Landscapers Provide Courtyard Makeover at Milwaukee School

25 companies donate labor, equipment and materials to replace mulch, plant beds, prune, seed and more.

WLCA Carmen School 1 582e08cd21e60

The Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association (WLCA) Metro Milwaukee Chapter recently completed a community service project valued at $35,000.

Carmen School of Science and Technology serves a diverse enrollment of low-income students in Milwaukee. The project began with a WLCA Metro Milwaukee Chapter member, Landworks Inc. in Sussex, WI, who helped the kids work on a conceptual plan for their inner courtyard. The kids call the courtyard the “heartbeat of their school.” It was in need of some work.

Last fall, the kids—with help from Landworks and several landscape materials donor firms—started some phase-1 landscape projects. Those projects included major invasive tree removals, along with the creation of several plant bed areas comprised of native shrubs and perennial species such as viburnum, chokeberry, coneflower, butterfly weed and blackeyed Susan. With help from the local carpenter’s union branch, the kids also built several authentic Aldo Leopold park benches and picnic tables to use in the area.

WLCA member volunteers from 10 companies rallied together to help the students. Those 10 companies donated labor, equipment and materials. Additionally, 15 other companies also made donations.

The project was completed in late October. Other highlights included:

  • Replacing current bark mulch path with a gravel path to make it more wheelchair-accessible.
  • Planting native shrubs, perennial species and pollinator plantings, including American Filbert, chokeberry, viburnum, aster, goldenrod and coneflower.
  • Built garden boxes for edible plantings that the kids will plant next spring. Those boxes are likely to include quick-yielding vegetables and herbs that can be harvested by the time school lets out in mid-June.
  • Three columnar dwarf apple trees were planted as space-efficient edibles.
  • Rework a pond that had fallen into disrepair.
  • Pruning, tree trimming, weeding, bed edging topdressing and seeding.

The project was recently featured on the Landscape Professionals Advance America section of the National Association of Landscape Professionals website.