El Moore Gardens

The El Moore Gardens is a publicly accessible neighborhood garden that nurtures our relationship with nature to promote joy, wellness, and a sense of belonging. Filled with Michigan native plants, the Gardens provides an opportunity for quiet relaxation and playful learning. Its events and activities move with and celebrate the rhythm of the seasons and our connectedness to all living things. In the future, a small store, located in the Gardens, will provide provisions and nourishment to support sustainable urban living.  

The El Moore Gardens is set on the site of a former gas station in the Cass Corridor neighborhood of Midtown Detroit, with its rich history of creativity, activism and resilience. Located nearby are our two sustainably designed sister projects: the El Moore Lodge and Residences and the Green Garage, a co-working community. Please come visit us, and be a part of creating Detroit’s sustainable future.

After a warm week we’re grateful for today’s afternoon rain. Our plants are nicely watered and our cistern is filled again. 🌧. It’s a now a beautiful evening to spend some time in the park.

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The El Moore building casting its shadow onto the gardens. @elmoorelodge

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Visiting the Gardens

4125 Second Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201

Open:  June 2, 2019 – November 2, 2019

Hours:  June – July
      Sun   10am – 8pm
      Mon  CLOSED
      Tue    8am – 8pm
      Wed   8am – 8pm
      Thu    8am – 8pm
      Fri      8am – 8pm
      Sat      8am – 8pm

Hours may vary based on adverse weather conditions and required maintenance.

Community Guidelines

To ensure a peaceful experience for both our visitors and our immediate neighbors, we have a short list of guidelines we ask all visitors to follow. 

You are encouraged to…

–  Enjoy the park, when open
–  Place your recycling and trash in their proper bins
–  Keep all animals on a 6′ leash
–  Clean up after your animal
–  Enjoy the flowers, without picking or cutting
–  Use provided tables and chairs within the park

Please refrain from …


–  Smoking, using alcohol or other drugs
–  Leashing your pet to any Gardens features
–  Using grills or open flames
–  Climbing on trees or structures
–  Making loud music or noise that disturbs others
–  Organizing ballgames
–  Undertaking any unapproved commercial activity 


Can I take professional photos in the Gardens?

Visitors are welcome to take photos for their own use. To maintain peace and accessibility in the Gardens, we ask that no professional photography, including wedding photos, take place. It’s a small park and, unfortunately, we just don’t have the space for photo shoots.

What is the building in the Gardens used for?
We intend for the Seasons retail building to be a neighborhood local-food market serving the needs of nearby residents. Right now, it’s still under development, but we’ll be sure to share updates as we have them.

Do you host private events?
In our first year (2019), our priority is to make the Gardens available to our neighbors and to the larger community, so we do not plan to rent it out for private events. We will update this in future as that changes.

Do you provide tours?
We love interacting with visitors and sharing our knowledge, but we also operate with a very small staff. If you are interested in a tour, please reach out to us at elmooregardens@gmail.com and we’ll respond back with any availability.

Can I bring a large group to the park?
For organizations and large groups, please contact us at elmooregardens@gmail.com so that we can coordinate timing with you.


The El Moore Gardens was sustainably designed, built and operated. It includes:

–  Michigan native plant gardens
–  26 solar PV panels
–  Extensive use of reclaimed materials throughout 
–  Super-insulated retail building
–  Geothermal heating and cooling
–  Rainwater harvesting for landscape care
–  Active recycling and composting programs

Come visit a living example of our sustainable future and do your part to help make that future a reality.


There is a rich history behind the land that the El Moore Gardens rests upon, as well as the materials that were used to create the garden and store. The story of the land stretches back from the Native Americans who originally called the area home to the North Cass Farms era of the early 19th century, and from Detroit’s Victorian “Paris of the West” / Piety Hill days to the Cass Corridor artist and activist years of the 1960s and ‘70s. Home for several decades to a gas station, the land became a brownfield site after the station’s demolition, and has now been remediated and transformed into a place where people can come together to enjoy nature.

Most of the materials used to build the gardens and retail building were carefully reclaimed and repurposed from buildings in Detroit and the surrounding region. These include:

–  Garden entrance created using the iconic Dalgleish Cadillac water tower
–  Garden benches made from the water tower’s steel legs
–  Thomas Edison’s workshop gates were incorporated into the making of our main gates.
–  30,000 locally reclaimed bricks in the building were from the nearby Marie Apartments building.

Come see how we can build Detroit’s sustainable future from its past.

Art in the Gardens

With the Cass Corridor’s rich tradition of art, we felt that any space in the neighborhood wouldn’t be complete without contributions from local artists. We are deeply grateful to the following artists who have lent their talent and energy to create work for all to enjoy:

Carlos Nielbock – Main gates in the water tower

Albert Young – Hand-blown glass globes for lighting the round corner benches 

Juan Angeles – Building and tower brick and stone work

David Philpot – Peace Pole (in progress)