Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Making Garden Signs

In the Life Lab Garden Classroom, we consider a good sign to be one that
you don't have to repair year after year … unless, of course, you want
sign making to be a project for your students year after year. 

If making signs year after year, or having the flexibility of changing signs often is desirable, consider making blank signs with chalkboard paint (available at hardware stores). Paint on a smooth surface of wood or plexiglass. You can use chalk paint pens if you want the sign lettering to last longer than normal chalk.

By labeling the plants in their garden, kids learn about them and make
the connections between the foods they eat and the plants growing
in the garden. Adults also learn a lot from garden signs. Here in the
Garden Classroom, parents, teachers, and others often say, "Wow I never
knew artichokes could get that big," or "Kohlrabi sure is crazy looking!"
Labeling herbs often encourages folks to smell them, as if they were just
checking to make sure that the mint smells minty. Interpretive signs can
also enrich the educational potential of your garden.

Where you put your signs matters. Signs that face the sun will fade much
faster than those turned away from the sun. Is your sign post in an area
that is often wet? If so, consider rot resistant posts like plastic lumber
or metal. Setting wooden posts in concrete can extend the life of a
post considerably. And, of course, your target audience is an important
factor. Make sure to install your signs at kids' eye level so they can read

Life Lab's Garden Sign DesignsSigns don't have to cost much, and most can be made with reused materials, as you can see in the photo gallery of school garden signs from across the nation.

If you are looking for more professional signs, check out our garden sign designs. These can be ordered on metal or vinyl.

Here are some of our favorite garden signs in the gallery:

  • Redwood Elementary in Ft. Bragg has individual letter stakes. Kids find each letter and stake in the word.
  • At the Garden of Eating, an Early Childhood Education Center in Novato, laminated velcro signs have pictographs instructing kids what they can eat or do with the plants.
  • In Life Lab's Garden Classroom, we have a Tree o' Tunes sign that we painting onto a discarded piece of plexiglass. It lasted for ten years. The post made from branches added a nice touch.

One last sign resource we like is Never Tear paper. You can print
or photocopy onto this plastic-like paper, which is much more fade
resistant that normal paper that has been laminated. If you have
digital images that you want made into signs, it is a good way to go.
Staples sells this product and, wouldn't you know, there is a site called

Captain Planet Learning Garden has educational garden signs to download and print.


The Garden Signs Album is one of our many school garden photo galleries.

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Teaching a Growing Classroom Workshop at @OakSpringGardenFoundation in collaboration with I feel like I’ve fallen into a small French village. This is the former estate of Paul and Rachel “Bunny” Mellon in Virginia. Mrs. Mellon was an avid horticulturalist who designed the White House Rose Garden! I am staying in the room where Jackie Kennedy stayed when she visited here!! Sharing a weekend in this space with teachers who love kids and gardens is a truly unforgettable experience. ... See MoreSee Less

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Just when I thought we’d seen it all ... this is an agrophotovoltaic school garden underneath massive solar panels at @Manzo.Ecology in Tucson. The elementary school students here gather and analyze data on how the shade from the panels helps the plants grow and how the plants help cool the panels and increase their efficiency. What?!?! It’s amazing and gives me hope. Oh, and also they have a desert tortoise in their courtyard. ... See MoreSee Less

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Have you heard?! Life Lab is one of New Leaf Community Markets' recipients of their EnviroToken program at their Westside Santa Cruz store! So get your shopping on, bring your reusable bags, and donate 10¢ to Life Lab with every bag you use! Thank you, New Leaf!
#thankyou, #grateful, #ReduceReuseRecycle, #isupportlifelab
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What happens when Whole Kids Foundation partners with you to bring 50+ leaders from School Garden Support Organizations from across the country together to get to talk shop, inspire each other, problem-solve around shared challenges, and eat amazing food prepared and served by happy 5th graders? MAGIC. That's what happens. #sgso2018 ... See MoreSee Less

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Have you heard?! Life Lab is one of New Leaf Community Markets' recipients of their EnviroToken program for their Westside Santa Cruz store! So get your shopping on, bring your reusable bags, and donate 10¢ to Life Lab with every bag you use! Thank you, New Leaf!
#thankyou, #grateful, #ReduceReuseRecycle, #isupportlifelab
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We are so grateful to be starting 2018 with such strong support! Because of so many generous gifts from our supporters like you, we surpassed our 2017 fundraising goal of $124,000, with all campaign donations totaling $125,835.

These funds will help make Life Lab field trip and summer camp programs possible for children from families and schools that could otherwise not afford them. We believe that ALL children deserve the chance to love learning, healthy food, and nature. Thanks to your support, this year we will serve even more children in Santa Cruz County and across the nation.


#beapartofit, #startingstrong, #changinglives, #isupportlifelab
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Happy almost 2018, Life Lab fans! We are only $809 dollars away from reaching our $124,000 year-end fundraising goal! Before you ring in the new year, will you help us ensure a promising 2018? 100% of the funds necessary to do this important work come from grants and from individuals like you. Will you join us in ensuring that we can continue to deepen and expand our reach, so that even more children can experience the joy of loving learning, healthy food, and nature? Your tax-deductible gift made by midnight tonight will go directly to supporting our programs.
#beapartofit, #changinglives, #optoutside, #gardenbasededucation, #happynewyear
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Life Lab has been the most innovative and relevant organization in this field. From providing the best curriculum to their cutting edge professional development, we have relied on Life Lab as our go to organization for support, ideas, and collaboration.
Rachel PringleSenior Director of ProgramsEducation Outside
Life Lab provides truly inspiring training. Their breadth of experience, joy for teaching, and commitment to sharing knowledge highlight the best practices in food and garden education.
Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps
Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.
Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary
Terry had another awesome two weeks at Life Lab. I think he learns more there than in any other part of his year. School is great, but he’s passionate (and often dogmatic) about what he learns there.
Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom