Mounds of Fun

Three playful mounds create an area for play and informal gatherings.

SunPart Shade








Sun, Part Shade

This lot design features three large mounds of varying sizes. The mounds can be constructed for a number of activities, such as a dog park, a sculptural art space or an informal playground.

The Mounds of Fun is suitable for a single lot, but can be more versatile and have a greater impact if implemented across multiple lots, creating a unique landscape.

The mound design is ideal for a community park or playground. The back mound is designed to accommodate a children’s slide.

Ideal Location: Residential lot in sun to shade (near a school or community hub is ideal).


The Mounds of Fun is a moderately priced lot design that requires importing soil and forming the soil into mounds. The Field Guide recommends hiring a professional contractor to assist you with this aspect of the lot design. The soil is the most expensive element in this lot design and soil prices fluctuate across seasons. If you work with knowledgeable volunteers to build this lot design, you will still need to rent or borrow earth moving equipment. The cost assumes that residents and volunteers have access to basic safety gear and garden tools.

Vegetation and Visibility

This lot design reduces some visibility from the street to the alley. The tallest mound is to the back of the lot, preserving high and clear visibility close to the street.

Planting Type

Most Interesting Season

Photo © Detroit Future City


The Field Guide recommends hiring a professional to build this project, or at least to install the earthwork portion of the lot design. With the help of your friends, family or neighbors, this project will take at least three weekends. A large group of volunteers organized by a knowledgeable lot leader will be able to complete this in less time. If you would like to install only the plants yourself, please follow the step-by-step directions provided.

Build Time Estimate

Four hands or more! The volunteer planting part of this lot design should take one weekend to complete. The Field Guide recommends hiring a professional for assistance with the earthworks part of this lot design. Earthmoving is a craft—when in doubt, reach out for help! If you proceed to build this without professional assistance, construction will take a few weekends.

Build Difficulty

Number of People Needed

Neighbor Labor

Time Taken to Build

Build Season

Transportation Intensity

Permit Requirements


The maintenance needed for the Mounds of Fun are similar to, but more than, a traditional lawn. At first, low-maintenance fescue will require weekly watering and weeding.

Plan ahead and remember to think about where and how you will access water for your seedlings over the next month!

The fescue should be mowed once a year in the early fall; however, the shape and slope of the mounds may make mowing difficult with a standard mower. Consider using a weed whip or other special equipment when mowing mounds.

Seasonal Upkeep Levels

  • Spring: Low
  • Summer: Low
  • Fall: Low
  • Winter: Low

Upkeep Frequency

Upkeep Skill Levels

Professional Assistance

Special Tools

Other Upkeep Considerations