LA guerrilla gardeners turning urban wastelands into public gardens

Sebastian von Holstein
Monday, 10th June 2013

You've no doubt heard of the guerrilla gardening movement. These are the incredible, sometimes faceless people who unconditionally regenerate urban areas.

Of course, permaculture often focuses on food production, but here there is also an important emphasis on aesthetics. Urban wastelands, wide roads, concrete schools everywhere sing to the tune of modernity. By contrast, the carefully planned balance of edibles and colourful decorative plants and flowers in Guerilla Gardening injects life into the forgotten roadsides and bland streetsides.

In this night-time subculture, where garden tools become weapons, strangers become friends, life is created, and weeds and litter are removed. While there is a highly artistic element in the process of guerrilla gardening, Rebecca Pontius of The Los Angeles Guerrilla Gardeners believes "the most important is the building of community".

Some top tips for Guerrilla Gardening

Finding plants that work well in your chosen area.

Stick to low-maintenance, self-seeding, low watering varieties.

Think about the best spots for your projects and who they will benefit. Will it be near a school, someone's home, a highly-visible public space?

Small is great! A large plot will be harder for you and others to maintain. Furthermore, small can have just as much of an impact. Even a tiny explosion of colourful flora will put a smile on people's faces! 

More great Resources for budding Guerilla Gardeners

Read: Can we make our cities sustainable with permaculture?

Discussion: What if permaculturists designed our cities?

Watch: California's urban Guerrilla Grafters in action

Read: How to make space-saving vertical raised beds for urban green spaces 

Watch: New York's rooftop farmers 

Read our reviews of:

Permaculture in Pots: How to Grow Food in Small Urban Spaces

The London Garden Book A-Z

COMING SOON: Read about our upcoming book Edible Cities: Urban Permaculture for Gardens, Balconies, Rooftops and Beyond