Landscape & Urban Gardening

100% Organic Landscaping

Our gorgeous landscape has been maintained without the use of chemical pesticides since 1998. Our gardeners brew compost tea and spray it on plants, release good insects to eat the bad ones, and let leaves decompose where they fall. Learn more about Organic Landscaping at SU here.

Wildlife Sanctuary and Wildlife Habitat

Since 1989, our landscape has been designated a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Our gardens provide water, food and shelter for birds and insects. Diverse plants bear seeds, berries, pollen and nectar. Layered trees and shrubs provide shelter with a seamless, dense cover. Learn more about Wildlife Gardens at SU here.

In 2007, the National Wildlife Federation qualified the campus as a Wildlife Habitat. This means that we provide necessary food, water, and shelter for birds, insects, and other animals. Learn more about the wildlife habitat recommendations here.

SU Tree Care Program

The Tree Care Program (started Spring 2017) includes an outlined Tree Care Plan and a Tree Advisory Committee. The plan identifies best practices and procedures used in selection, site preparation, preventative maintenance, evaluation, design, protection, preservation, hazard removals and replacement for trees. The overall program goal is to ensure a safe, attractive, and sustainable campus urban forest. The Committee will facilitate annual activities for the campus community, such as service learning projects and earth week celebrations. Measurable outcomes include increased tree canopy, increased ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, and improved educational outreach on the health and significance of campus trees. Learn more about campus trees here.

Tree Campus USA

SU Grounds achieved the Tree Campus USA designation in 2018, and will be working to meet the criteria yearly. Learn more about Tree Campus USA here.

Trees of Seattle University

Alyssa Lau, graphic design intern at CEJS, created a map which locates some of the outstanding trees that make our campus grounds so unique. Learn more about Trees of SU here.

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are landscaped depressions that collect rain water runoff from streets, sidewalks and roofs. The soil and plants remove pollutants as the runoff slowly infiltrates the groundwater table.

SU has two rain gardens:

  • One between Hunthausen and Xavier Hall in front of the 1103 building
    • The 1103 East Madison Building was created to prevent basement flooding in the neighboring 4 buildings.
  • On either side of the Lemieux Library main entrance
    • About 100,000 gallons of rain are contained in the rain garden during a peak storm event.
  • Learn more about SU rain gardens here.

Themed Gardens 

Medicinal plants are grown in our Healing Garden. The Shakespeare Garden has plants mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare. The Ethno botanic Garden highlights plants used by Northwest indigenous peoples for food, utility and sacred purposes. And Fujitaro Kubota designed many of our gardens. 

Sustainable Soccer Field

In 2017 the Grounds Fields Team received Environmental Facility Certification from the Sport Turf Managers Association for sustainably maintaining the turf for Championship Field. Learn more about sustainable turf here.


Contact the Grounds and Landscaping office at (206) 296-6440 or email Shannon Britton, the Grounds and Landscaping Manager, at