About Aldersgate Garden


The vision for Aldersgate Gardens is to benefit the environment and serve the community by providing habitat for wildlife, immersion in nature, and nature-based play for children.


In 2016, Aldersgate United Methodist Church began a major transformation of its 1.9 acres of green space.  So far through the fall of 2022, the church has planted 118 trees, 669 shrubs, 1160 perennials, 393 grass plants, and 4708 grass plugs. Plantings include many different varieties of plants that were chosen for their tolerance of drought or being native to this region. Plant markers provide the common and scientific names of many plants, and an online catalog provides additional details of what is growing at Aldersgate Gardens.  The nature-based playground features swings, a two-level fort, a 6’x10’x1.5’ sand pit, a 3,000 lb. section from an ash tree as a climbing structure and a 7’ tall hill slide.  

Future Plans

Creating a park that is as much like a natural setting as possible will require several more years of intensive plantings to replace large sections of turf grass.  Eventually, a network of paths will connect different areas of interest and lead visitors to explore more of the park and experience the wide array of trees, shrubs, and perennials that make up Aldersgate Gardens.  Eventually, groundcovers will replace wood mulch as the primary method for weed control.  

Improvements to the playground will include a new swing set for older children and outdoor fitness equipment.  A little free library will house a range of children’s books, information on nature-based landscaping, and other topics.  It would also house a supply of magnifying glasses and binoculars for children to explore the natural world.  A frisbee golf course with non-traditional targets made of natural materials is a possibility.    

Future plans will depend upon available time and funding.  For spring 2023, a major grant from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum will allow landscaping a 6,000 sq. ft. area with 6 trees, 144 shrubs, and 400 perennials.   


Aldersgate Gardens and Playground would not have been possible without the assistance of many individuals and organizations.  Aldersgate United Methodist Church has provided the land, some funding used as match for the initial grant, and many volunteers.  Neighbors have contributed time, assisted with watering, cost-share on a drainage project, and much encouragement.  Hofeling Enterprises donated and delivered the 3,000-pound log in the playground and five large tree sections. 

Funding came from grants, memorial funds, and individual donations.  Sources of grants included: the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, City of Lincoln Rainscaping Program, City of Lincoln Street Tree Voucher Program, and Lincoln Parks Foundation.  The Nebraska Environmental Trust was the original funding source for several of these programs.  In addition to several grants, the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum has provided technical assistance and much encouragement.  Luann Finke of Finke Gardens and Nursery was the landscape architect for Aldersgate Gardens from 2016 through 2021.  

Aldersgate has benefited from three Boy Scout Eagle Service projects representing two local Scout troops.  The first project landscaped the parking lot islands; the second planted the shrubs and perennials along 84th Street, and the third installed the entrance signs located next to the sidewalks on South Street and Pinedale Avenue.


Aldersgate Gardens is a Landscape Steward Affiliate Site of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, a charter member of the Children and Nature Network, and a certified Nebraska Pollinator Habitat.  Aldersgate UMC participates in the Faith to Forest project.   


Aldersgate United Methodist Church

8320 South Street

Lincoln, Nebraska 68506

Office Phone: 402-489-1510

Email: [email protected]