West Village Association

A beautiful place for social gatherings with four main focal points that all help to reduce stormwater runoff. ​


$2,500 to $5,500











West Village Association installed the Four Seasons lot design in hopes to create a beautiful place for social gatherings. The design, which encompasses a blooming installation for each season, offers four main focal points which could be enjoyed year-round. An added benefit of this project for WVA is that the installation will reduce stormwater runoff.
Lot Type
Special Lot Condition
Project Name
Four Seasons on Van Dyke

West Village Association

A beautiful place for social gatherings with four main focal points that all help to reduce stormwater runoff. ​


West Village Association


$2,500 to $5,500

Project Timeline

03/2016 - 10/2016

Project Leader(s):

West Village Association, Sustainability Committee



Who Else Was Involved:

Metro Central Church of Christ leadership team

Lot Design:

Four Seasons

Lot Type


Lot Size

Single Lot

Lot Address

1463 Van Dyke Detroit. MI 48214

Describe the overall process for transforming your lot.

Shortly after Metro Central Church of Christ moved to the West Village, the church leadership reached out to the neighborhood and expressed their desire to be more involved. They provided meeting space for West Village Association’s (WVA) monthly neighborhood meetings, and the church sponsored WVA special events and they encourage the residents to suggest ways they can be involved. West Village Association worked with the church leadership to transform the east and west borders of their vacant lot. Metro Central Church of Christ is located on Van Dyke, a major city street with heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The lot is mostly gravel with some grass. It is adjacent to an unpaved thoroughfare and an alley that often becomes muddy after medium to heavy rains. The WVA and church leadership selected the Four Seasons Lot Design because we recognized the need to manage stormwater runoff and because the design provided an opportunity to beautify the lot and benefit the environment with trees for shade and plants that attract bees and butterflies. Neighborhood and church volunteers were involved in planning and implementing the Four Seasons Lot Design. We modified the design slightly and are seeking ways through additional plantings, to mitigate soil erosion around the perimeter of the summer, fall and winter gardens. Completion of this project will be a major milestone for WVA’s track record of working towards our Neighborhood Sustainability Framework goals of installing more green stormwater infrastructure in the neighborhood and communicating the benefits of green infrastructure throughout our community.

How were community members involved in the process?

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

Scale and Design: Instead of shaping three of the Four Gardens Lot Design as standalone circles, the gardens are shaped in a softer, contiguous design. We increased the quantity of plants used in our design. We found that due to its size, a commercial lot needed more plants than the quantity recommended in the Field Guide, which is for a residential lot. Because we used volunteer help, we had funds to use towards the purchase of additional plants.

Plant Substitution: With the guidance of our technical adviser, plants were substituted when we were unable to find a Field Guide recommended plant (serviceberry instead of pagoda dogwood, etc.). We decided not to use ground cover that tends to be invasive (mint, periwinkle) and instead, to increase usage of the other Field Guide recommended ground covers (red creeping thyme, oregano).

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


Purpose of the Project:

Beautification, Storm Water Management

Lessons Learned
Land Acquisition


Skill Building

Two volunteers learned to operate an excavator. Regardless of their level of gardening experience, volunteers learned something about sourcing plants, preparing a site, planting, and watering.

Community Engagement

A demonstration of how to install four rain barrels was held for the community. The kick off for our project was held on our neighborhood Motor City Makeover day, which is an annual community event that draws volunteers from the community.


Working with Lots Mini-Grant Program


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

Clearing the lot was most challenging. After volunteers prepared one of the Four Seasons gardens by digging and clearing the garden space of grass, large pieces of concrete and rocks, we determined that it would be too difficult to prepare the remaining three gardens with only volunteer help. So we rented equipment to help the volunteers complete the job.

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

The West Village Association Sustainability Committee will oversee the maintenance. Monthly Neighborhood Association meetings and community events that are held at Metro Central Church of Christ, will provide opportunities to recruit volunteers to assist with maintenance. The church congregation also provides a source of volunteers. We will utilize the maintenance guidelines provided by DFC.