The Episcopal Homes Midway campus is 5 acres in the heart of St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood.  It is home to a diverse community of elders with different abilities and needs. Seven connected buildings provide a full range of living options including independent, assisted living, memory care, transitional care, and long term care.

In late 2014, Episcopal Home’s staff contacted us about doing a permaculture plan for their campus.  We began the design process by gathering input from residents, staff and management. Through surveys and a “Landscape Launch Party,” we engaged nearly 100 residents in imagining a master landscape plan for their campus. The residents wanted places to walk, sit and watch birds. They wanted plants reminiscent of previous gardens: peonies, lilacs and rhubarb, and they wanted more native plants, shrubs and fruit-bearing trees. Some wanted to work in the garden. Others wanted beautiful outdoor spaces to sit and enjoy the beauty, to read, to watch grandchildren play, or to visit with friends.

The theme that emerged from the design process was: Minnesota Stories: People and Places so we designed 11 spaces geared towards meeting the communities’ goals.  When complete, the restoration of this parcel of urban land will create an oasis in the city that integrates healthy land, community gathering and exercise spaces, food production, and wildlife habitat.  It will be a new model for reintegrating elders with nature.


  • Create healthy interactive landscapes with different levels of activity and engagement
  • Draw people to the outdoors by creating beautiful social spaces
  • Expand opportunities for intergenerational connection, play and learning
  • Build habitat for birds, butterflies, and other urban wildlife as well as places of beauty and comfort
  • Use signage, poetry and sculpture to evoke memories
  • Give special attention to winter interest and views from above
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