About Beautiful RVA

Beautiful RVALewis Ginter Botanical Garden is incubating Beautiful RVA, a regional coalition of public and private agencies and organizations all invested in improving the quality of life in greater Richmond through public horticulture, urban greening, and beautiful place-making initiatives. Visit the Beautiful RVA website. 

OUR VISION — Beautiful RVA engages and empowers citizens to foster an improved quality of life for all in greater Richmond through public horticulture, urban greening, and community-based beautification.

Beautiful RVA is developing a compendium of useful resources — the Community Greening ToolKit — compiled collaboratively by urban greening advocates, with support from The Community Foundation serving Richmond and Central Virginia. Visit the Beautiful RVA Green Map to see some of our work!

Access the Community Greening ToolKit



Planning, Design, and Green Industry Resources

Landscape Design Templates – from The Chesapeake Club’s Plant More Plants stewardship campaign, try out these four simple, affordable and Bay-friendly landscape designs

Process + Timeline Template (PDF) – thanks to The Timmons Group for providing this overview of the design + build process

Budgeting Template (PDF)  – another tool furnished by The Timmons Group to help you itemize all the possible expenses and unit costs of a landscape project

Native and Drought Tolerant Plants – this link provides a list of 122 native or naturalized species recommended for Virginia’s climate, compiled by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Landscape Plants for Four Season Interest – this list compiled by public garden designer Lynden Miller cites plants that have been endurance-tested in urban growing conditions

Native Plants for Conservation, Restoration, and Landscaping – the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Natural Heritage Program offers downloadable brochures listing plants by regions in Virginia, including the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, as well as nurseries that stock these plants

Executive Director Shane Tippett with volunteers working on the Broad Street beautifulcationWe’ll do a “what have we learned? what lies ahead?” debrief, reflect on the progress we’ve made in harnessing energy around community greening and beautification, and handle some tools in the Community Greening ToolKit.  This is a big tent event—reach out to your networks and friends, and let’s fill the space.  Think about it:  the Richmond Garden Trail is tapping the garden tourism market; activity along the Virginia Capital Trail confirms how eager we were for a bike- and pedestrian-friendly corridor; and the Low Line, a several-phased project of Capital Trees, is looking great in its first autumn.  There is so much more that we can accomplish, and it’s important to be inspired by the successes, acknowledge the challenges, and plan together “when,” NOT “if.” RSVP to [email protected].

Meetings are held every other month and are open to anyone who would like to attend.

More about Beautiful RVA

Beautiful RVA is inspired by the work of public garden designer Lynden B. Miller of New York City, as well as the history of civic engagement in urban greening initiatives led by the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society’s Philadelphia Green program. It is an experiment in community building, communication, and collaboration across often insular and isolated public and private entities, and an effort to increase local capacity to accomplish urban greening projects that are often beyond the reach and resources of local government. The initiative directly supports the Garden’s 2009 strategic goal to “expand the Garden beyond its walls.”

Underway since January 2013, the coalition receives a bi-weekly e-mail digest of newsworthy greening initiatives, calls to action, appeals for volunteer services, and invitations to offer citizen input on strategic public and private greening projects. Periodically the group meets to discuss opportunities and initiatives for major civic engagement.

The current 275+ person roster of Beautiful RVA represents an affinity group of over 60 agencies and organizations, including City of Richmond administrators and elected representatives; heads of prominent community environmental organizations; university, cultural and tourism representatives; urban planners and economic development specialists; and grassroots neighborhood and civic associations. By extension, these individuals have related civic and volunteer interests that expand their circle of influence at least two-fold.

Beautiful RVA, with Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden providing expertise in public horticulture, is encouraging collaboration through capable facilitation, enhanced regional communication and networking, and an increased focus on progress in urban greening and beautiful place-making initiatives. The Garden’s respected community profile, institutional credibility, and success in amassing and leveraging private support—along with its horticultural knowledge base and organizational development skills—has engendered a sense of hopeful, collaborative momentum.

Past meeting topics include:
RVAgreen: A Roadmap to Sustainability with the City of Richmond
Garden Tourism: Thinking Outside the Boxwood with Richard Benfield
The Richmond Garden Trail
Your Community Greening ToolKit
The Low Down on the Low Line (in collaboration with Capital Trees, Waterstreet Studio and the City of Richmond).
RVA Tree Summit: Growing Our Community Forest (in partnership with the James River Association, Capital Trees, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the Urban Forestry Commission and Richmond Tree Stewards.)