Gardens and Landscape FAQ

Mason Facilities, Housing and Residence Life, Athletics, and Recreation along with their respective contractors manage Mason’s grounds. The Office of Sustainability oversees a few sites on campus organically such as the Innovation Food Forest and the Potomac Heights Organic Vegetable Garden. These two gardens are managed by our staff and students volunteers. Look for our Facebook pages to get more involved.

These sites were created by Mason Grounds to encourage biodiversity and pollinators on campus. These sites are not usually mowed and are naturally maintained.

We have five existing gardens on Fairfax campus and one at the Science and Technology campus that need constant care so please consider volunteering or adding to our existing areas. Existing gardens include the Innovation Food Forest, the Potomac Heights Organic Vegetable Garden, the Presidents Park Greenhouse, the Green Studio, and the Child Development Center Garden. Therefore if you are passionate about gardening please get involved to help us maintain our current gardens by joining GOGA (GMU Organic Garden Association) and volunteering. Find the volunteer schedules and information by visiting and navigating to the associated pages. You can also find these sites represented on Facebook and Instagram by searching for gmugarden, gmugreenhouse, and gmufoodforest.

1. There are two composting areas on campus managed by the Office of Sustainability. You are encouraged to contribute your biodegradable waste to the outdoor composts on the Fairfax campus located at the Potomac Heights Vegetable Garden and the Innovation Food Forest. There is also a worm compost in the greenhouse for hands on learning. Consider volunteering at the gardens or greenhouse to learn more and help maintain the composts.

2. Anyone can contribute to the compost piles on campus and here’s how!

Composting Requirements

  • No oily foods, or animal products, like meat, dairy, shellfish, etc. (a little milk is OK, for instance leftover mac n cheese); but too much of these could make it stinky.
  • Good for composting: lots of paper products, and cardboard (ripped up preferably), plus coffee grounds, tea bags, plant debris, veggie scraps, fruit, not-so-oily leftovers, pasta, rice, bread, etc.
  • If possible please cover the fresh waste with other materials in the pile, so it can become dark and moist to allow quicker decomposition and to reduce odor.

Compost at the Potomac Heights Organic Vegetable Garden

  • Site location: the garden is located behind the Potomac Heights residence hall
  • Compost location: toward the back of garden, near the wall of the building
  • Use the compost pile on the left within the wooden walls

Or use compost tumbler

  • Remove the trap door on the tumbler
  • Throw in your waste
  • Put the door back on
  • Use the crank to turn it once or twice

Compost at the Innovation Food Forest

  • Site location: alongside Innovation Hall and near the south plaza entrance to the Johnson Center
  • Compost location: follow gravel walkway uphill toward the Johnson Center until you see an opening to the woods
  • Use pile of fresh compost and not the finished (already looks like soil) pile

Yes, Mason saves and transplants as many trees and plants from construction sites as funding and conditions permit. Moving trees and plants often causes significant stress on them so calculations are made about the plants survivability and their moving costs.

To ensure continued maintenance and operations of the artwork, you will need approval from campus stakeholders. Please create a document that proposes your idea and includes as much detail as possible such as height, width, depth, timeline, funding in place, any possible risks associated with it, and maintenance plan during the semester as well as breaks. Please submit that information to Depending on the artwork and the approvals needed, the process may take several months to a year for placement.