- Who owns it? (if it is Council land, permission must be sought from the General Manager prior to the submission of the DA) What is it currently used for?
- What is the zoning? (eg church, school, state government owned, road reserve, open space etc)
- Will the project conflict with the current land use?
- Is there a flooding issue?
- What size area is needed? What size is available?
- Is there good access to the site?
- Is there access to public transport?
- Is there good northern light? Is there protection from wind? Is there a good water supply?
- Will you require a licence agreement?
- What will the garden look like?
- What is the surrounding land use?
- What is the current ground cover (concrete, grass, gravel etc)?
- Does it have a weed infestation?
- How much of the site is really suitable for a garden?
- Are there existing structures? Are there existing services?
- Are there major roads nearby (pollution, noise)?
- Is the site safe for small children?
Include a labelled aerial photograph (Google earth) showing the location and local context, existing types of residential structures (high density, free standing dwellings etc), existing structures, existing trees and footpaths etc.
- Is it in an area that has plenty of passive surveillance (eyes on the streets)?
- Is it busy?
- Is it near transport and shops?
- Is it on a path that is used regularly?
- Who lives in the area?
- What is the age group?
- Are there a lot of people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds?
- What is the employment level?
- Do they rent or own their own homes?
- What is the locality? How will you integrate with the local community?
- Is there a way of working with them that will advantage your project (collaborative projects and ideas, minimisation of vandalism, access to resources or funding etc
- Will there be excessive noise?
- Will there be access for non-gardeners?
- Will gardeners cause a parking problem?
Integration with local community
- Consider including local groups such as CALD, disabilities, church, local schools, unemployed groups, general community.
- Also consider the ramifications of housing types in area and the needs that may result.
- Are there local businesses nearby that might be interested in supporting a community garden (nurseries, restaurants)?
Partnership with the City of Ryde
- Will the garden partner with Council for waste education, water conservation, biodiversity, energy efficiency, nutritional health, native plant and wildlife education etc?
- What strategies will you employ to minimise vandalism?
- What level of theft is acceptable?
- How secure is the site? Is it near other community facilities? Can it be easily seen from nearby shops or houses? Is there lighting?
- What is the crime rate in the area?
- What are the ramifications of a high fence (2m)/low fence (1200mm), locked gate/unlocked gate?
- Are there restrictions regarding fencing?
- Has professional design advice been sought?
- Have you considered/are you designing for low-waste, integrated soil fertility management, sustainability, water management, solar access, integrated pest management, windbreaks, biodiversity, education, accessibility, sociability, safety, access and equity, cultural diversity?
- Will some potentially invasive species be disallowed?
- How will you ensure solar access for all plots?
- How will you ensure that animals (if kept) are secure?
- How will stormwater be managed?
Structure of garden
- Edible, educational, revegetation – be clear as to your intentions.
- Is the garden organic? If so, will this require education of new gardeners?
- What plants will be grown?
- Is there enough room (fruit trees require a little more space and must not be near a public pathway)?
- What animals will be kept?
- What garden structures will be needed (how will they be financed)?
- What training is needed for members?
- Do the soils need to be tested (sodic soil, contamination, history of site etc)?
- Will the garden participate in the Seed Savers Network?
- Will there be permanent or casual staff, a co-ordinator or design consultant?
- How will water be used and conserved in the garden (water tanks, irrigation, mulching etc)?
- Will tools be communal? Is a lockable shed needed?
- How many water tanks are required?
- How many wheel barrows, hoses, watering cans?
- Is a propagating shed needed?
- Will there be a library?
- Is a notice board required?
- Is education required in the use of equipment?
- Will compost bins be bought or constructed?
- Composting, mulching, worm farming, reuse of materials – will these items require education?
- How will you manage perceived problems (smells, rats etc)?
Health and safety
- How will you manage poisonous or allergenic plants?
- Consider trip hazards, sharp edges etc in the design.
- How will you reduce risk with manure, soil and compost?
- How will you store and manage the use of poisons and pesticides?
- How will you manage the use of heavy loads such as wheel barrows?
- Will members require education regarding potentially hazardous materials and situations?
- Where will you keep the first aid kit?
- Will you have members trained in first aid?
Access and equity
- How will you ensure the garden is accessible to all? (older people, people with disabilities)
Structure of organisation
- Will it be incorporated?
- Will there be shared plots or only individual allotments?
- How long will a plot lie inactive before it is reallocated?
- Is the garden only open to members or will it be open to others for educational purposes?
- How will decisions be made?
- How will you find new members?
- How will you resolve conflict?
- Who will keep records and what form will they take?
- Will there be a roster for specific tasks?
- Will there be a log book?
- Will there be specific working groups/working bees?
- Will there be orientation days for new members (policies and procedures, health and safety, training and education, rights and responsibilities)?
- Is there a focus on community building (social events, community outreach)?
- Do you need a bank account? Do you need a treasurer?
- What will the joining fee be? What will the annual fee be? Will it be charged annually or quarterly?
- How much do you need to raise to do your ‘special’ projects?
- How much do you need to raise to set up/construct the project?
- How much do you need to cover running costs on an annual basis?
- Have you considered the costs involved in promotion?
- What will the cost be for set up materials and tools?
- Do you need an ABN?
Grants and funding
- Have you researched the grants and funding that may be available to you?
- Think broadly and do plenty of research - there are websites dedicated to grants funding.
- Will you run ‘events’ or open days to raise funds? If you are thinking of running events, what are the insurance requirements?
- What sort of insurance do you need?
- How will you pay for it?
- Have you considered all the possibilities that might go wrong or hold up your plans?
- How will you ensure that there is enough interest and energy to keep the project going in the long term?