How to Build a Parklet DIY

How to build a parklet for a single parking space that Will engage with neighbors, build community and green your urban neighborhood.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

How to build a parklet for a single parking space that Will engage with neighbors, build community and green your urban neighborhood. Image Skunk, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Reading Time: 3 minutes

How to build a parklet for a single parking space that Will engage with neighbors, build community and green your urban neighborhood.

A parklet is a miniature open space that provides a public place for people to relax, interact, and enjoy the community. Often constructed in parking spots or unused road areas, they act as extensions of the sidewalk and offer a touch of green in urban environments.

Building a single parking space parklet is a community-enriching project, but it requires careful planning, adherence to civic laws, and the engagement of neighbors. Here’s a step-by-step DIY guide on how to build a parklet:

Step 1: Understand Local Parklet Regulations

Research Civic Laws: Local regulations can vary significantly. Contact your local planning department to understand your area’s requirements, permits, safety regulations, and potential restrictions. A good place to start learning about how to build a parklet is with the National Association of City Transportation Officials parklet web page.

Submit Plans: If required by your municipality, draft and submit detailed plans of your proposed parklet for approval.

Step 2: Get Support for the Parklet

Hold Community Meetings: Engage with neighbors by holding community meetings. Explain your parklet idea and gather their insights and suggestions on how to build a parklet that they will use.

Provide Visual Aids: Create visuals of the proposed parklet, using sketches or digital renderings, to help others envision the space.

Collect Signatures if Necessary: If local laws require it, collect signatures from surrounding residents to demonstrate support.

Step 3: Plan and Design your Parklet

Measure the Space: The standard parking space is roughly 8 to 9 feet wide by 18 to 19 feet long, but double-check the measurements.

Choose Materials: Decide on weather-resistant materials that comply with local regulations. Common materials include wood for decking, steel or aluminum for railings, and durable outdoor furniture.

Incorporate Greenery: Planter boxes with local, drought-resistant plants add a touch of nature.

Accessibility: Design ramps or pathways that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.

Step 4: Gather Materials

Based on your design, you’ll likely need:

Decking material (e.g., wood planks)

Railings (e.g., steel or aluminum)

Outdoor furniture (benches or chairs)

Planter boxes

Plants and soil

Paint and brushes

Screws, nails, and necessary tools (e.g., hammer, drill, saw)

Step 5: How to Build a Parklet

Prepare the Surface: Clean the parking space and mark the boundaries.

Build the Platform: Construct the decking to raise the parklet level with the sidewalk, ensuring it’s secure and stable.

Install Railings: Attach railings around the perimeter for safety, following local regulations for height and spacing.

Add Furniture: Place benches or chairs, ensuring they’re anchored if necessary.

Plant Greenery: Fill planter boxes with soil and plants.

Add Finishing Touches: Consider adding art or decorative elements that reflect the community’s character.

Step 6: Ongoing Maintenance

Keep It Clean: Regular cleaning is essential to maintain the parklet’s appeal.

Water the Plants: Regularly water and care for the plants.

Inspect for Damage: Regularly check and repair any damage.

Design Ideas

Community Theme: Consider themes that reflect the local culture or history.

Interactive Elements: Add interactive features such as a public bookshelf or games.

Seasonal Decor: Change the decor to match the seasons or local festivals.

Conclusion

Building a single parking space parklet is a rewarding project that can enhance community life and add charm to urban streetscapes. It requires careful planning, adherence to local regulations, and strong community engagement, but first, you need to know how to build a parklet that will fit in.

Remember that your parklet is a personal or aesthetic statement and a shared space that reflects the community’s values and needs. Engage with your neighbors, think creatively, and, most importantly, have fun with this unique DIY project that can bring a splash of green and community spirit to your local streetscape.

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