Aldersgate United Methodist Church


Aldersgate has adopted a long-range plan to landscape its 1.9 acres of green space.  The plan reflects four goals: to provide attractive grounds, benefit the neighborhood, benefit the environment, and offer solace through nature.  A major renovation of its playground is also part of the long-range plan.

Public streets border three sides of the property, providing views and easy access from the neighborhood.  The diagram below shows the plantings and major features.  In addition to trees, shrubs, and perennials, ideas include a rain garden, paths from South Street and Pinedale Avenue leading to a new playground, and an embankment slide.  A pollinator garden planted in the fall of 2016 was the first installation.

 Aldersgate Gardens

The site plan is subject to change. Some of the plantings may be done in phases, subject to available funds, but three grants will allow significant progress in 2017. Aldersgate Church has received funding from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum Green Towns Program, the Lower Platte South Natural Resource District Community Forestry Program, and the City of Lincoln RainScapes Program.

51 Trees

A Community Forestry Grant from the Lower Platte South NRD will help pay for 44 trees, including 27 different species. Other funding sources will bring the total to 51 trees and 30 species. The grant requires that all the trees must be planted by early June 2017. Although subject to minor changes based on availability, the varieties include:
• Kentucky Coffee Tree Golden Rain Tree • Harvest Gold Crabapple American Sentry Linden • Golden Glory Cornelian Cherry Dogwood Northern Catalpa • Windover Gold Ginkgo Trident Maple • Royal Raindrops Crabapple Ohio Buckeye • London Plane Tree Hackberry • Fernleaf Buckthorn Ironwood Ostrya • Royal White Whitebud Royal Star Magnolia • Royal Frost Birch SugarTyme Crabapple • New Horizon Elm Moraine Sweetgum • Overcup Oak Tulip Tree • Sterling Silver Linden White Pine • Norway Spruce Bald Cypress • Frans Fontaine Horbeam Prairie Gold Aspen
• Weeping Mulberry
Hardiness, habitat benefit, flowering habits, providing a wide range of varieties, and unique features of some of the trees were all factors in preparing the list of trees.

Rain Garden
A large rain garden is an important element of the landscaping plan. Runoff from almost an acre of land and fully half of the roof of the church building collects in a swale that begins just south of the playground area and terminates at the northwest corner of the church property on Pinedale Avenue.
The purpose of the rain garden is to provide a last opportunity for runoff to soak into the ground and reduce the flow of water into the storm sewer. The rain garden will also serve as an anchor and entranceway to newly landscaped areas. Aldersgate’s long range plan is to build a path from near the rain garden to the playground to encourage its use by the community.

One resource suggests that a rain garden should be sized to hold and absorb 1” of rain that falls on the drainage area (“Blue Thumb Guide to Raingardens,” page 13). For an area 1 acre in size, this translates to 3,630 cubic feet, which is a much larger number than is feasible for the location. A more realistic size would be a rain garden roughly 20’ x 40’ with an average depth of 6”. Although holding only 400 or so cubic feet, this would still contribute to the City of Lincoln’s watershed management goals. In the future, Aldersgate may be able to establish one or more rain gardens upstream that increase the total holding capacity. Additional rain gardens in the future might intercept runoff from roof drains on the north side of the building.

Eventually, pathways will lead from South Street and Pinedale Avenue to the new playground. When built, the will be designed to meet accessibility requirements in terms of surface material, width, and slope. They will provide easy access to the playground and much of the landscaped area for people with mobility challenges – and for parents pushing strollers.


The current playground is deteriorating, unattractive, and uninviting. Play opportunities are limited – swings, a slide, a fort – and there is little to stimulate the imagination or encourage exploration. A major renovation of the playground is part of the long-range plan, but funding will be a challenge. More information is available at:

Questions?  Comments?

For more information or to offer comments and suggestions, please leave a message on our Contact Us page:
We welcome your ideas.   

Want to Help?
We need and welcome your help, whether it is volunteering labor or financial contributions. If you enjoy working outdoors and would like to be involved in installing or maintaining the gardens, send an email using the Contact Us page, or call the church office at (402) 489-1510.
Donations are needed for many things not covered by available grants. These include:
• Benches
• Paths from South Street and Pinedale Avenue to the playground area
• Entrance signs at each of the paths
• Playground equipment and installation
• Additional plantings – the next phases call for more shrubs in the garden areas depicted in the diagram above and also sustainable landscaping surrounding the parking lot.

Send donations to Aldersgate United Methodist Church at 8320 South Street, Lincoln, NE 65806.

All contributions are welcome and appreciated.