number of years.

The Stahelin Ave. Project was a result of years of volunteerism, and the demolition of numerous homes on the street. In total, 10 parcels were targeted for beautification. There were many planning meetings, and fundraising goals set.

The Friendly Fence lot treatment was selected because this specific lot was in between two occupied homes, in the middle of the block. It felt like a beautiful way to share the new side lot space that would benefit the overall aesthetic of the block.

We were fortunate to be able to hire a contractor to assist in the earth grading, and earth moving needed for the treatment. A mixture of volunteer and professional assistance was executed on this lot.

Why did your organization choose to undertake a project that involved incorporating the Field Guide to Working with Lots?

Around the time that the community was exploring options for structure free lots, GRDC learned of an upcoming project, The Field Guide. We were eager to partner with Detroit Future City and the consultants in order to learn from their expertise. Although there had been intervention on structure free land in our community before, this type of green infrastructure implementation and vacant lot repurposing was a newer concept for our organization and for our community. It was critical that we used to information from the lot guide to inform our decisions with residents.

How did implementing the Field Guide fit into your organization’s larger mission?

Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation works to preserve and improve the Grandmont Rosedale Neighborhoods of northwest Detroit. We take a comprehensive approach to community revitalization, with programs designed to renovate vacant homes, assist local homeowners and businesses, beautify our community and keep our neighborhoods safe and vibrant.

What was the most surprising thing you’ve learned from using the Field Guide?

That GSI is expensive, and there is no such thing as a maintenance free lot treatment!

Did Detroit Future City provide any technical assistance? How was your experience of that component, if so?

This installation was before the Field Guide was officially published, we were able to get technical assistance in a non-traditional way. We definitely wouldn’t have been able to implement with such a high level of success if it wasn’t for the team at DFC.

How were community members involved in the process?

We had a core group of residents who were a part of the planning process for the Stahelin Avenue Project. Additionally, we held community wide meetings to gauge people’s level of interested, their like’s and dislike’s, what they envisioned for the lot and the larger block vision.

During the large community planning sessions, we focused on inviting people who live on the street. We flyered every house and worked with the block captains to increase attendance. We also invited neighbors throughout the community who have gardening, landscape, and other pertinent experience to attend and share their knowledge. We did survey’s, hands-on activities, toured the space, and planned many volunteer days. The turn-out and participation level was great. This can be attributed to the fact that there was so much community engagement around the street even before the project. The lot treatments were truly community led, and it showed in the level of resident involvement.

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

No, we followed the lot design as outlined. 

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


Purpose of the Project:


Lessons Learned
Land Acquisition


Skill Building


Community Engagement






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

The project management, ordering supplies, managing deliveries, contractor and volunteer schedules were hard to coordinate. It was important that we added contingencies to our schedule. If one piece of the project was behind schedule, everything else had to be moved. We also had weather related set-backs.

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

We schedule monthly weeding sessions with volunteers for the hedge, and rain garden as part of the Friendly Fence treatment. Many volunteers find the work fun, and it is a great way to spend social time with your neighbors while helping.