We’re all for a little friendly competition--especially when it involves beautifying our sidewalks. After all, who doesn’t want to have the prettiest block in the neighborhood?

Well, dust off your gardening gloves and gather your neighbors, because it’s time to get involved in the Sidewalk Garden Project. Organized by the local nonprofit Friends of the Urban Forest, its goal is to replace stretches of concrete with lovely plantings.

This citywide initiative is no vanity project, though--impermeable surfaces like asphalt prevent storm water from properly draining, creating major stress on SF’s sewer system. These gardens help capture the water and reduce that burden.

A quick rundown on how to get involved: First, you must live in one of the three highlighted areas on the site's map. Once about fifteen properties on your block express interest and you get the green light from FUF, the installation takes about three days. Foremen handle the heavy lifting, removing the concrete, laying the soil and stone edging. You and your neighbors, on the other hand, are tasked with planting the provided yarrow, succulents and other greenery--and finishing up with a celebratory potluck.

Most, if not all, of the cost is subsidized, though you may have to kick in some cash, depending on the project. But it’s well worth your block’s beauty bragging rights.

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